IWC's Porsche Design Ocean Bund>
by Michael Friedberg November 2001
The IWC Porsche Design Ocean Bund has a special place in IWC collectors’ hearts. It follows IWC’s grand tradition of military watches and, in fact, was the last production model that IWC made specifically for actual military use. It is a very rare watch in all its variations and, in the even rarer minesweeper variation, it follows IWC’s antimagnetic watch tradition. Of course, it also is a Porsche Design model with its purity of design. Above all else, it is a diving watch.
After the successful launch of the Porsche Design line of watches in 1978, perhaps as an attempt to survive in face of the quartz onslaught, in the early 1980s IWC introduced a Porsche-styled titanium diving watch, the Ocean 2000. It also obtained a contract with the then-West German military, the Bundeswehr, to make a variation of that watch for their Navy.
The Porsche Design Ocean watch for the Bundeswehr had various minor design changes from the civilian version. These primarily involved a black bezel, an orange minutes hand, a flat sapphire crystal, and a nylon strap (a titanium bracelet was sold to the German Navy separately and was not affixed by IWC to the watch). In addition, to comply with the Bundeswehr's specifications, the watch was tested for water resistance to "only" 300 meters, unlike the 2000 meters of the civilian Ocean 2000. However, one German military watch expert told me that the watches were more water resistant than 300 meters, but only tested to the that standard.
There have been varying reports about the characteristics of the different models of the Ocean Bund. To correct or supplement prior reports, I recently received new information from Schaffhausen and from other sources. These records reflect that there were three basic Ocean Bund models.
1. Die Kampftaucheruhr
Wristwatch for combat divers, IWC Reference nos. 3314 or 3315
Bundeswehr planning number 6645-01060; BUND stock no. 6645-12-199-5070
This version used a quartz movement, IWC cal. 2250 that beat at 32,678 Hz and batteries lasted approximately three years. Per Bundeswehr specifications, its accuracy was +/- 2 minutes a year. This model had extra tritium-treated material on its dial, hands and at the bezel (called type TL 8010-019). Because of this special tritium dial, the dial was had a red 3H in a red circle, the German military symbol for tritium (3-H, an isotope of hydrogen). Note also the eccentric placement of the IWC name and the dial.
Like the other Ocean bund models, this watch was water resistant to 300 meters and was supplied with a Nylon-Velcro strap. Reference 3314 and 3315 differ regarding the design of the strap attachments, primarily whether one line or two were used). The watch weighed 57 grams.
2. Die Taucheruhr
Wristwatch for divers, IWC Reference nos. 3509 or 3529
introduced 1983 (ref. 3509) and 1984 (ref. 3529)
Bundeswehr planning number 6645-0103; BUND stock nos. 6645-12-197-9681 or 6645-12-197-8096 (Ref. 3509) and 6645-12-339-1536 (Ref. 3529)
This version used an automatic movement that beat at 28,800 half-beats per hour. The first ones used IWC cal. 375, which represented IWC's first use of an ETA 2892 base movement. Later ones used an enhanced version of that movement, the IWC cal. 37521. As mentioned below, these movements had 22 rather than the more standard 21 jewels found in the 2892. The "extra" jewel was actually six jewels that served the same function, and replaced steel rotor bearings.
The Bundeswehr specifications appear to require the same rate standard of these models to the civilian Ocean 2000, which was 0 to +8 seconds per day. The movement was required to have more than 40 hours power reserve.
While apparently not as luminous as the quartz model, the specifications for this watch required "long glowing material on dial, hands and at the bezel, type DIN 67510".
Again, like the other models, this version was water resistant to 300 meters and was supplied with a Nylon-Velcro strap. Like the quartz Kampftaucheruhr the two reference numbers differentiate the design of the strap attachments. The watch weighed 43 grams.
3. Die Minentaucheruhr
Wristwatch for mining-divers (minesweepers), low-magnetic-field tested by STANAG 2897
IWC Ref. no. 3519
BUND stock no. 6645-12-199-3503
This model had a special movement, IWC Cal. 3755AM (also known as Cal. 3755Amag). Like the other Ocean Bund automatic movement, it was based on an ETA 2892 ebauche, but this variation had a special antimagnetic finish, including a beryllium balance. In addition, like the "regular" Ocean Bund automatic, because the ball bearings on the rotor could be magnetized under strong fields, they were replaced with jewels as bearings for a total of 22 jewels. Because of the low-magnetic-field control and certification applicable to these watches, these models were required to be tested and controlled separately at Bundeswehr-laboratories in northern Germany.
The specifications for this model, like the quartz version, required extra tritium material on dial, hands and at the bezel, type TL 8010-019. As such, this model's dial also had a red 3H in a red circle.
Like the regular Ocean Bund divers watch, this version was water resistant to 300 meters and was supplied with a Nylon-Velcro strap. It similarly had a Bundeswehr-required accuracy specification of 0 to +8 seconds per day. The watch weighed 42.6 grams.
* * *
The Bund numbers for these models are complicated due to changes that occurred during the course of production. As improvements were made, the models received different reference numbers; in addition, as orders were made by the Bundeswehr, different reference numbers were used.
Like other titanium watches produced by IWC in the 1980s, the connection design for the bracelets evolved. As mentioned above, slightly different fastening systems were used and there were different reference numbers for each variation. However, usually the watches were ordered only with a Nylon-Velcro-strap. The titanium-bracelets were ordered separately and were not mounted by IWC to the watches. The nylon straps had the separate BUND stock no. 6645-12-197-8310. The older style titanium bracelet had BUND stock no. 6645-12-197-8310 and its successor was BUND stock no. 6645-12-339-2164. The older bracelets used two silver pins while the newer ones used a tube with one steel pin.
For every watch IWC had to engage in a special control-protocol before delivery. In addition, before the sale was finalized, a Bundeswehr tester came to Schaffhausen to check each watch.
All IWC Ocean Bund watches had the planning number on the case back and either the back of the Nylon-Velcro strap-connection part or the first link of the bracelet. However, a few watches of the Bundeswehr-type were sold to VDO executives and do not have the planning number.
Both because these watches were made until relatively recently and these were made pursuant to a military contact, it is not publicly known how many Ocean Bund watches were produced by IWC. The rumors are that not many were made: the tests to become a Bundeswehr diver were (and still are) difficult and not many succeeded. Being awarded the watch upon complication of rigorous training was a great honor. Moreover, because these watches were not made for public sale, very few of them have found their way to the secondary market.
Yet there is no doubt that these are great watches. They represent great design, great function and a great military watch tradition.
Because of the sparse nature of information regarding these watches, certain sources provided contradictory information regarding certain technical details. The information set forth above is believed to be correct but is subject to further confirmation and supplementary detail.
The author thanks Rick Paradies for use of the first image and Clemens von Halem for the second image and the movement image. Thanks also are extended to Ch. Niemann and to Konrad Knirim, author of Militäruhren, Die Uhren der deutschen Streitkräfte 1870 bis 1990 for invaluable information.