As you’ve no doubt seen or heard already, IWC Schaffhausen is turning 150 next year and we’re told the Swiss watch manufacturer has some pretty major celebrations planned. These include the unveiling of a special Jubilee collection at SIHH 2018, comprising an astonishing 27 limited-edition models. Among them will be this beautifully refined IWC Da Vinci Automatic Edition 150 Years we’re looking at today.
Unusually for a Swiss watch brand, IWC was not established by European or English founders, but rather by an American watchmaking pioneer named Florentine Ariosto Jones. By creating his company in Schaffhausen in 1868, Mr. Jones sought to combine skilled Swiss craftsmanship with American manufacturing technology to create the best pocket watches of his time.
Fast-forward 150 years and IWC is now a watch manufacturing powerhouse, responsible for numerous popular models. Based on the special preview we had of the 150th Anniversary collection, I think it’s safe to assume that we will be adding a number of new watches to that ‘popular’ list in the next few months. One thing all of them will have in common – aesthetically speaking, at least – is a stunning white or blue imprinted dial.
According to Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, achieving just the right effect requires a long and complex process, during which the dials are coated with up to 12 layers of high-quality lacquer, flat-polished, brushed and then imprinted several times. Apparently, the design of the dials and hands are inspired in part by the enamelled dials used for the historic Pallweber watches as well as the first Portugieser models, Reference IW325, from 1939. As you can see from the images, the Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years” (Ref. IW358102) we got our hands on features an attractive blue dial with the aforementioned lacquered finish, white printed indices and numerals, and rhodium-plated hands. It is housed in a 40.4mm x 12.1mm stainless-steel case with the trademark articulated lugs that help it sit so comfortably on the wrist and paired with a wonderfully soft black alligator leather strap by Santoni.
At first glance, you might think that this is just a blue lacquer-dial variant of the refreshed IWC Da Vinci Automatic launched at SIHH 2017 but there is more to the story than that. The big giveaway, of course, is the small seconds sub-dial at “6 o’clock”. The models released earlier this year all had a central seconds display but that’s because they were powered by IWC’s Calibre 35111, which is reportedly based on a Sellita SW-300 movement. This special, 150th Anniversary edition of the Da Vinci Automatic, however, is the first watch to feature the new IWC-manufactured 82200 calibre.
Visible through the sapphire caseback, the newly developed IWC-manufactured 82200 calibre is an automatic movement with Pellaton winding and small hacking seconds. Equipped with 33 jewels and operating at 4hz, it offers a max power reserve of 60 hours. Components in the system subject to pronounced stress, such as the pawls or the cam, are made of virtually wear-free ceramic. Although not elaborately finished, the movement is nicely decorated with circular graining and Geneva stripes, while the rotor is skeletonised and features the “150 years” insignia.
Soon to be available in a limited edition of 500 watches, the IWC Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years” (Ref. IW358102) is arguably one of the nicest Da Vinci models we’ve seen in a long time. There’s just something about the absence of a date window, the small seconds at 6 o’clock and of course that gorgeous blue-lacquered dial that really ties this watch together nicely. Price will be set at EUR 8,900. More on iwc.com.
Technical specifications – IWC Da Vinci Automatic Edition 150 years
- Case: 40.4mm diameter x 12.1mm height – stainless steel case – sapphire crystal with double-sided AR coating – sapphire caseback – 3 ATM / 30 m water resistant
- Movement: IWC-manufactured calibre 82200 automatic movement – 60h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – 33 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: black alligator leather strap by Santoni
- Price: EUR 8,900
- Reference: IW358102
- Limited edition of 500 pieces