It has become sort of a tradition for IWC now. Each year, when the SIHH is about to open, we all know that the Schaffhausen-based manufacture will come with an entirely revisited collection. After the 2016 Pilot’s Watches, the 2015 Portugeisers, the 2014 Aquatimers and the 2013 Ingenieurs, it’s now time to revamp the other collection, a range of watches that might not be the most popular among a large audience: the Da Vinci. An icon of the 1980s, this watch has since seen many variations, being even dressed in tonneau-shaped case. For the SIHH 2017, IWC goes back to the roots of the collection and, to open the festivities, introduces the flagship version: the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.
“With the new Da Vinci collection, IWC Schaffhausen has returned to the round case that was so successfully established by the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in 1985. It means we are bidding farewell to the tonneau case and reafirming our commitment to the classic proportions the brand stands for” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
On the photo below is the inspiration, the Vintage 1985 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 3750, a watch that might look slightly outdated towards current standards but that will (trust us on that) become a proper design icon in a few years, especially considering that the SIHH 2017 IWC Da Vinci that is about to come is all about these design clues… If you want to invest, might be a good idea to do it now. The Ref. 3750 is an important watch. This 1985 watch, the first of the collection, is the result of designer Hano Burtscher’s work. He was looking for creating a round design with articulated lugs and it is said that he found the idea in Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus – probably explaining the name of the collection. In terms of design, the early IWC Da Vinci was all about the separation of the central container, perfectly round, and the lugs, affixed to the case and not part of this case, being articulated and creating a specific way to attach the strap to the watch.
In terms of mechanics, the Da Vinci 3750 was also pioneer, as developed by Kurt Klaus, with his superb perpetual calendar chronograph movement. At the end of the 1970s, he created a perpetual calendar module where all the settings could be done via the crown and that could be affixed easily on basically every movement, from a simple three-hander to a chronograph. And in the case of the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 3750, this in-house perpetual calendar module was attached to a heavily modified Valjoux 7750 – creating the calibre IWC 79261.
The SIHH 2017 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
For the SIHH 2017, what IWC had in mind is not only a new collection for the Da Vinci but a “back to basics” watch, as the first version introduced is a strong tribute to the Ref. 3750, both visually and technically. A perpetual calendar chronograph it is. A round watch with articulated lugs it is too. And we also find back a bit of that baroque flair, slightly Italian-inspired theme that made the older Da Vinci so special. So what is it about with this new 2017 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph? First, the case measures 43mm with a 15.5mm height (thick and large it is for sure, but keep in mind what engine is in the case), here presented in 18k red gold – some more materials will certainly come later, during the SIHH. in terms of design, we can easily spot the inspiration, and while modernity and curves have been added, the old Da Vinci is visible here.
The main design attribute remains of course the movable lugs that are affixed and not integrated to the case and on which the strap is held in place. Also, to slightly remind the lug module present on the old versions, IWC has chosen to add an intermediated module in-between the horns, creating the same kind of visual effect. While giving a slightly massive look to the case, this combination will certainly offer a great comfort on the wrist. The SIHH 2017 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph will be delivered on the usual high-end Santoni leather strap.
In terms of display, this new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph innovates too, as it is the first watch of the brand to combine the co-axial hour and minute counter with the moon phase in a single subdial. Usually, at IWC, when the chronograph and the perpetual calendar are combined, we have the “digital” display of the date and the month and no moon indication – like this one. This is rather sporty display that is used on the Ingenieur, the Pilot’s Watches or the Aquatimer. It was also used on the older, tonneau-shaped Da Vinci. However, as wanting to go back to the roots of the collection and to have something of the old 3750, IWC had to modify the display. Now, we have a more classical sub-dials style, with an extra-moon placed at 12 and still the single sub-dial for the hours and minutes (painted in blue with a starry-sky to remind about the vocation of this counter). The rest is traditional: date at 3, day at 9, month and small second at 6 and finally, complete 4-digit year indication at 7h30. The dial is here presented silver-plated with applied Arabic numerals, something that is new to the collection.
To power this new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is the Calibre 89630, meaning based on the 89xxx family of in-house calibres that can be found for instance in the Potugeiser Chronograph Classic. It means a column-wheel, vertical clutch, flyback, automatic chronograph with 68 Hours of power reserve and a modern 4Hz frequency. On top of it is attached the perpetual calendar module, once again, like created by Kurt Klaus, with all adjustments done by the crown. The movement is visible from the caseback and features a opened gold rotor.
The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph will be officially presented during the SIHH 2017, alongside the rest of the collection (and a steel version of this complex watch is also expected). We might have to expect some more, maybe simpler versions (think Automatic, Ladies or Chronographs…). The price and availability will be confirmed during the SIHH.
Specifications of the 2017 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
- Case: 43mm diameter x 15.5mm height – 18k red gold, movable lugs – sapphire crystal on both faces – water resistant to 30m
- Movement: Calibre 89630, in-house – Automatic – 4Hz frequency – 51 jewels – 68H power reserve – Flyback chronograph with perpetual calendar (date, day, month, year and moon indications)
- Strap: Santoni alligator leather strap in brown on 18k red gold folding clasp
- Reference: IW392101