With 2016 nearly over the new year will soon be upon us and with it comes a slew of new watches from just about every company. Some will reveal their watches first, the Richemont Group having it’s own party for all the companies it owns (and indeed some independents it has invited to come along) at an event in Geneva known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH as we know it. Although Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre may be one of Richemont Group’s main crown jewels, it’s companies like IWC and Cartier that keep the range interesting. IWC’s Da Vinci watches have been fascinating for years, so its good to see them keeping the range fresh with a new update for 2017.
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
The first of the new watches is an extremely rare and complicated one indeed. The watch’s namesake is known for coming up with some extremely complex yet intricate designs for machinery, so it’s only right that IWC follows suit with this watch. Back in 1985 IWC launched the original version which served to be a popular piece in it’s own right as well as the inspiration for the new watch.
The dial has been split up into 4 subdials. 3, 6 and 9 O’clock all show various functions of the perpetual calendar (with a small years indicator at half past seven), the month dial also sharing the minutes counter for the chronograph as well. This is evident thanks to the blued hand which matches the central seconds hand. In the lovely blue subdial at 12 O’clock is the chronograph totaliser and the moonphase display, which takes on a slightly different appearance to the original thanks to the extra chronograph function added in. It’s worth noting at this point that this is a flyback chronograph we’re talking about here.
The watch is available in steel or rose gold, it’s presented on a leather strap and is 43mm in diameter. The double curved bezel will help to hide the fact that the watch is 15.5mm thick, although I worry that the polished sides to the case will make it seem even larger. Perhaps IWC should take after A. Lange & Söhne or Breguet and decorate the sides to keep the appearance sleek, even if it defers away from the original design a bit.
The automatic IWC calibre 89630 has a 68-hour power reserve, runs at 4Hz and is visible through a sapphire caseback. In steel it’ll cost 32,000 Swiss Francs or 45,000 in rose gold, bargain.
IWC Da Vinci Ladies Automatic 36 & Automatic Moonphase
While the male watch market has always been strong, for a while the female market wasn’t so hot, to be honest. Now, though, people are starting to take a notice of what the ladies want and it’s pretty commonplace to see one or two of the big companies push forward a complex piece for females every year or so.
The first of the two, Ref. IW458312, has been given a simplistic cool blue dial with a sunburst motif to it. The elegant lugs on this particular range sets it apart from other manufactures which clearly struggle with refining their big, brutish shoulders into something more delicate. The automatic winding IWC calibre 35111 with date feature provides 42 hours of running time before stopping. The back of the watch has been with a geometrical design from the mind of Da Vinci himself. Known to some as the “Flower of Life”, it’s made up of 7 overlapping circles that form a flower pattern and make up a hexagon. This watch, in steel, will cost 5900 Swiss Francs.
The DaVinci Automatic 36 Moonphase is crafted from rose gold, although it still features the same caseback design as the regular 36. The real main difference between the two is the fact that the date at 6 O’clock has been replaced by a moonphase indicator at the 12 O’clock position, although it’s still an elegant watch and very definitely a female piece. All of the IWCs we have looked at today feature a Santoni leather strap, this one is no different except that it fits the watch really well and disappears into the lugs seamlessly. In rose gold, the moonphase watch will cost 14,000 Swiss Francs and will be unveiled at SIHH officially next year.