SIHH 2017: IWC Revives The Long Awaited Da Vinci
December 14, 2016
Here we are once again. It’s that time of the year where watch lovers have plenty to be excited about with the New Year coming closer which simply means new and exciting watches to come. In true form, many manufacturers have already begun showing off some hardware and based on what has already been revealed, it doesn’t seem like the widespread speculation about the weakening watch industry has affected anything at least from a release standpoint, especially with IWC.
For the IWC faithful, it was definitely a long time coming. In case you might haven’t the slightest idea of what I mean, I’m happy to report that Da Vinci is the focus of 2017 which was actually a last minute game time decision according to IWC insiders. Maybe it has something to do with Georges Kern stepping down as CEO of IWC and assuming a new role with Richemont’s entire watch portfolio.
Whether that’s true or not is still left up to question, but in the end, the fact that IWC is re-introducing Da Vinci after 10 long years of the current tonneau being the only option is enough cause for excitement. Across the board, most won’t be disappointed with numerous choices in all price ranges along with an especially strong showing of ladies pieces. A huge focus over the past few years for IWC who had predominantly spent most of their efforts targeting men are now paying strong attention to the lady watch collectors that wants more than the predominantly small watch.
Though many were already expecting IWC to go with the round case this time around, I’m sure many out there are still relieved to know that they modeled the new collection after the Da Vinci’s from the 1980’s. Even though the Da Vinci has been around since the 1960’s, most would argue that the 80’s was probably the best era for Da Vinci. Others might even go as far as saying that would have been IWC’s flagship collection had it not been for the Portuguese.
Much like the original 1980’s round case Da Vinci’s, key elements like the pocket watch inspired case (43 mm x 15 mm) pictured in the 18K red gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph will also be available in certain references of this new rebirthed collection. Mechanically the newest perpetual calendars will also be fitted with the same Kurt Klaus goodies like the perpetual calendar and moon phase that has already been pre-set to indicate for over 577.5 years only this time there will be no ebauches from other houses, and everything will be directly come from IWC’s own house.
However, no modern re-introduction would ever be released without its healthy share of changes. When it comes to the art of changing already iconic watches, IWC has a great tendency to exercise lots of caution ensuring core elements are not diminished while making drastic noteworthy modifications to fit modern tastes.
The first noticeable change is the applied Arabic numerals and lancet hands. Although there were versions of the Da Vinci that have applied Arabic numbers, these numerals take on a little bit more of an elegant design that almost has Breguet-type curves for a more traditionally classic appeal. Additionally, the old stick and leaf hands have also been replaced with lancet sword-like hands that also melds very well with their choice in numerals.
Though a large percentage of the original design DNA is still maintained in this new iteration, it’s clear that IWC spent a lot of time in revamping the pushers and the lugs most of all. Before the Da Vinci’s were fitted with the usual flat-topped cylindrical pushers with exposed bars found on watches like the Portugieser Chronograph and Chronograph Classic. For the new references, IWC opted to go with a reticulated cylindrical style of pusher that hides the bars and only exposed the buttons themselves.
Among all the changes, the lugs are probably the most significant. This time, IWC decided to scrap the straight-line lug design and decided to keep the lugs much closer to the case this time around while still maintain enough separation to hold that original round cased pocket watch appeal. But the aesthetics were not the only change, the lugs are also moveable and can pivot with the wearer’s movement which ultimately means maximum comfort while wearing regardless of size and shape.
Last but certainly not least is the transparent caseback that will now showcase new members of the 89 series of movements, with the newest one being the caliber 89630 which is also based off the caliber 89361. It too will also feature a column wheel flyback chronograph and a 68-hour power reserve.
Other iterations will also be available ranging from time only to time only with moon phases with a particularly high emphasis on appealing to the lady watch collector that simply does not want another tiny watch that tends to be made for women.