IWC Is Making A Statement

A couple years ago I wrote that IWC was back! That was when they introduced their revamped Portuguese collection, even renaming it to Portugieser. It included a slew of brand new in-house movements, and the revamping of other pre-existing movements. To refresh our memories, this is the list of what became the latest Portugieser collection:

  • 8-day (or nearly 3 times more than the latest Rolex cal.3255) power reserve hand-wound
  • 7-day (or nearly 2.5 times more than the Rolex cal.3255) automatic
  • Annual Calendar
  • Perpetual (but the real kind of perpetual, not as a synonym for automatic) annual calendar digital date-month
  • Perpetual Calendar non-digital date
  • Perpetual Calendar with Moonphase
  • Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde
  • Tourbillon Hand-wound
  • Grande Complication
  • A slew of Chronographs and of course the Scafusia

As I said back then, this is just 1 single collection. Very very few brands offer that wide a range of movements, all in-house manufacture movements within just one collection let alone their entire range of watches - heck, some brands don’t have that many in-house movements in their entire history!

Then IWC revamped their Pilot watches, introducing two of my favorite watches, the Mark XVIII and the Pilot Automatic 36, both are 36mm and at under $4k, some of the best bargains in the watch world.

In what seems to be a pattern over the years, there has also been a completely new Aquatimer collection, as well as some very nice improvements to the Ingeneur collection, which even included some brand new in-house chronographs and in the case of IWC’s c.69370 it is an amazing movement that is easily among the best available.

This year it seems to be the year of the Da Vinci collection. IWC is introducing three new watches and more in-house marvels.

The star is, the IWC Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref.392101.

Reminiscent of the first Da Vinci watches that were round not tonneau, the big deal here is of course the new in-house perpetual calendar chronograph c.89630. Remember the stir that a recent auction of the very first perpetual chronograph from Patek Philippe created when it sold for $11million? Well, this is at that level. The Patek sold for what it did partly because seven individuals have more money than brains, but also because it was the very first perpetual chronograph ever made and that was over 70 years ago. The point is, this new IWC keeps good company in a technical sense, and is every bit as beautiful.

Also new will be two 36mm versions, marketed towards women, one with a moon phase and one without. These will come in various materials that include diamonds at times. I would even suggest that these are as much a man’s watch as a lady's watch if one chooses a more masculine livery. In other words, 36mm, not unlike the aforementioned Mark XVIII is a perfect size watch for anyone.

On a technical note, the c.89630 used in the ref.392101 is a high precision moonphase. It is accurate to one day's deviation in 577.5 years. It displays a four digit year until the year 2299. At that point, a watchmaker will need to replace the two digit century slide with a new one for the period 2300-2599. So be sure to make a note in your will.

Amazing to say the least.

Prices have not been released, but another great fact is that there will be watches made in steel, which basically means while very expensive, the steel variations will be more attainable.

Times aren’t great for the Swiss watch industry, but at least IWC is one of the few companies trying to do something about it.