IWC Schaffhausen is rolling out an entirely redesigned Da Vinci collection at SIHH 2017. The new timepieces eschew the 1960s-inspired tonneau case from the most recent update of the series in 2007, embracing instead the classic round cases of the 1980s Da Vinci. The brand says that the new collection will comprise a host of 36-mm models tailored to women, as well as a handful of men’s models with haute horlogerie complications. The first of the latter to be released ahead of SIHH 2017 is the new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph — which is also the first IWC watch to combine a chronograph’s hour and minute counters and a moon-phase display in a single subdial.
To develop the new manufacture movement for this watch, IWC’s watchmakers turned to a classic for their inspiration: the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar from 1985 designed by master watchmaker and IWC living legend Kurt Klaus. The challenge the watchmakers faced, and eventually overcame, in combining the chronograph counters with the moon phase was that IWC’s existing perpetual calendar movement, Caliber 52610, had the moon phase at 12 o’clock, which meant that any hands added there would’ve gone straight through the center of the moon disk. Using the IWC 89360 chronograph caliber as a base was also a non-starter, as its architecture left no room to add a moon-phase. The result was the all-new IWC Caliber 89630, which incorporates a silver-plated or gold-plated moon disk with a rounded, dark blue section, representing the Earth’s shadow, that rotates to show the moon’s waxing and waning. The lunar motif is enhanced by white gold particles sprinkled across the expanse of the dark blue subdial, evoking the look of a star-studded night sky.
The moon-phase is ultra-precise, deviating from the moon’s actual cycle by just one day every 577.5 years. The perpetual calendar displays for the date, month, and day are on three subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively, while a small window at 8 o’clock indicates the four-digit year; like all perpetual calendar watches, its movement is mechanically programmed to account for leap years.
The chronograph, which is equipped with a flyback function, is operated via two cylindrical push-buttons in the side of the case (a contemporary upgrade, IWC says, from the “mushroom”-style pushers of the 1985 watch) and records stopped times on the single dark blue subdial at 12 o’clock, which also hosts the moon-phase. The aggregate readout of hours and minutes together is a much more intuitive display than the separate subdials used on most chronographs. The blued, central chronograph hand allows stopped times to be displayed within an accuracy of 1/4 second. An added bonus: the movement is designed so that the chronograph can run continuously without diminishing the power reserve.
The 18k rose gold case of the new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph measures 43 mm in diameter and 15.5 mm thick. It has a more subtle execution of the twin-frame bezel that was a hallmark of the 1980s Da Vinci collection, and also features newly designed, curved, moveable lugs to ensure that the strap fits snugly around any size wrist. A sapphire crystal in the caseback reveals Caliber 89630, which features an automatic double-pawl winding system, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 68-hour power reserve. Aesthetic highlights include blued screws and a solid gold winding rotor. The price will be announced at SIHH 2017.