The big news for IWC at this week’s SIHH is the relaunch of the Da Vinci collection, a series most recently revisited in 2007, now redesigned with 1980s-inspired round cases and —the brand says — targeted largely at women. We’ve already shown you the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chrono, and will be exploring other models in the coming weeks, but today, as SIHH 2017 opens for business, we focus on a horological headliner with a definite masculine appeal: the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph.
Housed in a 44-mm, 18k rose-gold case and powered by an all-new in-house movement, Caliber 89900, the IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph combines a trio of complications: a classical flying tourbillon, a chronograph, and a retrograde date indication. (While a tourbillon doesn’t meet the strictest definition of a complication — i.e., it doesn’t provide an additional function beyond timekeeping — it is a device that reflects the highest levels of watchmaking expertise.)
As with all tourbillons of the “flying” variety, this one’s cage is bearing-mounted on only one end, on the underside, rather than connected to an upper bridge, as in a traditional, “non-flying” tourbillon. Visible in a large aperture at 6 o’clock on the silver-plated dial, the tourbillon also has a technically complex hacking seconds function: when the crown is pulled out, two levers clamp onto the balance rim, halting the balance, wheel train, and hands, and thus ensuring accurate time setting down to the second.
The chronograph, which includes a flyback function and is operated by two golden pushers on either side of the crown, can record elapsed-time intervals up to 11 hours and 59 minutes. These intervals are displayed on a single subdial at 12 o’clock, with hands and indices for both hours and minutes to ensure an easy and intuitive reading of the elapsed time: If the hands are stopped at 9:45, for example, you’ve recorded 9 hours and 45 minutes. The central chronograph seconds hand can measure stopped times to 1/4-second accuracy.
The arc-shaped retrograde date display, located on the left side of the dial and numbered 1 through 31, has a small date-pointer hand (blued, like the chronograph hands) that moves in one-day increments and snaps back to 1 after reaching 31. In months with fewer than 31 days, simply use the crown to quickly and easily advance the date pointer back to the first day of the new month.
The self-winding movement, Caliber 89900, has a 68-hour power reserve and a balance frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz). On display through a clear sapphire caseback window, its notable features include a solid rose-gold rotor and a pallet and escape wheel made of diamond-coated silicon, an extremely hard and friction-resistant surface treatment that is beneficial to maintaining the power reserve.
The watch is attached via movable lugs to a brown alligator leather strap by Santoni and fastens to the wrist with a folding clasp of 18k rose gold. The price: $103,000. Scroll down to see some live images of the watch.