The Geneva High-end Watch Salon (SIHH) in 2017 is still as prosperous as ever, prosperous in boutique timepieces, endlessly creative, and prosperous among the guests. IWC ushers in the year of Da Vinci this year. This IWC flagship series, which has always been popular, has become very different this time, so what kind of mystery is it waiting to be revealed? Take a look.
What does the Da Vinci watch series represent, and how does this series get its name?
IWC: In 1969, IWC Schaffhausen launched the Da Vinci watch (models: 3501, 9500). This is the first watch with a quartz movement ‘Beta 21’ produced entirely in Switzerland. IWC is actively involved in the development of this movement. The hexagonal gold case, the gold bracelet and the slender hour-markers give this watch an elegant technical look. This innovation represents the birth of a watch collection, and until today has been the perfect fusion of passion, creativity and aesthetics of IWC engineers. This series of names is inspired by Da Vinci: This is probably the most famous Renaissance scientist and artist who perfectly displayed the fusion of technology and aesthetics, so that others can only look at it.
What are the milestones in the history of the Da Vinci series?
IWC: The founding event in the history of the Da Vinci Collection is the display of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar (model: 3750) at the 1985 Baselworld. IWC surprised the audience with its “eternal” calendar, which did not have to be manually adjusted before 2499, and this device can be adjusted simply by the crown. With the development of this mechanism by former chief watchmaker Kurt Klaus, IWC has fully advanced into the fine watch industry. In the history of the invention of the Da Vinci Series, IWC launched another innovative watch in 1986: the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Watch (Model: 3755) is the world’s first black oxidation-resistant and scratch-free black oxide Watch with zirconium case.
In 2007, IWC launched a fully improved barrel-shaped Da Vinci collection. The brand developed the first self-made chronograph movement in the Schaffhausen-based Da Vinci Chronograph (model: 3764), the 89360 movement. As a result, the measured hours and minutes can be read for the first time on the small dial like normal time. In 2009, another brand innovative Da Vinci perpetual calendar digital date and month watch (model: 3761) debuted. This watch displays the date and month in large numbers, in the same vein as the brand’s watchmaking traditions: As early as 1884, IWC launched pocket watches with digital hours and minutes based on the so-called Beauvais system.
In the tradition of this watch family for almost 50 years, the new Da Vinci Collection once again builds a bridge between the spirit of innovation and artistic aesthetics. Da Vinci Automatic 36 (Model: IW458307 / IW458308 / IW458310 / IW458312) stands out with its elegant design, the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (Model: IW392101 / IW392103) and the Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph (Model: IW393101) is equipped with a new IWC-manufactured movement.
What makes the perpetual calendar designed by KURT KLAUS so unique?
IWC: The Gregorian calendar has different lengths of months, and there is a leap year every four years, and displaying it on the dial with the help of mechanical mechanisms is one of the oldest and most difficult challenges in the field of watchmaking. Since all display functions had to be individually adjusted, the first mechanical calendars for pocket watches and wristwatches were complicated and difficult to use. IWC chief watchmaker Gerbis began developing new mechanical calendar devices in the early 1980s. The device he designed consisted of only 81 parts, and no manual adjustment was required until 2499. The date, week, month, moon phase profit and loss, and year displays are perfectly synchronized with each other, and all displays can be advanced by adjusting the crown when the watch is not worn for a long time. Other innovations include a four-digit year display and a high-precision display of the real-time moon phase profit and loss, with only one day of adjustment after 122 years.
Where is the challenge of moon phase profit and loss display?
IWC: The changing shape of the moon creates a fascinating sight for the night sky. As a result, watchmakers tried to show the profit and loss of the moon phases on the dial a long time ago. The challenge is that the moon’s rotation cycle around the earth is not synchronized with the rhythm of the earth’s rotation: the interval from one new moon to the next new moon is exactly 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.9 seconds. One method is to display the complete two-phase moon phase profit and loss cycle on 59 moon teeth on the moon phase indicator disc. After that, the display disc is moved forward by one gear tooth by the gear train system every day. This classic design and construction is also used in the Da Vinci Moon Phase Automatic Watch 36 (model: IW459306 / IW459307 / IW459308). The moon phase profit and loss cycle can be rounded to 29.5 days, and it needs to pass through the pin every three years through ‘ Update at 2 o’clock. The display function of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (Model: IW392101 / IW392103) is based on Gerbis’s perpetual calendar, which is more accurate. Thanks to the unique reduction gear, only one day of correction is required after 577.5 years. For the first time, this watch integrates the moon phase profit and loss display and the chronograph accumulator in a small dial. The new IWC-manufactured calibre 89630 provides the technical basis for this.
What developments have the design of Da Vinci watches over the years?
IWC: Da Vinci watches have kept pace with the times for the past 50 years. When it was first introduced, its hexagonal case shape and pure gold bracelet accurately grasped the trends of the 1970s. The two hexagonal Da Vinci models released in the SL collection in 1976 are still collections that vintage watch enthusiasts aspire to. The watch designer found a new design concept for the perpetual calendar launched in 1985: a sketch of Da Vinci depicting the port fortifications of Piombino is a round with a double frame bezel The gold case provides inspiration.
In the 2007 Da Vinci collection, all models were newly introduced in a barrel-shaped case to showcase the history of this watch collection. In the latest collection, watch designers return to the circular molding language and large lug design of the 1980s, but their iconic features have gained modern interpretation. This reduces the width and slope of the double-frame bezel. Large Arabic numerals and willow-shaped hands are also inspired by the round Da Vinci watch. The new design is lighter overall and makes this watch series more attractive to women.
What is the significance of women’s watches in the history of IWC?
IWC: Watches for women have a long tradition in the nearly 150 years of Schaffhausen’s IWC. Since the late 1870s, IWC has been introducing women’s watches. The beautiful diamond-encrusted watch was an important representative of the Portofino series from the 1920s to the 1950s, and the Da Vinci women’s chronograph (model: 3735), which was first introduced in 1988, is also particularly memorable. At the time, the smallest movement made the chronograph complication equally popular with women. This elegant watch has been launched in different versions, such as the 1995 bezel-set gold model (model: 8436). This watch has since become one of the most successful women’s watches in the history of IWC. In the new series, the brand recreates this tradition and launches a new women’s watch series with unique characteristics.
What is engraved on the bottom of the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Da Vinci Moon Phase Automatic 36?
IWC: On the bottom of the new 36 mm case diameter of the Da Vinci model is engraved a symbol that is likely to have been used in different cultures around the world for more than 6000 years. The table bottom decoration consists of overlapping rings with the same radius. The intersection of the two rings forms the center of the third ring, and a geometric pattern resembling a flower is formed inside the ring. The hexagonal shape of 19 rings has also been called the ‘flower of life’ since the 1970s. Its charm is not only reflected in the globally recognized beauty, but also different mathematics and universal rules can also be presented in this way. For IWC, the ‘flower of life’ symbolizes the combination of creativity, technology and aesthetics. Da Vinci also painted this symbol in his ‘Ancient Atlantic Manuscript’. This inspired IWC watch designers to use this decorative pattern on selected Da Vinci watches to show their unique style.
Why did IWC develop a new self-made movement for the Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph?
IWC: Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph (Model: IW393101) For the first time in the history of IWC, the tourbillon, chronograph and retrograde date are integrated on the watch dial. In order to achieve this goal, the brand developed a new 89900 self-made movement based on the 89360 chronograph movement. The 89360 chronograph movement displays the accumulated hours and minutes in a small dial on the upper part of the dial and places the small second hand on the small dial below. By mounting the tourbillon mechanism on the first seconds wheel. The watch designer integrated the tourbillon into the small second hand at ‘6 o’clock,’ while the chronograph accumulator continued to stay in the ’12 o’clock’ position. The combination of a chronograph and a tourbillon was first applied to the IWC’s Il Destriero Scafusia watch (model: IW186801) in 1993. But because there are too many complicated functions on the dial, there is no enough space, so the tourbillon is placed on the back of the movement.
How does the newly developed tourbillon stop work?
IWC: For IWC watches equipped with a tourbillon, the owner can only stop and set the hour and minute hands by pulling out the crown, while the wheel train system and the second hand continue to run. In the IWC-manufactured 89900 movement, through the newly developed tourbillon stop function, the balance wheel itself can be stopped in cooperation with the entire wheel train system, including the second hand. When the crown is pulled out, the two levers engage the outer edge of the balance wheel like a clamp from the outside and stop it completely, so that the watch can be set to the second.
How to achieve a 68-hour power reserve with a tourbillon?
IWC: Like any complex function, the tourbillon requires energy and affects the watch’s power reserve. In order to achieve a 68-hour power reserve after winding, IWC engineers optimized the fork bar and escape wheel of the 89900 movement, while also improving its material properties. The fork rod constitutes the connection between the gear train system and the balance wheel. Since it must withstand friction and impact, it is one of the most stressed parts in the movement. For the 89900 movement, the fork lever and escapement wheel are now made of diamond-coated silicon. In addition to its extremely hard surface, this material also provides excellent sliding properties. The reduced friction significantly compensates for the extra power consumption of the tourbillon to ensure a high power reserve for the watch.