In the early 1980s, along with the famous Ingenieur series of antimagnetic, shock-resistant timekeepers, the gorgeous Da Vinci line was not just a plain groundbreaker. Almost 25 years ago, when the world was almost conquered by the dirt-cheap, but highly accurate quartz calibers, IWC’s master watchmaker Kurt Klaus somehow managed to create an automatic movement with a perpetual calendar complication that gave the whole industry a second chance. This new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is here to celebrate his heritage.
Although not particularly affordable, the 1985 IWC Da Vinci Ref. 3750 enjoyed an unprecedented level of success among discerning customers thanks to its accurate IWC Caliber 79261 perpetual calendar movement and the price that was just about half of that of its closest competitors.
Based on the ETA Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement, the industry workhorse that ETA introduced 10 years earlier, the 2009 caliber sports such functions as the moon-phase indicator and a perpetual calendar complication that would require no adjustment until the year 2499!
IWC presented the new iteration at the SIHH 2009 show. I highly doubt that the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month will become a sea-change timepiece for the industry but it is nevertheless one of the most interesting collections revealed in the last couple of years.
Boasting an in-house Caliber 89800 built of 474 parts, the Da Vinci features a highly sophisticated perpetual calendar. Once properly set, the calendar will need its first and, theoretically, the last adjustment by one day on 1 March 2100.
What’s most interesting about the calendar is that it displays both date and month in digital format. Instead of the usual “JUL”, “FEB” and “OCT” abbreviations, it will display “07”, “02” and “10” in its right window located between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock in perfect symmetry with the date window placed on the left side.
The display will be more convenient for us, Europeans since the May 4, 2009 date is displayed in a usual at this time of the Pond “4/05/09” format. Americans will have to either get used to it or buy a watch with a more usual data representation format.
Like, say, Jules Audemars 30th Anniversary Perpetual Calendar by another iconic Swiss-based manufacture Audemars Piguet or a more recent Glashütte Original Senator Navigator Perpetual Calendar military-styled “aviator”.
Although I’m not a great fan of tonneau-shaped cases, this one looks absolutely gorgeous even though its 44 x 52.8 x 16.3 mm case will take practically all real estate on a normal wrist.
The will be available soon in a gold and platinum version with the latter limited to only 500 units and probably priced around $70,000.
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (IW376101) specification
Price range: $40,000 (MSRP, version in 18-carat rose gold) / $70,000 (MSRP, version in platinum)
Movement: IWC Caliber 89800, double-pawl automatic, 474 parts, in-house, Swiss Made
Complications: Perpetual calendar, flyback chronograph, moon-phase
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case: Rose gold or platinum, transparent case-back with sapphire crystal
Dimensions: 44.00 x 52.80 mm
Case height: 16.30 mm
Dial: Silvered with a vertical tapestry pattern
Hour markers: Luminous, applied
Water resistance: 3 Bar (30 meters)
Strap: Brown alligator leather with a folding clasp in matching metal
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective