I can hardly believe my eyes. At this year’s SIHH 2010 show, IWC has finally expanded the Da Vinci collection with its first-ever ceramic (!) model. Judging by the looks of it, the 2010 Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic (Ref. IW3766) is going to be even more successful than the rose gold members of the Da Vinci family.
With its central section made of zirconium oxide (ZrO2,) which is both chemically inert and extremely hard, the 44 mm case also sports a bezel, case-back, winding crown and chronograph push-pieces made of polished titanium.
The choice of materials makes the chronograph look even more elegant and also drives down the costs of production because the ceramic part of the case requires an enormous amount of energy to machine it to a perfect form.
However, combining the scratch-resistant ceramic case with scratch-prone metal parts, IWC somehow defeats the very concept of a ceramic watch, which is supposed to always look like you have just bought it at your nearest AD.
Well, I hope that in a couple of years IWC will finally find an economically feasible way of making full-ceramic cases.
Inside the case is hidden the Caliber 89360 automatic chronograph movement we have already seen in the last year’s Aquatimer Chronograph in Red Gold (Ref. IW3769) and the stunning Big Ingenieur Chronograph.
First unveiled about three years ago and developed exclusively for the Da Vinci family, the movement features a column-wheel chronograph switching, free-sprung balance with 4 adjustable weights, flyback function and impressive 68 hours of power reserve with single barrel mainspring.
Also, IWC’s signature “combo” dial unites the chronograph hours and minutes counters putting them to work in a single double-handed totalizer.
Not only such a layout makes it easier to grasp the chronograph’s readings with a single glance, but it also makes the dial looks less cluttered, like those of classic chronographs from the 1930s.
As you can see, the combo-dial, which is placed at 12 o’clock, is visually balanced by a small seconds sub-dial that sits at 6 hours sharing its space with a small date aperture.
Still no info about the price, but expect it to be quite expensive*.
*UPDATE ON PRICE: IWC plans to sell this beautiful Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic (Ref. IW3766) at a minimum street price of $18,000, which is not out of the ballpark for the class of luxury timekeepers that features such an impressive combination of materials (after all, making a ceramic case is still difficult even in the best conditions, and even more so when you are talking about a relatively low-scale production,) but still -ahem- quite expensive. The prohibitively high MSRP will surely lock out a great number of enthusiasts from even dreaming about getting one of these beauties, but, again, it is still more or less justified by its gorgeous in-house caliber and the choice of materials for its case. After all, this new member of the Da Vinci family is probably one of the dressiest non-platinum chronographs that money can buy.
IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic (Ref. IW3766) specification
Price range: $18,000
Movement: Caliber 89360, automatic, in-house, column-wheel chronograph, 40 jewels, 28800 vph
Complications: Bi-compax flyback chronograph, date
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case: Black ceramic
Bezel: Polished titanium
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire glass
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.10 mm
Strap: Black calfskin strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters