IWC Schaffhausen, one of the leading luxury watch brands, rewinds to the classically styled round Da Vinci of the 1980s with the latest facelift.
IWC has taken the covers off the revamped Da Vinci, which now returns to the familiar round form of the model’s best known iteration, the perpetual calendar chronograph of 1985.
Named after the Renaissance polymath, the IWC Da Vinci actually originated in the 1970s, starting with a blocky looking electronic watch powered by the Beta 21, the first Swiss-made quartz movement.
The Da Vinci Collection that was based on the 1970’s Beta 21 model.
In 1985 the second Da Vinci wristwatches were a pretty radical departure from anyting that IWC had done before. The barrel shaped lugs and stepped, round case made them extremely dressy, and the level of complexity was also something very new for IWC. The biggest talking point was the perpetual calendar mechanism; IWC’s first, and moreover, the very first perpetual calendar in which every indication could be set by the crown, with the day, date, month, and year as wel as the moonphase, all changing in sync with each other, making the Da Vinci the ancestor of all modern synchronized-mechanism perpeual calendars.
The IWC Da Vinci became the vehicle for further experiments as well; ceramic-cased models came out in 1986, and versions of the Da Vinci fitted with tourbillons were introduced as well.
A gold IWC Da Vinci of 1985 wath a 39mm case (ref.3750) and a gold/black ceramic version from 1986
The look evolved into arguable the quintessential Da Vinci model, the landmark chronograph with perpetual calendar that was efficiently constructed and the most affordable complication of its kind at the time.
In 2007, inspired on the first Da Vinci, the last major refresh of the Da Vinci family took place: the round case, and barrel lugs were updated with a modified toneau shape. The Da Vinci Kurt Klaus limited edition used the IWC calibre 79261.
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Monthe from 2007
And so for 2007 the Da Vinci has been restyled once again, this time with the 1980’s watch as inspriration. Now characterised by round cases, swivelling lugs, Arabic numerals, and lance-shaped hands, the new Da Vinci line-up is a half dozen strong.
While the range is primarily focused on ladies’ watches, the top of the line models are a pair of complicated men’s timepieces. And like many of IWC’s recent watches, all the Da Vinci timepieces are paired with straps made by Italian shoemaker Santoni.
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Cronograph
The signature watch of the new range replicates the combination of complications found in the 1985 model, but with an unique in-house movement. The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is powerd by the calibre 89630, the first instance where IWC’s own calibre 89000 flyback chronograph movement has been combined with a perpetual calendar module.
Both the elapsel minutes and hours for the chronograph are contained in the sub-dail at 12 0’clock – the distinguishing feature of the calbre 89000 family of movements. On the new Da Vinci it also features the moon phase display.
The other sub-dails at each quarter are for the perpetual calendar. And the four digit year display, a signature feature of IWC’s perpetual calendar module, remains at its traditional position midway between seven and eight o’clock.
The case is large, 43mm in diameter and 15.5mm high. The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph will be availble in red gold (ref. IW392101) for SFr45,000, and stainlesss steel (ref. IW392103) for SFr32.000.
IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36
The base ladies’ model is the Da Vinci Automatic 36, a 36mm automatic with date powered by the calibre 35111, which is actually the robust and cost efficient Sellita SW300.
This is available in stainless steel or red gold, with several dial variations and the options of diamonds on the bezel, or a matching link bracelet (refs. IW458307, IW458308, IW458310 and IW458312). Prices start at SFr5900.
The Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 adds a moon phase display to the base model. It’s the same 36mm size and powered by the calibre 35800, which is a Sellita SW300 with an added moon phase at 12 o’clock.
This is available in three different variants, two in steel and the last in red gold (refs. IW459306, IW459307 and IW459308).
The new IWC Da Vinci watches feature the ‘Flower of Life’ motif on the back, a recurring theme in several of Leonardo da Vinci’s work