Some watch collections are legendary by design, with brands doing everything in their power to push the message. Others, like the IWC Da Vinci collection sort of stumble into the status, sometimes years after the saga began.
Here, in advance of the 2017 edition of the SIHH, IWC showcases four different editions of the brand new Da Vinci and you might be forgiven for wondering why all the fuss over another round watch, even if two happen to be proper high complications: the in-house chronograph perpetual calendar and the tourbillon retrograde.
Before jetting off to an examination of the history of this remarkable collection, alongside the technical features of the high complications, we begin for 2017 with the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36.
Helpfully, the names here tell you all you need to know about the watches, briefly. One is a 36mm time-and-date automatic and the other is also 36mm, without date but with a moon phase indication in addition.
The moon phase model will put you in mind immediately of the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37, which is one mm larger.
Indeed, the calibre here is the same calibre 35800. Likewise, the Automatic 36 uses the same calibre 35111 beating within the Portofino Automatic 37, even though the date is positioned here at 6 o’clock.
As far as look and feel go though, the new Da Vinci models are unabashed throwbacks to the 1980s, with larger bezels, discreetly recessed inner dials, swiveling or articulated lugs, bulbous crowns, slim lance-shaped hands, Arabic numerals, and silver-plated dials.
These elements are common to both the Automatic and Moon Phase models and we assume will hold true for the haute horlogerie pieces.
IWC tells us that all Da Vinci models come with Santoni straps, standard, and both the Automatic and Moon Phase models appear to feature a Flower of Life engraving on their casebacks.
This design is meant as a visual tribute to Leonardo da Vinci, whom the collection is named after. On that Moon Phase model, it joins the Portofino Moon Phase as the only ladies models to feature this complication in the IWC range.
For IWC, the moon phase indicator rarely appears without other accompanying complications so this distinguishes the ladies’ models.
There are a variety of different iterations on just these basic novelties, including plain stainless steel, diamond-set (54 on the bezel) stainless steel and 18k red gold. In addition, the Automatic 36 is also available with a steel bracelet and an 18k red gold bracelet.