SIHH 2017 Personal Perspectives: IWC – Explaining the Redesigned Da Vinci Collection

A suite of of smartly redesigned Da Vinci watches.
IWC-SIHH-2017-header

IWC offered a peek at the revamped Da Vinci before SIHH 2017, revealing a design decidedly more conventional than its predecessor.

Large, round and classically styled, the new Da Vinci is attractive in the metal, with a diversity of models that are all comparatively reasonably priced, even the complicated models.

All models feature swivelling lugs that help the watch sit well on most wrists, despite the largish sizes. High domed sapphire crystals add a refined feel to the case, an impression helped by the applied Arabic numerals on the dials and frequent use of blued steel hands. And as is a habit for IWC now, all the Da Vinci watches are fitted to straps made of antiqued leather from Italian shoemaker Santoni.

The flagship of the line is the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph. Though conservatively looking the movement inside the watch is noteworthy. A new calibre derived from the 89000 family movements, the automatic calibre 89900 inside features a flyback chronograph, retrograde date, and hacking tourbillon.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph 1

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph 3

The 89900 movement is notable for two features. First the pallet fork and escape wheel made of diamond-coated silicon, a hard, non-magnetic and temperature resistant material that’s been used by other watchmakers but is a first for IWC.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph 5

And both escapement components feature a new, skeletonised design that brings with it improved efficiency, one reason behind the fact that the movement manages the same 68-hour power reserve as the basic chronograph-only calibre despite its extra complications of date and tourbillon.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph 2

And the second notable feature is the hacking tourbillon. Pull the crown to set the time and a pair of lever touch the balance wheel, stopping it and the tourbillon carriage, allowing for more precise setting of the time.

The twin levers of the bi-directional Pellaton winding mechanism that’s an IWC trademark

At imposing 44mm wide and 17mm high, the watch is big, almost inelegant, but satisfying hefty, helped by the fact that the movement is technically interesting.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph 4

Available only in red gold, the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph (ref.IW393101) is priced at US$103,000.


Perhaps the most compelling watch in the collection is the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. This harks back to the best known of Da Vinci models, the perpetual calendar chronograph of 1985, a bestseller that was a landmark for combining the two complications affordably, with the no-nonsense Valjoux 7750 as a base movement.

That throwback is meaningless in itself, but IWC managed to channel the 1985 original with the new model, while improving its technical specs and keeping it competitively priced.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph red gold 1

The new perpetual calendar chronograph combines IWC’s proprietary perpetual calendar mechanism (which has all the calendar indications synchronised and can only be set only forwards via the crown), with the calibre 89000 chronograph movement.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph steel 1

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph steel 2

The resulting watch is biggish, being 43mm in diameter and 15.5mm high, but appropriately sized for modern tastes and just small enough to go under a cuff.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph steel 3

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph steel 4

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph steel 5

Both the steel and red gold versions have a dark blue sub-dial at 12 o’clock to highlight the moon phase display. Resembling aventurine, the sparkly quartz mineral often used for moon phase displays, the sub-dial is actually metal, galvanised blue with white gold specks for the stars, which is a tiny let-down.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph red gold 2

The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is priced at US$29,900 in stainless steel (ref. IW392103) with a dark grey dial, and US$40,200 in red gold (ref. IW392101) with a silver dial.


The new line only includes one pure chronograph, that is to say only a stopwatch without other complications. That will likely change, but for now the only options is the Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”. It’s a limited edition, but the Da Vinci chronograph that eventually joins the regular collection is likely to have identical specs.

Part of the annual series of watches IWC produces to support the Laureus charity, which aims to bring sport to children in poor countries, the latest Laureus chronograph retains the dark blue colour scheme typical of the series.

The most manageably sized of all the Da Vinci chronographs so far, the Laureus is 42mm wide and 14.5mm high. The movement inside is the calibre 89361, a self-winding flyback chronograph movement from the same family of calibres that powers the other Da Vinci chronographs.

IWC Da Vinci Laureus Chronograph 1

Like all Laureus watches, the case back is laser engraved with a reproduction of a drawing done by the child who won last year’s annual contest to select the motif of the 2017 watch.

IWC Da Vinci Laureus Chronograph 2

The Laureus chronograph (ref. IW393402) is limited to 1500 watches and priced at US$12,700.


The sole time-only model for men is the Da Vinci Automatic, a 40mm wide, and surprisingly thin, 10mm watch that’s only available in stainless steel.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 1

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 3

Behind the solid case back is the calibre 35111, which is the low-cost and reliable Sellita SW300. While the movement is fuss free, it is small compared to the size of the case, explaining the odd position of the date window close to the centre of the dial.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 4

The Da Vinci Automatic is available either with a silver on a crocodile strap or with a grey dial on a bracelet.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 2

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 5

IWC Da Vinci Automatic steel 6

The version with a leather strap (ref. IW356601) costs US$5400, while the bracelet model (ref. IW356602) is US$6400.


Despite the diverse men’s models in the new Da Vinci line, the focus of the range is actually on the female watch buyer. While not numerous in variety, the Da Vinci watches catered for ladies will surely sell in commendable numbers, being already available on Net-a-porter.

There are two models for ladies in the collection, both of which have a cast “Flower of Life” pattern on the case back, inspired by a recurring motif from Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings.

The first is the Da Vinci 36. This is 36mm in diameter and available in a variety of styles, including a diamond-set model.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36-3

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36-1

While still retaining the same design as the men’s models, the ladies’ have slight differences, including a recessed track on the dial forming a figure of eight with the date window.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36-2

Mechanically identical to the men’s Da Vinci Automatic, the Da Vinci 36 is powered by the Sellita-based 35111, which actually fits better here since the size of the movement is appropriate for the case.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36-4

The Da Vinci 36 is available in steel with a dark blue dial on a strap (ref. IW458312) for US$5400, a silver dial on bracelet (ref. IW458307) at US$6400, or steel with a diamond-set bezel (ref. IW458308) for US$10,800.

And in 18k red gold on strap (ref. IW458309) for US$13,800, and 18k red gold with a diamond bezel and gold bracelet (ref. IW458310) for US$39,300.


The Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 adds an age of the moon display to the base ladies’ model. Inside is the same movement as the Da Vinci 36, but with the addition of a moon phase mechanism, which leaves the case 1.5mm higher.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-6

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-1

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-4

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-5

It’s also 36mm in diameter, with a conventional moon phase display advanced via recessed pusher at two o’clock.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-3

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36-2

The Da Vinci Moon Phase 36 is available in steel with a silver dial (ref. IW459306) for US$8500, steel with a diamond-set bezel (ref. IW459307) at US$13,900, and 18k red gold with a silver dial (ref. IW459308) for US$16,400.


But SIHH 2017 was not just about the Da Vinci for IWC. The new offerings included several watches from the Portofino collection (as well as Pilot’s watches that will be launched later in the year), including the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase 1

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase 5

This essentially a variant of the existing Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days, with the addition of a moon phase. The specs remain largely the same, with a 45mm case, hand-wound movement and eight day power reserve.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase 3

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase 2

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase 4

The Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Moon Phase will be available in stainless steel and red gold.


 

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SIHH 2017 Personal Perspectives: Girard-Perregaux – A Guide to the New Laureato Collection

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato luxury sports watch makes a comeback.
Girard-Perregaux SIHH 2017 header

Better known for its impossibly beautiful Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, Girard-Perregaux‘s primary launch for SIHH 2017 is the revived Laureato, the luxury sports watch that has been in brand’s line-up on and off for the last 40 years.

Introduced in 1975 as a competitor to the giants in segment, namely the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Laureato was designed by a Milanese architect. As tends to be the case with luxury sports watches of that vintage, the key feature was its bezel, essentially a circle with an octagon inside.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 6

The 2017 Laureato is a remake of the 1990s model (the versions from the 1970s and 1980s being dated-looking for modern tastes), with the same key design elements, including a hobnail pattern dial and baton hands. But it’s larger and more masculine thanks to design tweaks like a wider bezel.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 4

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 5

Three sizes are available for the Laureato, 42mm, 38mm and 34mm. All versions are available either with a leather strap or matching metal bracelet.

The Laureato 42mm is available in steel or a combination of titanium and pink gold. It’s powered by the calibre GP01800, a thin, in-house automatic movement that’s visible through the open back.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 3

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 7

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 1

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 2

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 8

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm 9

The Laureato 42mm starts at SFr11,200 in steel, rising to SFr22,900 for the titanium and pink gold version.

Available in steel or pink gold, the mid-size Laureato 38mm is a curious beast, being too small for men and too chunky for a ladies’ watch. It is, however, available with a diamond bezel.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 38mm 1

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 38mm 2

The 38mm starts at SFr9800 in steel, while the pink gold on bracelet is SFr34,800.

The smallest 34mm version, which is quartz, is also available with a diamond bezel.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 34mm 1

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 34mm 2

The ladies’ 34mm model is SFr9700 in steel with a diamond bezel, while the same in pink gold with a bracelet is SFr31,400.

Fetching as it is – the 42mm titanium and pink gold version is unusual and appealing – the Laureato is up against stiff competition, putting it in the same situation as the Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

Even if the product is very, very good, the competition is well entrenched, though the Laureato has the advantage of being more affordable, making it relatively good value for money. The Laureato 42mm in steel for instance, costs about half the equivalent from Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet.


While the new Laureato collection has no chronograph inside yet, it does include a tourbillon. The Laureato Tourbillon is a very large 45mm in diameter, though relatively slim at just under 12mm high. Its size means the tourbillon lacks some of the elegance of the time-only models.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 1

Available only in titanium with pink or white gold accents, the Laureato Tourbillon is equipped with the calibre GP09510. It’s a self-winding movement with a micro-rotor visible on the front, with the highlight being the solid gold tourbillon bridge on the front.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 6

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 7

Shaped like an arrow that’s a GP trademark, the bridge holds in place a one-minute tourbillon that’s also shaped in the traditional GP style. The bridge is in a contrasting colour of gold relative to the case accents, so the titanium and pink gold version has a white gold bridge (pictured here).

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 2

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 3

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 4

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon titanium 5

The Laureato Tourbillon in titanium and pink gold is priced at SFr95,000 including taxes. For the same in titanium and white gold it’s SFr99,800. It’s also available on a matching titanium and gold bracelet.


A twist on the classic Girard-Perregaux tourbillon bridge is the Neo-Bridges. It’s a time-only wristwatch with an open dial that reveals the twin barrels at the top, with the balance wheel exposed at six o’clock. The calibre GP08400-0001 inside is automatic, and similar to the movement inside the similarly spec’ed Place Giradet wristwatch.

The look is modern and appealing, though it is hardly reminiscent of any other GP wristwatch.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges 1

The case is titanium, 45mm in diameter, with a box-shaped crystal that sits directly on the case, sans bezel, allowing for a better view of the movement.

Girard-Perregaux Neo Bridges 2

The Neo-Bridges is priced at SFr24,300.


 

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