New from SIHH 2003 – IWC
I had two interesting meetings with IWC whilst at the SIHH last week, the first one was with several members of the management team and the second one was an hour long one on one with Kurt Klaus their head watchmaker.
Here are some notes that I made during these meetings in no particular order.
1. The new Spitfire range is designed to expand the buyer profile of the Mark range, currently IWC think that the austere look of the Mark series appeals mostly to Northern Europeans (German/Scandinavian/British); the hope is that the more striking dials of the “Spitfire” series will appeal to Southern Europeans and North Americans. Two things: firstly, I am merely relaying a comment made to me, so don’t shoot the messenger, and secondly does this infer that there will be subsequent versions for Asians and Antipodeans?
2. The new Portofino is 4mm larger at 38mm and the strap has gone from 18mm to 20mm, otherwise it is unchanged.
3. The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar had an accuracy of 1 day of in 122 years, whilst the new 50611 Portuguese is at 1 day in 577 years.
4. The new Perpetual will only be made in White Gold, Yellow Gold & Platinum that is what it says in the press release. Not so, 25 are being made in steel for the NYC retailer Cellini; these will be even more special in that they will have a conventional moon phase, not the north/south version on the production model.
5. When the new calibre 5000 was designed it was specifically engineered so that complications could easily be added.
6. The cal 5000 is the first new movement from IWC in almost 50 years.
7. The cal 50611 is a much better Perpetual Calendar than the DaVinci, not only are the parts much larger (bigger means more robust and therefore better) but any previous problems with the DaVinci have been corrected.
8. The Portuguese PC was originally designed with a conventional moon phase and several were built with them (see 3 above) but the art department thought that they could improve the look & came up with the idea for the twin moon display leaving Mr. Klaus & his department to find a way to make it work.
9. The new movement is completely modular, so a watchmaker has to just remove 4 screws and the whole PC module lifts off and he can then service the base mvt without having to touch the PC module.
10. Although IWC service centres are being closed and all work concentrated in Richemont group service centres, the work on IWCs in these new centres is only done by a specific group of IWC specialists.
11. The IWC Ingenieur is a valued brand name for IWC and will not be allowed to die, it will not be back at the 2004 SIHH but we will not have to wait much longer after that.
12. The reason the 500.000a/m Ingenieur died was that it was a major problem to manufacture the very special hairsprings. They had a defect that meant they were extremely temperature sensitive, in fact IWC had a joke that it was not really a watch, it was a thermometer.
13. The Grand Complication is now offered with 3 different dial variations, the newest is the silvered dial in a gold case
15. The Portuguese Split seconds is now available in rose gold with a black dial.
“‘Tis with our judgments as our watches: none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.”