Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen revisits the iconic design of the 1980s and presents the 2017 Da Vinci collection, once again with its classic round case. The Da Vinci Automatic 36 and the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 are tailored to women, while the Da Vinci Automatic is a unisex model. Two Da Vinci timepieces feature newly developed IWC-manufactured caliber’s that innovatively combine and integrate complications.
“With the new Da Vinci collection, IWC Schaffhausen has returned to the round case that was so successfully established by the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in 1985. It means we are bidding farewell to the tonneau case and reaffirming our commitment to the classic proportions the brand stands for,” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “With the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36, we are also re-establishing an old tradition of creating selected models from the Da Vinci line specially for women and adding diamonds or fashionable straps and bracelets as features. I am particularly pleased about the launch of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph because they truly embody our manufacturing expertise.”
With the round cases, harmonious forms, rounded crowns and diamonds on single models in the new collection, IWC Schaffhausen establishes a link between the Da Vinci of the 1980s and today’s pure designs without denying the family’s heritage. The twin-frame bezel with the peripheral groove is a reminder of this period. Newly designed, movable horns with curved lugs ensure that straps and bracelets fit perfectly around the wrist and make the watches more comfortable to wear. All Da Vinci Automatic (Ref. IW356601/IW356602), Da Vinci Automatic 36 (Ref. IW458307/IW458308/IW458310/IW458312) and Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 (Ref. IW459306/ IW459307/IW459308) models, with the exception of Reference IW459308 and Reference IW356601, are equipped with the new butterfly clasp. The clasp has three fold-out wings so the wearer can put on and take off the watch without fully opening the strap or bracelet. Two Da Vinci watches are fitted with a pin buckle: the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 (Ref. IW459308) has an 18-caratred gold clasp, the Da Vinci Automatic (Ref. IW356601) one in stainless steel. The two models with Haute Horlogerie complications – the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph(Ref. IW392101/IW392103) and the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph (Ref. IW393101) – feature a folding clasp with two wings.
The 2017 Da Vinci collection: An overview
The Da Vinci Automatic 36 (Ref. IW458307/IW458308/ IW458310/IW458312) and the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 (Ref. IW459306/IW459307/IW459308) are not only smallerand slimmer, but also have a more feminine design: with rounded crowns and a recessed inner circle on the dial, as previously found in the Portofino 37 mm collection. Gold cases, diamond-set bezels and alligator leather straps by Santoni in the colours raspberry, bronze, dark brown and dark blue specially developed for IWC underscore the watch’s aesthetic appeal. To achieve the nuanced gradations of colour on the strap, the surface of
the leather is polished with a variety of different pastes until it has the desired shading and a perfect sheen. As a result, every strap has an exclusive patina-like shimmer with its own individual nuances of colour. The moon phase display, which has been part of the Da Vinci family since 1985, is now the visual centre of the silver-plated dial in the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36. The gold- or silver-coloured moon moves clockwise against the dark blue night sky. The so-called “Flower of Life” is engraved on the case backs of all Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 models. This geometrical figure features several regularly overlapping circles and was the object of intensive study and numerous drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. It represents his unflagging search for mathematical rules for beauty and proportions, and thus symbolizes the new design approach of the watch collection.
The Da Vinci Automatic (Ref. IW356601/IW356602) with its 40-millimetre diameter was designed for both men and women as a classicwatch with three hands and features a discreet, elegant design. This reference ideally reflects the watch family’s design signature – a round case with distinctive horns. Moreover, the minimalist dial with its large Arabic figures and lancet-shaped hands perfectly matches the purist design of the Da Vinci Automatic. One model comes with a silver-plated dial and a black Santoni leather strap, the other with a slate-coloured dial and stainless-steel bracelet.
The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (Ref. IW392101/IW392103) is the first watch from IWC to combine the well-known mechanical chronograph with a perpetual moon phase display on a subdial in a new complication module. The moon phase is displayed by a disc, partly silver- or gold-plated, partly dark blue, which rotates to show the shadow of the earth and the waxing or waning moon below an aperture in the dial. In order to achieve this, IWC’s watchmakers had to design the in-house 89630 calibre that powers the perpetual calendar’s other functions: the date, month, day and four-digit year display.
The name of the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph (Ref. IW393101) in 18-carat red gold alone reflects its unique status: an unusual combination of a classic tourbillon with a retrograde date and a sporty chronograph on a single dial. The further-developed 89360 chronograph calibre, the new IWC-manufactured 89900 calibre, permits down-to-the-second setting of what is known as the “hacking tourbillon” via a newly designed system of levers. The result is a technically sophisticated and optically balancedcomplication with a clear, uncluttered design. The wearer reads stopped hours and minutes off from a totalizer at the top of the dial, while a central seconds hand shows elapsed seconds. The flying tourbillon is positioned below at “6 o’clock” and, on the left-hand side, the gently curved arc of the retrograde date display almost visually connects one complication with the other. Apart from this, the pallet lever and escape wheel were manufactured with the use of diamond shell technology for the first time. This involves a diamond coating that reduces friction, thus generating a higher output of energy.
Female target group is main focus of interest
“With the new Da Vinci collection, we are consciously trying to anchor the brand in the minds of women, who account for a significant proportion of watch lovers,” explains Franziska Gsell, CMO at IWC Schaffhausen. “Here in Schaffhausen, the company has been manufacturing watches for women since the very beginning. In that sense, we are remaining true to our heritage.”
The design of the new Da Vinci collection follows in the vein of this characteristic style. The design team, for instance, took inspiration from the solid horns that were a characteristic feature of the Da Vinci models made back in the 1980s. “We thought long and hard about the shape of the case for the new Da Vinci,” adds Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen. “Eventually, we came to the conclusion that a modern interpretation of the round shape established in the 1980s would be most in keeping with IWC’s overall portfolio. For example, we took our cue from the twin-frame bezel with its peripheral groove, but made it slightly narrower and a little less pronounced. We also adopted the large Arabic numerals from the round Da Vinci together with the slim, lancet-shaped hands.”
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