- Conservative design
- Stainless steel, gold, and platinum cases
- Complications like a flyback chronograph and perpetual calendar
- In-house caliber with a tourbillon
- Vintage watches both with round and rectangular cases
Named After a Genius
The Da Vinci stands out in IWC
's portfolio thanks to its conservative, elegant design
. The Swiss company is most well known for their pilot's watches, but they also produce beautiful dress watches such as the Portugieser
and the Portofino
This watch is named for the universal genius Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519). Throughout his entire life, the 16th-century Italian painter and scientist was interested in horology and watches. His work in the field of mechanics greatly influenced how watches have evolved.
Towards the end of the 1960s, IWC introduced the Da Vinci for the first time. The watch featured the quartz movement Beta 21, which IWC developed together with other renowned Swiss manufacturers. Their collaboration began in 1962, when Swiss technology was state of the art. Pressure on the market due to cheap watches from Asia plunged Europe into the Quartz Crisis during the 1970s and 80s. Still, IWC continued to produce mechanical watches. In 1985, IWC premiered an exceptional chronograph in their Da Vinci series. It had an impressive, mechanically programmable perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display. Above all, the century disc was challenging to make. The change only occurs once per century, after the movement's balance wheel has traveled the equivalent distance of 40 times around the Earth. The day of the week, the date, the month, the year, the decade, the century, the millennium, and the moon phase are synchronized and can be set via the crown. The Da Vinci collection represents the peak of haute horlogerie.
From 2007 to 2017, IWC built these watches with tonneau cases. At the beginning of 2017, however, the round Da Vinci made its comeback. IWC offers the watch in many different case diameters: 36, 40, 42, 43, and 44 mm. The Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 models are marketed towards women, while the 40-mm Da Vinci Automatic was designed as a unisex watch.
The 42-mm model is the Da Vinci chronograph edition "Laureus Sport for Good Foundation." This limited edition model only comes in stainless steel with a blue dial. It's limited to a run of 1,500 watches.
The 43-mm diameter Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph has a stopwatch function (chronograph) as well as a perpetual calendar and moon phase display. The chronograph is unique thanks to its flyback function, which allows you to reset and start the stopwatch again by only pushing one button. Minutes and hours are kept track of on one subdial at 12 o'clock. The other three subdials display the date, day of the week, and month. There is also a small second hand on the subdial at six o'clock. The in-house caliber winds automatically and has a 68-hour power reserve.
The largest watch in this series has a diameter of 44 mm and has the telling name Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph. As a sign of sophisticated watchmaking, this watch has an in-house caliber with a tourbillon. A tourbillon is a fine, round cage where the oscillation system is mounted. It makes one full rotation every minute on its own axis, thereby compensating for the negative effect of gravity on the watch's precision. This complication is incredibly intricate and difficult to build and thus, is only featured in a few luxury watch models. The integrated stopwatch in the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph also features a flyback function. The power reserve lasts 68 hours and has an indicator at nine o'clock. The automatic caliber 89900 can be viewed through the watch's sapphire glass case back. The caliber stands out with its engraved rotor made of 18-karat red gold; the case is also made of red gold.
Are you looking for an elegant watch from a top Swiss brand? Then you should consider purchasing an IWC Da Vinci.
The new models from 2017 with round cases are only gradually making their comeback. The tonneau-shaped
Da Vinci will certainly still play a deciding role in the pre-owned watch market for many years to come. The Da Vinci is comparable to the Reverso
from Jaeger-LeCoultre or the Cartier Tank
. The Gondolo
from Patek Philippe is another watch with a less conventional shape that offers an alternative to the traditional round case. All of these timepieces are dress watches, making them perfect companions for formal wear.
You can purchase a new, stainless steel tonneau-shaped Da Vinci Automatic (reference number 4523) for around 5,000 euros. The price doubles for versions in red gold.
The mid-sized Da Vinci with a tonneau shape and a stopwatch function (reference number 3764) starts at around 8,000 euros for a new stainless steel model. A gold case raises the price to around 15,000 euros, while the limited platinum edition costs about 38,000 euros.
The large and complicated version of the tonneau-shaped Da Vinci (reference number 3761) starts at around 30,000 euros for a new model, as it's only available with a red gold case. You should be prepared to spend around 50,000 euros for the limited edition platinum version of the 3761.
There's a large vintage selection of older Da Vinci watches. You can find round, quartz Da Vinci models for around 2,000 - 3,000 euros. A particularly distinctive watch from the Da Vinci series is that with reference number IW546101. This automatic model has a futuristic, rectangular case, a black dial, and fine stick indices. New, it costs around 5,000 euros.
International Watch Company: Since 1868
IWC's watchmaking traditions reach back to the 19th century. In 1868, American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones
(1841 - 1916) founded the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. His plan was to produce watches in Switzerland and sell them for profit in the United States. However, this plan failed due to the high American import taxes. In 1880, businessman Johannes Rauschenbach took over the company, which his family owned until 1978. Due to the Quartz Crisis, the company switched ownership multiple times between 1978 and 2000. Since 2000, IWC has been a part of the Richemont Group,
which also owns A. Lange & Söhne
, and Panerai