IWC davinci perpetual calendar with split seconds
A turning-point for the industry, this is the watch that put IWC right up there with the “big three”: Audemars Piguet, JLC and Patek Philippe.
When complicated watchmaking was arguably at its lowest point in the last century, IWC’s legendary Kurt Klaus entered into the fray. A five-decades long veteran at IWC and a student under Pellaton, Klaus designed this piece on a drawing board with only a calculator for assistance. Based on a Valjoux 7750, the in-house manufacture movement would be the first production-run perpetual calendar moonphase with every indication co-ordinated through the crown – advance the day indication and everything else follows suit. This was hitherto unheard-of and, as if this were not enough, IWC requested that the instrument should feature a chronograph. To cap it all, the chronograph in this particular piece features the rattrapante (split-seconds) complication.
Presented at 39mm, the case itself is inspired by the recurrent circles sketched in 1499 by Leonardo da Vinci for a harbour fort at Piombino. IWC’s head designer Hano Burtscher had become enthralled by da Vinci’s use of the circle and this is echoed in the design of the totalisers and mushroom-shaped pushers.
Accompanied by its box and a full set of papers dated to 1996, this iconic piece will need to be factory reset in January 2200, thence the inclusion of the replacement calendar mechanism in the wax-sealed phial. A duty for about ten generations’ time, at that point the calendar will be good for a further three centuries.
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