The American Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the brand IWC in 1868 and he wanted to pair Swiss craftmanship in watchmaking with American manufacturing technologies. IWC became a specialist in creating excellent pocket watches. Even though the brand’s initials stand for ‘International’ Watch Company and was founded by an American citizen, it always was – and still is today – based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
2018 is a very important year for IWC as it’s the brands 150 anniversary. For this exciting occasion the manufacture welcomes 27 (28 when counting in the pocket watch) new or re-launched timepieces from their Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watch and Da Vinci families, with some watches to attract with their technical finesse and others with their aesthetical appearance. But above all they revived a long forgotten collection from the early 1880s – the Pallweber, a digital pocket watch with a jumping numeral module. Only this time it returns as a wristwatch.
Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”
Josef Pallweber is the founder of the digital watch and patented the first pocket watches with jumping hour in 1883. These innovative timepieces showed the hours and minutes in a digital format with large numerals on rotating discs. IWC was quick in seeing a potential in this new display and launched their first digital pocket watch in 1885. IWC has produced around 20.000 Pallweber pocket watches within the first 20 years. Some of them can still be seen at the IWC museum in Schaffhausen. Thankfully the manufacture has decided to revive the Pallweber for their anniversary collection. The design is outstanding aesthetical and for us a true highlight within the collection.
The 2018 version is to be worn on the wrist and comes with a blue or white lacquered finish dial instead of enamel. All new anniversary models have this either blue or white lacquered finish to give the collection a uniform look. They are coated with up to 12 layers of high-quality lacquer, which are polished and brushed between the finishing steps. The Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years” is limited to 25 watches in platinum (white dial), 250 watches in red gold (white dial) and 500 watches in stainless steel (blue dial).
Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition „150 Years“
The Portugieser is the most famous and strongest watch-collection associated with IWC. So the brand has equipped the anniversary edition with a technical demanding complication to underline its position. The Constant-Force Tourbillon was first introduced by IWC in 2011 for the Siderale Scafuisa model. The new Ref. IW590202 and IW590203 combine a constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual single moon phase display (calibre 94805). The patented constant-force mechanism disengages the escapement from the direct flow of power from the wheel train and transmits evenly impulses to the escape wheel. The moon phase display needs to be adjusted by only one day every 577.5 years. The Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” is limited to 15 watches with a platinum case and a blue or white lacquered finish dial.
Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”
Kurt Klaus plays an important role for the International Watch Company. Not only that he is the chief-watchmaker of IWC but it was him who developed the Da Vinci Chronograph Perpetual Calendar in 1985, which runs automatically up to the year 2499 with nearly no adjustments. Perpetual calendars have been around for more then hundred years, but for Kurt Klaus it was important to develop a highly user-friendly perpetual calendar. For IWC’s anniversary collection they introduced their first timepiece with perpetual calendar (from Kurt Klaus) paired with a tourbillon. Thanks to Kurt Klaus very economical perpetual calendar, which is only made from 81 pieces the new calibre 51950 can house both complications and still have a comparable slim watch. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” is limited to 50 watches and only available with a white dial and 18-carat red gold case.
Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Edition “150 Years”
Of course the manufacture also made a special interpretation of their standard perpetual calendar, which ranks among the classical complications in the Portugieser family. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Edition “150 Years” is limited to 250 watches, featuring a 18-carat red gold case and a white dial.
Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years”
For the first time the iconic Big Pilot watch (46.2 mm) has received a big date display featuring large numerals. If you take a closer look and remember the typical ‘Big Pilot’ models you will spot that the seconds hand has been replaced by a small hacking seconds at 6 o’clock. You might also miss the power reserve display. In order not to overload the dial it was transferred to the back and visible through a porthole. The hole does not affect the soft-iron inner case’s protection against magnetic fields. The Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years” is limited to 150 watches with a blue and white dial and stainless steel case.
All watches from the anniversary collection have a black alligator leather strap and a “150 Years” insignia, either as a medallion or as an engraving.
You will not find any watches from Ingenieur or Aquatimer lines simply because the brand has decided for a festive, classical collection with polished cases, lacquer dials and elegant curves honouring the big anniversary.
The already mentioned watches show you some of the more complex and totally new models from the “150 Years” collection. Not less important of course are the remaining 18 watches.
A quick summary about all other styles:
Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 50 watches in 18 carat white or red gold case, completely covered by 206 pure white diamonds amounting to 2.26 carats.
Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 150 watches in 18 carat red gold (with blue dial) and 350 watches in stainless steel (with blue or white dial).
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 1.000 watches in stainless steel with white dial.
Portofino Chronograph Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 2.000 watches in stainless steel with blue or white dial.
Portugieser Chronograph Edition “150 Years”. The first Portugieser with an IWC-manufactured movement from the 69000 calibre family. Limited to 2.000 watches in stainless steel with blue or white dial. The calibre 69355 is a very robust chronograph movement in a classic column-wheel design made up of 194 individual parts.
Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years”. It features the newly developed IWC-manufactured calibre 82200 which is a very robust automatic movement with a Pellaton winding system that generates a power reserve of 60 hours. Limited to 250 watches in 18 carat red gold (with white dial) and 500 watches in stainless steel with blue or white dial.
Portofino Automatic Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 2.000 watches in stainless steel with blue or white dial.
Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years”. Limited to 250 watches in 18 carat red gold (with white dial) and 1.000 watches in stainless steel (with white dial). The power reserve (8 days) indicator is on the case back visible through a transparent sapphire-glass.