One hundred and fifty years ago, Boston watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones established the International Watch Company. In 2018, IWC is still the only Swiss watch brand founded by an American. To celebrate a century and a half of watchmaking, IWC is breaking from its usual tradition of releasing a family of watches and is instead releasing a special Jubilee Collection.
The IWC Jubilee Collection will feature 27 limited-edition models across four families of the IWC brand. Limited models of the Portugieser, Portofino, Da Vinci, and Pilot’s Watch collections will be united by imprinted dials in either all white with blued hands, or blue dials with rhodium plated hands. Each dial is finished with multiple layers of lacquer to achieve a look reminiscent of vintage enamel-dialed pocket watches. All of the limited-edition models are mounted on black alligator leather straps produced by Italian footwear specialist Santoni, an exclusive partner of IWC Schaffhausen. Here is a look at five of our favorite models that premiered at SIHH 2018.
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”
IWC’s Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years” is the standout of the limited-edition Jubilee Collection. Original Pallweber pocket watches, released by IWCstarting in 1884, were the invention of Salzburg watchmaker Josef Pallweber. Pallweber pioneered a digital timekeeping system in which the hours and minutes were displayed by large numerals on rotating disks instead of being marked by traditional hands on a watch face.
The modern wristwatch version is outfitted in an 18k rose-gold case measuring 45mm in diameter. A blued seconds hand is found at the six o’clock position, accompanied by two windows directly above the dial which display the hours and minutes with Arabic numerals in individual windows. The white lacquer-finished dial is simple and plain, with impeccable design. The Pallweber Edition “150 Years” features the new Caliber 94200 IWC movement. Manual winding provides a 60-hour power reserve. The IWC Jubilee Pallweber Edition is limited to 250 pieces.
The Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”
If the Pallweber Edition “150 Years” is the standout of the Jubilee Collection, the Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” is the show-stopper. One of two tourbillon-equipped watches in the Jubilee Collection, the constant-force is brilliant in it’s design, complexity, and elegance. Featuring a 46-mm case in platinum and a white-lacquered dial with blued hands, the Portugieser Constant-Force debuts the new Caliber 94805 IWC-manufactured movement. The Caliber 94805 combines the constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual moon-phase display which is so precise it requires adjustment by only one day every 577.5 years.
This technical first for IWC produces an exceptional level of precision and is accompanied by an equally impressive 96-hour power reserve. A side-indicator dial placed at the 4:30 position marks the power reserve while the one o’clock position is occupied by the moon-phase indicator window. The tourbillon window is placed at 9 o’clock and is magnificent in both precision and design. The sapphire glass back is accented by a gold medallion with the IWC Jubilee insignia. The Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” is limited to 15 pieces.
The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”
The Jubilee Collection has one additional Tourbillon timepiece, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”. The Perpetual Calendar packs the largest number of complications of the five watches being reviewed today, seamlessly integrating multiple complications on a single dial. A tribute to one of IWC’s most groundbreaking watches, the original Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW3750, the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillion Edition “150 Years” makes a bold statement by combining a tourbillon and a perpetual calendar for the first time in an IWC timepiece. Maintaining the Jubilee standard of white dial and blued hands, the Perpetual Calendar is displayed in a 45mm 18k rose gold case and features yet another new IWC movement, the Caliber 51950.
Limited to 50 pieces, the Caliber 51950 includes a seven-day power reserve in the automatic self-winding movement. A day of the week dial at nine o’clock is offset by a combined date and power reserve dial at three o’clock. The year is marked in Arabic numerals just below the eight o’clock hour marker. The tourbillon placement at 12 o’clock is uniquely placed on a deep black background which creates the illusion that cage is rotating in mid-air. The tourbillon is offset but a combined month and moon phase dial at six o’clock on the face. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” is magnificent in complexity and a testament to solid design. The face is both a complex arrangement of information and a well-designed testament to style.
Ladies’ Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years”
Returning to the tradition of elaborately decorated jewelry watches from the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years” is a Jubilee watch unlike any other. A contemporary take on the jeweled classics, the 18k rose-gold case measures 36mm and is adorned on the case and articulated lugs with 206 pure white diamonds which total 2.26 carats. The white lacquered dial and blued handset combo are offset by a moon-phase display at 12 o’clock.
Powered by IWC’s automatic Caliber 35800, which features a 42-hour power reserve, the Da Vinci Moon Phase is completed by a solid gold case back emblazoned with the “150 Years” designation. The central hacking seconds hand is visible under the convex sapphire glass which has an anti-reflective coating on both sides. The Ladies Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years” is limited to 50 pieces.
Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years”
Featuring the new IWC 82200 automatic movement with Pellaton winding system, the Da Vinci Automatic “150 Years” is notable for the use of ceramic components. The new movement supplies a sixty-hour power reserve and is contained in a 40.4mm stainless steel case. A deep blue dial is offset by rhodium hands. The simple dial layout, with Arabic numerals in white and a small second’s sub-dial at six o’clock is reminiscent of IWC’s original Portugieser watch from the 1930s. The skeletonized rotor is accented by a gold anniversary medallion. This is one of several tastefully placed signifiers of the Jubilee edition.
The case includes the notation “Edition 150 Years” and the manufacture designation “One out of 500”. The plates and bridges visible under the sapphire case back are decorated with circular graining and côtes de Genève. The classic appearance of the Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years” might be among the simplest of the Jubilee collection, but the excellence in craftsmanship and design make this timepiece, along with each of the watches reviewed here deserving of inclusion in the 150-year celebration of watchmaking that is the IWC Jubilee Collection.