Every year, the Schaffhausen brand refreshes one of its core collections, and this year it’s the turn of its lesser-known Da Vinci collection.
The IWC Da Vinci Replica was first launched in 1969, and housed the Beta 21 movement in a hexagonal case. In 1985, the brand revisited it with a collection featuring classic round cases with stepped lines (based on a Leonardo da Vinci architectural sketch), which became the vehicle for the world’s first perpetual calendar mechanism in which every indication could be set using the crown.
This year, IWC Best Swiss Replica Watches are launching its bravest Da Vinci collection yet, aimed at both men and women. The 2017 models have inherited the 1985 Da Vinci DNA, which is evident in their round grooved cases. At the lower end of the price spectrum are the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Automatic Moon Phase for ladies.
The brand presented four versions of the Automatic 36: 18-carat gold with diamonds, and three models in stainless steel (including one with a diamond-set bezel), all with a range of colourful leather straps, alongside a trio of Moon Phase models in red gold, steel and steel with diamonds.
In tribute to the pioneering Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar, it also unveiled a range of complications for gents including the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and Da Vinci Laureus, powered by IWC’s in-house 89630 and 89361 movements respectively. The Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is the first replica watch from IWC to combine the well-known mechanical chronograph with a perpetual moon-phase display on a subdial.
Also new this year is the Pilot 36, a follow-up to last year’s overhauled Pilot’s collection, and the rugged Ingenieur Automatic.
If you’ve been following along for the past few months, you have probably heard about IWC re-inventing the IWC Da Vinci Replica collection as its big release at SIHH. Based on the original Da Vinci, first produced in 1986, this new series reflects the old case design but with a heavy focus on ladies’ pieces like the new Automatic Moon Phase 36 that you see here. It’s a new direction for the collection (and the brands) and one that is very much worth paying attention to.
Before I go into my thoughts on this replica watch, I want to preface this story with a pretty important caveat. I do not like the old Da Vinci replica watches. I never have. Sorry. BUT, I am always open to new things and am sometimes pleasantly surprised when I don’t let my preconceptions get the better of me. This is one of those instances.
Early IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Replica, circa 1990. (Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s)
There are six new Da Vinci models for this year: the Automatic 36, the Automatic 40, the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph, a special Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation,” and the replica watch we have here, the Automatic Moon Phase 36. They all incorporate a new and improved Da Vinci case shape with a similar aesthetic to the 1980s originals. The lugs are short and have an angled tear-drop shape, and are articulated, with the spring bars attached in between as usual. The replica watches come in red gold or steel, with or without diamonds (on the ladies’ models), and with silvered, blue, or dark gray dials.
For my look at the Automatic Moon Phase 36, I went for the model in steel with a silvered dial. I found it to be the most attractive out of the bunch, and while it is marketed as a ladies’ replica watch I don’t think it is overtly feminine at all (do what you will with that information).
The IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Replica is one of the flagship models in the revamped-for-2017 Da Vinci collection. The watch features a flying tourbillon, a retrograde date display, and a flyback chronograph, all powered by a self-winding in-house movement with several interesting technical features. It’s also got all the aesthetic hallmarks of the new Replica Watches collection too, so let’s take a closer look.
One of the more interesting aspects of the watch is the tourbillon – this is a flying tourbillon, which is fitted with a stop-seconds feature, to allow to-the-second accurate setting of the watch. It’s a peculiarity of the tourbillon that the presence of the cage has historically tended to discourage watchmakers from putting a stop-seconds mechanism in tourbillon wristwatches – of course part of that had to do with the fact that until well after the IWC Replica Watches you could have counted the number of tourbillon wristwatches on the fingers of one hand. The problem is that a stop-seconds complication usually works by means of a small lever that presses on the balance wheel when you pull out the crown, but such a mechanism would be blocked by the IWC men’s Watches.
If you want to buy into national stereotypes, you might say it’s not surprising that two of the companies that have figured out a way around this problem with a stop-seconds tourbillon are German, and in fact from both from Glashütte: Moritz Grossman and A. Lange & Söhne. Schaffhausen isn’t in Germany but it’s surrounded on three sides by the Cheap IWC Replica. The lever and escape wheel are silicon.Initially, the watch will be offered in red gold only, and on a Santoni strap.
Having had a chance to handle the watch and have it on the wrist, I’m comfortable saying it’s made a very positive initial impression. It’s certainly sized and styled to impress at 44mm across and 17mm thick, but the stop-seconds for the IWC Replica Watches tourbillon is really technically interesting (and, though not unique any more, certainly unusual) and that, combined with the retrograde date and flyback chronograph, gives you a watch with a feel of substantive technical achievement and solid, unostentatious luxury, which is very much in line with the Da Vinci family in general, and with IWC in particular.