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IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The old-new Da Vinci collection from IWC made its return at SIHH 2017, ditching the not very successful angular case from some ten years ago in favor of a classical, round design. As safe-play as that may sound, the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph has, sort of unexpectedly, stepped up to be one of my favorites from this year’s new releases and here’s why that is.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I’ll go out on a limb and say this: IWC perpetual calendars – especially the Portugieser variants, of course – have for a long time been among those genuinely complicated and expensive watches that I could see people… well, actually wear. Not just in fancy airport lounges or events, but also in perfectly everyday settings, out and about – though likely more so in big cities of world’s rich countries than elsewhere. While that is a statistically unsubstantiated claim, I’ll stick to it because to see a watch of such complexity on actual people’s wrists out in the actual world is not only fascinating but also, in a way, inspires one to see said watch in a slightly different light.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

That noted, my gripe with IWC has for some time now been that they appeared not overly rushed with their efforts to successfully create a new chapter for their impressive, Kurt Klaus-developed perpetual calendar. Now, though, that appears to have finally changed with the old-new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

“When in doubt, go round” may just be the mantra at IWC, but, as we’ll see, not without reason. Seemingly in tune with the recently re-styled Ingenieur, which has also dropped its more agressive and angular lines for a circular, more target-group-friendly look, the Da Vinci returns to framing its many indications with a perfectly round bezel. Boring it isn’t, though, as it offers many fine and some unexpected details, so let’s work our way through all of these.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

On the wrist, and especially when seen in the metal, the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in red gold is, without doubt, one of the most striking watches of SIHH 2017. As thoroughly disappointing as I personally found the dials on last year’s cheap-n-cheerful IWC Pilot, the “face” of this Da Vinci is the exact opposite in every single way. It is serious, purposeful, balanced, and its quality of execution matches its price point – qualities that didn’t come to mind when looking at those Pilots.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The manufacture caliber 89630 in the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is the first IWC to combine the Kurt Klaus moon phase indication system and the double chronograph counters in one sub-dial – talk about a niche, but impressive feat… The moon phase here is accurate not to the measly one day in 122 years as most moon phases, but to one day in 577.5 years.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The soft look of the applied gold indices contrast rather beautifully against the sharp, angular, pointy hands – a subtle but impressive detail. IWC’s some thirty-plus years of experience in designing similarly feature-packed dials shows in how the silver-plated dial lacks any outstanding patterns or texture, serving as a soft-glowing backdrop that allows all other nicely separated elements to stand out, improving legibility and easing on aesthetic overload.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The year window above 7 o’clock is clearly more for bragging rights than for anything else – if it were to make watchmakers’ lives easier to set the perpetual functions of the movement it could still be hidden by the dial itself. But IWC even goes so far as to say that they already “supply the century slide bearing the figures 22, 23, and 24 for the years 2200 to 2499 – you know, just in case manufacturing technologies in 2247 wouldn’t allow for the making of this small piece.

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Comments

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  • Beefalope

    Hell of a nice offering here from IWC, which is something I don’t say much about IWC.

  • AW

    I don’t get Brendan’s disdain for the 3777 pilot line, they are perfectly fine good quality chrono watches. Market prices them pretty close to suggested retail price, at 4500$ for 377710 (retail 6000$) compared to many other watches. I don’t think there are any comparable offerings, and Epos 3406 that’s a tier lower in quality (two tiers in bracelet design) is ~2200$.

    Back on Da Vinci, they seem to be priced fairly for the complication. Too bad the movement doesn’t have the newest tech. I also don’t see any info about anti-magnetic properties of an escapement etc.

  • ProJ

    Love the case shape and the movement look from the display back. Hate the year window. Wish Arabic numerals were a little more eccentric. Overall nice watch but a bit bulky nonetheless.

  • Word Merchant

    As thoroughly disappointing as I personally found the dials on last year’s cheap-n-cheerful IWC Pilot…

    A shame you didn’t mention this to Ariel – as it might’ve tempered his rather PR-friendly gushing in the review you link to.

    That aside: this is lovely, albeit busy, watch. I’m less keen on the lugs and the numerals are a bit of a pastiche. I’d still rather go for the Portuguese Perpetual myself but nice to see IWC actually trying.

    • Ariel Adams

      Not as many PR people as you think like me. I’m just more candid in private.

      • Word Merchant

        Could I respectfully ask that more of that candour appears on this site? Otherwise the articles all get a bit anodyne. You don’t have to be vicious and rude – we’ve got that angle fully covered for you – but I do think you need to be more revealing.

        • Ariel Adams

          You aren’t deprived of candor. We balance subjective feelings with objecting facts that help discuss watches in a manner that allows them to be discussed in a way that help attract the attention of the demographic they are intended for along with our personal angle. The most revealing this is what we don’t write about, which is likely because we really don’t like it. I don’t need to tell people what not to buy, or what to buy. I prefer to share the watches I feel passionate about with people, or that I think they really need to know about. Of course we can try to further instill our own subjective feelings in our content, but it rides a fine line between candor and pressuring people to adopt our tastes. As I’ve said many times before. I prefer to help educate people on how to appreciate something, and then allow them to form their own opinions. Besides, when I really don’t like sometime I’m pretty open about it. How many other people do you know who write openly about the mistakes the industry is making – which to me is so much more crucial than design issues in particular watch models.

          • Word Merchant

            Being more revealing doesn’t mean being more lecturing, and it doesn’t mean pressuring anyone to do anything. “I don’t like x because of y” is very different to “you’d have to be an idiot to buy x”, and I can understand you wishing to avoid the latter.

            And we can’t read anything whatsoever into the non-appearance of a watch here: it could be for all sorts of reasons, commercial, logistics, scheduling, taste, cost. Who knows? You don’t tell us.

          • Ariel Adams

            I take your feedback seriously and we can try to incorporate it. We have a range of logistical and practical limitations that are difficult for those on the outside to appreciate, but I think we do a pretty good job give our available time, resources, and the need to maintain close relationships with the companies that produce the products we write about. All I can say that I completely appreciate the position you are coming from, and hope you appreciate that despite as mild as some of our coverage comes across as, we are nevertheless still considered controversial to many inside the industry itself. It’s always that ironic fact that we are considered too harsh by the industry and not nearly harsh enough by the audience 🙂

          • SuperStrapper

            It’s because the veil of protection the Internet gives such hard-liners.

          • Marius

            À propos hard-liners, here is a comment that YOU recently made in the comments section of the Ressence Type 5G article published by ABTW on 23.02.2017:

            “You’re the one living in an alt world, and acting like a a smarmy little cocksucker while doing it. Why should I give a fuck about what a single watchmaker puts on his website? That constitutes universal industry fact suddenly? Maybe if you werent being so close minded and idiotic you’d see that you are doing nothing other than giving opinion, and you have not come close to presenting anything that would constitute fact.”

          • SuperStrapper

            What’s your point?

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Don’t forget. The name is EXIT!

          • SuperStrapper

            Again, you’ve gone ahead and just taken a comment out of context to try and formulate some kind of argument without the ability to actually articulate what that argument is. Did I omit myself somehow from the hard-liner comment? Or are you just trying to insinuate that I did. Not that I need to prove anything to you or anyone else, but I talk online like I talk in real life: that why when my feelings are mild, my comments are mild, and someone acts like a smarmy cocksucker and angles at me, I call them out on it. You and many others here on the other hand will write a scathing thesis deriding author and website for simply liking something you don’t, having an opinion that differs from yours, or even for discussing a watch you don’t see any value in as though you’ve been insulted. You try to position yourself as some kind of industry expert or professional; you are neither. You don’t agree with an opinion, and rather than engage in a conversation you simply sneer and insult, essentially exposing yourself as a fraud and supposed cyber bully. You’re too scared to have a rational conversation about differences of opinion for some reason, so your first stop is full frontal insults, which is a childish and transparent defence mechanism. I assume in real life you’re meek and possibly defeated, and your continued lashing out here is just your adopted coping therapy.

            A few days ago it was suggested to me publicly by a well known and respected member that using the strong language you just reposted would ruin any credibility I might have. I didn’t respond, because I like the guy, but what is credibility worth here? At one point this place had an air of maturity and respect and was an interesting community to discuss watches, but now it’s just a popularity contest and an area to practice insults. There is hardly any credibility in the comments section: “likes” are rarely based on appreciation for insight, they’re a thumbs-up for a great dig at someone who disagrees, and completely worthless as a currency to show knowledge or dedication to the subject matter. If you think me calling someone a smarmy cocksucker is any more vulgar than you going out of your way to insult an author for not being rude or harsh in a review you’re an idiot. Even better is when you use grade 8 English skills to insult someone for what you perceive as bad writing. At least have someone proofread those for you before you post them. I really couldn’t care less what anyone here thinks of my credibility, as it has no value in either direction. The individuals here that have actual industry credibility participate less and less in the comments, only further proving that it’s not worth their time to wade through all the schoolyard bullshit. Freedom of opinion was favoured over extreme policing of commentary on this blog, and unfortunately the result has been a shift to hairpulling and spitballs rather than insightful open forum conversation. The only reason you post so much trash talk here is because you’re allowed: if you commented like this elsewhere you’d be redacted through the floor.

            So yes, I’m totally guilty of calling a spade a spade. You’re an asshole and a failtroll.

            Now tell me what a cool story that was.

          • Marius

            You seem to be terribly affected. Don’t worry so much about me, I’m not always rude and sarcastic. Somtimes I’m asleep.

          • IG
          • Sheez Gagoo
          • Sheez Gagoo

            How does a hypocrite scumbag like you justify it’s useless existence? Even the thought, that a turd like you breathe the same air and lives on the same planet like I do makes me sick. Here in Switzerland, we have an organisation named EXIT for you. PLEASE USE IT. The world is a better place without you. Did your daddy raped you? Is this why you became what you are? Doesn’t matter. Some barbiturates will release you from your pain. Forever.

          • SuperStrapper

            Not only do I breathe the same air and live on the same planet, but I’m also banging your wife. Just to be clear on everything you and I share that might touch my balls from time to time.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            The industry need harsher reviews and need to be critiziced more. Do you remember, when I was praising Gregory Pons for his blog and his very critical view on the industry and you claimed, that he has a rather inconstructive view on things? Simply not true. He wrote an open letter to Richemont and the SG. When you read the Richemont letter you’ll realize, that Johann Rupert did exactly what was written in that letter. The last quarter was quite succesfull for Richemont. Not so for the SG, which completely ignored their letter. Pons isn’t a diplomat (he’s french) but he’s right. Believe me, the industry tries to boycot him however they can, but they read every single word he writes. I adore this blog, and I like you, Ariel. That’s why I don’t want to see this blog fading into irrelevance or becoming one of this highly corrupt blogs we have plenty here in Europe, especially in Germany. But what do I know about blogs? I have to admit, not much. But I know about the industry. And the industry is eeaasily offended. Don’t underestimate the power of your blog. You’re one of the most important influencer now. I think the industry needs you more than you think. Especially now, when brands desperatally try to get close to millenials. Don’t forget about that. USE YOUR FORCE. You are a spectre now. And some of the industry think, they are Reapers, but they aren’t.

          • Ariel Adams

            I deeply respect Gregory Pons and his work. I don’t always feel that my tactics would align with his, but we have often similar goals. He is not a product reviewer and more an industry commentator writing information about the watch industry to the watch industry. I do some of that sure, but we mostly have consumers who read aBlogtoWatch so our coverage and tactics will always be first and foremost designed to be useful for them.

          • Sheez Gagoo
          • Sheez Gagoo

            Addendum: You’re not controversial, the industry makes you believe you are. And what do they know? They make ugly, overpriced watches nobody buys anymore, so who cares what this losers say? They should listen to you, you shouldn’t listen to them. They can learn from you, you could have learned from them in 1980. But now it’s 2017 the industries business model simply doesn’t work anymore. You are a person to SHOW THEM how to reach customers. The industry failed miserably. The situation in the industry is much worser than you think, due to the incompetence of the industry. When you listen to much what the industry says, you’ll become part of the problem and not of the solution. PLEASE DON’T SELL YOURSELF, sooner or later you’ll pay with your reputation. And your reputation is priceless. You proved in a way, that you don’t care what others say by covering smartwatches. What do most parts of the Swiss watch industry say about smartwatches? What do most of the coments here think about smartwatches? But you know you’re right. Reality proofes you’re right. Don’t underestimate yor power.

          • Ariel Adams

            Thanks for those words. I don’t feel like I am at risk of selling myself, but I don’t mind reassuring people that it isn’t something to worry about. If anything because my job would be really boring if I needed to say something someone else wanted me to say rather than what I personally felt.

            While I don’t spend as much time lashing out against particular watches as much as I used to, we lash out constantly and bad practices and allow the audience to identify these practices easily. I regularly complaint about watches that not legible, not comfortable, are poor-value propositions, have no personality, lack design harmony or elegance, don’t seem to have a clear demographic, or are an answer to a question I’ve never heard anyone ask. While people can be free to disagree with me I would rather help point out these items for people to notice and stay away from, as opposed to pointing out single examples of watches that violate my rules and be under-inclusive in coverage which could be rather unfair.

            In our recent audience survey I was very happy to see that about 66% of the aBlogtoWatch audience said that information they read on aBlogtoWatch prevented them from purchasing a product that they might have otherwise bought. I would see that as a strong sign that something is working. Could we go further? Always, but we must also value the sanity of our staff when asking them to review watches they don’t like as well as the relationships with the conservative, skiddish industry that could arbitrarily decide to make our lives more difficult for no go reason.

          • Joel Schumann

            I sympathize with your position, and I agree … sort of. I’m more used to art, literary and film reviews. Initially, I was perplexed that words and images here were even framed as reviews. But we have to recognize that unlike the New York Times reviewer Ariel is not paid by us, the readers. Ultimately, Ariel and staff are paid by the industry, we expect him to criticize. I find other watch blogs have a more critical approach – they are also using a different business model, relying more on sales of merchandise, and evidently doesn’t have the same access to get watches for review. ABTW is one of the major blogs on watches, but I’m pretty sure the industry doesn’t consider it too big to fail.

            When I mentally switched my brain from considering the content here as reviews to an enthusiastic sharing of watch related news and stuff my stress level dropped tremendously – though, it still peaks once in a while :-). I do appreciate when we are offered a context, though – a literary review will invariably contextualize the book in question to other books of the author/genre/style etc. And it should be possible to discuss pro and cons of solutions. Anything concerning Hublot I just skip except for reading the comments!

          • Ariel Adams

            Thanks for the comment. We did a survey a while ago asking people how they want aBlogtoWatch to be supported, and over 80% of respondents as I recall said that they wanted aBlogtoWatch to continue being advertising supported. Part of that means attracting and maintaining advertisers – which until you’ve actually done it might not seem like a big deal. We also have been doing this for a long time and tend to veer toward watches we like. It’s not meant to be bias, but simple preference for where we wish to apply our energy. No one is paying to read reviews anymore than anyone is paying us to write reviews. We review what we like, and when I like something I try to explain it and frame it with as much detail as possible. Sometimes I feel people just want me to be angry or tear apart bad watches – or at least the watches they don’t personally like. I like Hublot myself, though I can appreciate why others might not. Part of the danger of having such a broad spectrum of content is that yeah, we are going to talk about stuff some people like and others hate – and if there is anything I’ve learned about people who are passionate for anything is that they utterly despite it when someone really likes something they subjectively don’t.

          • Marius

            “I prefer to help educate people on how to appreciate something, and then allow them to form their own opinions.”

            How exactly are you “educating” people? Most ABTW articles are nothing more than copy/pasting press releases in a very positive and upbeat manner. Interesting articles such as the ones presenting the history of Breguet, or how the Seiko Spring Drive works are extremely few (a few per year). What’s more, there are quite a few articles where the members of the comments sections were the ones who actually explained various interesting aspects and showed more knowledge than the watch writers.

            “How many other people do you know who write openly about the mistakes the industry is making?”

            Your articles about the industry are extremely vague, and you never give real-life examples. You talk about the issues in a very general and broad manner, so as not to say even the slightest negative thing about any brand in particular. If you boast about “writing openly” then please publish an article where you back each of your arguments with at least one concrete, real-life example.

          • SuperStrapper

            The irony is palpable.

          • Ariel Adams

            You are painting the wrong picture to people reading and it’s totally wrong. We’ve never copied any pasted any press release documents and to suggest we have is frankly insulting. Especially when that precise practice has actually happened in other media. We’ve been extremely transparent in our policies, challenges. practices, and perspectives on what we do. If there are things we don’t write about it is either because we don’t currently know it, or because we prefer to emphasize policies and ideas versus specific situations that might be taken out of context or misunderstood. I’m very happy that you seek more information and more insight, but sometimes it just isn’t available, more useful than it is damaging when weighed, or simply practical to include in our coverage given the size of our team and the rate at which we publish content. Your feedback is important, but you cast a false light on the situation as it is, and it doesn’t do the community nor us any service.

        • Sevenmack

          The issue is that subjective opinions are meaningless if you can’t base them on any facts. The other issue is that as collectors, we must realize that our preferences are subjective and not always meaningful beyond our own minds. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean it always needs to be shared. A good editor understands that and acts accordingly. So I give Ariel credit for allowing commenters on this site to offer their own opinions instead of always foisting his own.

  • IanE

    Impressive new take on this model. However, when I see perpetuals, esp. when combined with other high complications, something in me shudders at the thought of likely servicing times, problems and prices!

    • cluedog12

      Sending this watch in for service is not for the faint of heart.

  • SuperStrapper

    the watch is nice, but maybe a bit too… dandy? For me. I think it’s mainly the case and lug structures. A bit much. I actually didn’t mind the older squared DaVinci models, I thought they were well presented and unique without being overly polarising.

    Anyway, I think if this movement were resented in a Pilot style I’d like it more. Again, this is nice, I just think it could do better. Also wondering why all the sundials Ave a gold frame, and the year windows doesn’t, even though it looks like it were cut for one. Strange clash, that.

  • Rob D

    Really love the starscape effect of the dial at 12, although not quite as much a fan of the dead flat disc for the moon phase itself. I wish more companies used a finish like that (or other subtle space themed designs) for their astronomical complications.

    • cluedog12

      It detracts from the legibility of the elapsed minutes and hours, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t add a bit of panache to the dial.

      • Rob D

        Agreed, although given how rarely I ever need to read anything like that at a speedy glance, I’d definitely take the style over a half second quicker reading experience

  • BNABOD

    these watches never appeal to me. just not my style whatsoever and the lugs are a huge no for me. the bull horns effect is not something I like to stare at. and all the gold certainly does not help.

  • ??????

    43 x 16 mm… LOL

  • Sevenmack

    Love this watch. Wish it was white gold instead of yellow.

  • frauss

    Il monsteroso from all angles.

  • Love the da Vinci QP of the 90’s. They take a bit of getting used to aesthetically, and largely because they are so out of sync with today’s designs they offer huge bang for buck at auction. It may well prove a smart move to create this version, it is certainly easier on the eye. Love the dial.

  • Marius

    I find this to be one of the most interesting perpetual calendar chronographs on the market. The case has a very original design that sets it apart from the rest, and the dial — whilst having a traditional layout — manages to be very elegant, but still full of character. What’s more, the Pellaton winding system is a very useful feature considering how time-consuming setting a perpetual calendar can be.

    Nevertheless, what I don’t like is that the overall design of this watch is not very cohesive. The elegant and Renaissance-inspired case and dial clash with the very industrial-looking movement. For such a watch, I would have opted for a highly-finished, jewel-like caliber. This movement doesn’t really impress me, especially taking into account the $40,000 price.

    • Rupert Muller

      Just a tiny correction: The 89XXX calibers from IWC are not equipped with the Pellaton winding system. The winding system works with four pawls, two on each side of the wheel (visible in image 4). However, the winding efficiency of this system is excellent, too.

  • Eric Gordon

    I find this piece to be an improvement over the prior Da Vinci. How is the leap year displayed? Can’t be a perpetual calendar without that. Is it internal to the mechanism knowing the year? If so, what about the 100-year non-leap years?

    • SuperStrapper

      I’m not sure if I prefer the tiny aperture that either shows a coloured dot or does not, a la patek, or the VC-style centrally mounted hand that hardly reaches anywhere that points to one of 4 quadrants counting down to a leap years, but either would be welcome here.

    • The leap year doesn’t have to be displayed on a QP – in this case it is implied by the digital year indicator.

  • Larry Holmack

    It is very nice looking….but…I’d rather have the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55!!!

  • Omegaboy

    I like the lugs on this thing. They’re chunky and distinctive.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I like it. Agree with the comment about the silvering on the dial. Also loved the comparison to the Florentine Cathedral.

    I usually read all the comments, unless there’s stupid-loads of them. But I’ve just stopped reading, and taking any interest in comments about editorial decisions. That’s a drum that’s has been banged to death.

  • mtnsicl

    That is lovely in every way!

  • thecouchguy

    10/10 absolutely stunning!

  • JF Schnell

    Great timepiece. Would prefer it on its steel form. nevertheless it’s just a beauty. Pity there is no place in my area where I can at least have a look. Wonderful, really wonderful watch.

    • SuperStrapper

      It looks way better in steel, has a striking grey dial.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Well, this is an interesting watch but to feminim, to baroque for me. This looks like something Marie Antoinette would wear. Not my cup of tea, but I’ve seen worser stuff than this. Would look ridiculous on my wrist.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    a really nice watch, but i could never wear lugs like that. ouch!

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