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IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In recent years, IWC has followed the tradition of choosing one of their collections for a complete refresh which they announce at SIHH. Last year, we saw a diverse new set of Pilot’s watches added to the IWC catalog, but 2017 is all about the complete overhaul of their Da Vinci collection. We brought you news of the IWC Da Vinci Automatic watch not long ago and, when compared to something like the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, with its revamped circular case, it really shows you the range of changes coming into the lineup. With the basic automatic model, though, IWC is attempting to capture the spirit of the earlier 1980s Da Vinci timepieces while presenting a watch that is designed for and marketed to both men and women. Simplicity is also key when you set that kind of universal goal, and the new IWC Da Vinci Automatic models offer enough diversity in the way of strap and dial combinations to appeal to a range of watch lovers.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The IWC Da Vinci Automatic is sized at 40mm, which by modern standards can often be considered a unisex size. It’s slim at 10mm thick and the proportions are ideal for a watch that’s meant for both men and women (note that this year also saw the release of the 36mm-wide IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36 that is specifically for women). I, for one, don’t have much of an issue with a 40mm case and find these measurements to exist somewhere within the sweet spot in terms of comfort and versatility. It’s good to see IWC push women’s watches that aren’t exactly dainty or explicitly feminine as well. They made a similar move last year with the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 which, funny enough, was the same size as the original Mark XI. But hey, either way, I’m not one to complain about more women wearing IWCs and the brand has certainly grown in their consideration of the female demographic and how they market to them.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I did want to include the image of the advertisement for a previous Da Vinci line here just because it’s interesting and hilarious to see just how dated it looks. It’s like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. Anyway, just wanted to share that little bit of irony since IWC is marketing more to women than ever this year. Back to the watch…

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The dial is simple, which can mean elegant for some or boring for others. With a time-only layout and unobtrusive date placement at 6 o’clock sitting within a well-contrasted seconds track. Both the silver-plated and slate dial finishes serve as nice backdrops for the polished Arabic numerals and the lancet-shaped hands, which are both color-matched for their respective dials. One thing you’ll notice is that the twin frame bezel is actually quite pronounced, and its combination with the convex sapphire crystal results in a compact, vintage-inspired look.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A noticeable feature is the set of horn lugs which are hinged and meant to adjust to the wrist’s contours for a closer fit. It’s a great addition for smaller wrists and a design touch that recalls some of the earlier watches in the Da Vinci collection like the Da Vinci SL Automatic Ref. 3528.


IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

We’ve seen IWC do some amazing work with Santoni and naturally, the silver dial Ref. IW356601 comes with a Santoni alligator leather strap fitted with a stainless steel pin buckle. It’s a logical pairing, though you can’t help but love the slightly more aggressive styling of the Ref. IW356602 with its polished stainless steel bracelet meant to match the slate dial. Either of the configurations provides a pleasant wearing experience, and it will be interesting to see how much after-sales support IWC will provide in the way of compatible strap options.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The movement powering the IWC Da Vinci Automatic is the caliber 35111. This is an IWC modified Selita SW300-1 that operates at 28,800A/h (4Hz) and features 42 hours of power reserve. It’s a robust choice for a movement that’s truly serviceable with a reliable track record. Solid, inoffensive, and reliable, the movement is basically like the watch itself.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

No, it’s not the biggest release of SIHH. It’s not a million-dollar split-second chronograph or a profound, highly complicated look into the cosmos either. The IWC Da Vinci Automatic watch is a timepiece that stays true to tradition and offers a no-frills look into the brand’s past along with their hopes for the future. What IWC brings to the table here is an appealing choice for both men and women, and it’ll be interesting to see if its versatility can dictate a truly universal experience for anyone that finds it intriguing enough to pick up. The IWC Da Vinci Automatic can be had for a price of $5,400 on leather with a silver-plated dial or $6,400 on a bracelet with slate colored dial.

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  • Word Merchant

    Total date window fail. IWC – ‘because we couldn’t be arsed”.

  • ProJ

    So they couldn’t have made the date-wheel 2 mm wider? Seriously, is it THAT difficult from the watchmaking point of view?

    • Sheez Gagoo


      • ProJ

        Thanks for replying. I never understood why. Isn’t it just a date-wheel with a slightly longer radius? Would be great if someone can enlighten me.

    • Word Merchant

      For you and me, yes. For IWC and their R&D budget, surely not. This is just laziness and greediness.

  • nunomaiaGMR

    The date window is fine for a 6 o-clock position. This is an interesting offer, a more dapper/sartorial/dandy approach to a men’s dress watch. I’m sure it will please many tastes. Between this and a Portofino automatic I would prefer the more conventional Portofino but it is good that IWC is expanding their dressier offers. The arabic numerals are lovely in this one.

    • Spangles

      Disagree on the date window placement.

      You see, the numerals make a circle around the dial. The number 6 is missing. That is where the date window should go to give a more harmonious look by completing that circle.

      • nunomaiaGMR

        I understand that the date window is not in the circle, only IMO when it’s at 6 o-clock position the out-placement doesn’t bother me as much as if it was at 3 o-clock position. Actually for me it looks perfect as it is. With the date at 6 o-clock one can even get away with complete out of position, mixing arabic with roman etc. because it doesn’t mess so much with the simmetry of the dial. Just check Blancpain:

  • IanE

    IWC always used to be over-priced and over-sized. Now they are just over-priced.

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    It’s funny they set the date to 6 – even more highlighting where it should actually be on the dial.

    At least I have to give them credit for the colour matching – something they fail to do on most pilot watches.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    1. Why chosing the most boring period of Swiss Watchmaking as an inspiration for a new watch?
    2. A Sellita is not worth $5000 or more. Not in an Hublot, a TAG or an IWC.
    3. In my humble opinion way to feminin.

  • Professor Yaffle

    What a terrible “review”, 40mm is not a unisex size at all and is too big for some men. The only woman this would fit is an overweight one with fat wrists! And the price of the thing?! If it was half the price fair enough, but this is a sellita movement in a steel case for the same price as an entry level Rolex, do you not think that’s worth mentioning? Pathetic!

  • Joel Schumann

    “I did want to include the image of the advertisement for a previous Da
    Vinci line here just because it’s interesting and hilarious to see just how dated it looks. It’s like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving.” It is more interesting and hilarious that the new model is not much better. It looks dated already.

  • IG

    What an ugly dial. Can you get a longer minute hand that reaches the scale for an extra G?

  • Alex Tan

    Just curious….is the date wheel on SW300 & SW220 that much different? If Oris can custom a date wheel and align it perfectly with the dial numbers on their Propilot Date with a SW220, I don’t see why a famous watchmaker like IWC not able to do it. The answer is IWC simply don’t give a hoot.

  • Giacomo T.

    Comparing this to another SIHH release out of the Richemont Group, namely the JLC Master Control 3-hander, it fails me why anyone would choose this example of date-mispositioning and overpricing over the aformentioned timepiece. Picture credit: Hodinkee

    • People have different tastes etc etc, but yeah, the JLC Master range won SIHH this year. I was wondering when someone below the Ferrier-level of price/quality was going to bring the sector-dial-hotness…

  • Anytime a product is described as “unisex,” my mind reads it as “It was designed for females, but, sure, I guess men could wear it too.”

  • Jerry Davis

    The look is as classic as it gets but I’ll take my IWC in a 44mm please.

  • SuperStrapper

    I won’t beat the dead horse of poor date placement, but boy does that date placement suck.

    I’d have a hard time putting $1000 down for this.

  • Raymond Wilkie
    • SuperStrapper

      Can’t please all of the people all of the time, Ray. Try and get over it.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        You know how sensitive i can be snapper.

  • DanW94

    Good looking watch, I like the slate colored model with the sunburst dial. I think there’s a lot to like about it until you get to the price. Man, it’s a buzzkill.

  • Bruce

    Great looking watch, but with IWC, I’m getting pretty tired of their modified Sellita movements… especially at that price!

  • Shawn Lavigne

    please stop the pop-up. its official i don’t want to be emailed. as for the watch – those lugs or whatever that appendage is called are pure horror. an abomination.

  • The hands are too short, the date window looks like an afterthought, and the lugs are terrible.

  • IVA the LT

    This watch pretty much sums up the current Swiss watch industry: out of touch and greedy as ever.

    They want $5,400 for a 3-hander with a date, based off a Sellita movement? Nothing against Sellita, I have 3 watches I love that are Sellita powered, but those don’t add up anywhere near $5,400. Plus using that movement is why the date window looks so awful; 40mm is a great size, but 38mm would have put that date in a more balanced spot. Not to mention that the hour hand is waaaaayyyy too short.

    The JLC Master Control Date is only $300 more, is far better looking in my opinion, and comes with a movement with some actual prestige.

  • Yanko

    Over 6K for a boring watch with a Sellita movement and stupid dial. Buy Seiko.

  • Ross Diljohn

    I find this… know what? I have no words for this. Where exactly is the value in this watch except to the IWC profit margin?

  • Ulysses31

    Lousy lug implementation.