To usher in its 150th anniversary, IWC Schaffhausen presented the limited edition 150 Years Jubilee Collection. Each of the 27 pieces is based on existing models from the Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watch and Da Vinci families. The brand also launched wristwatches to mark the occasion, featuring the original digital hours and minute display as it appeared on the Pallweber pocket watches of 1884.
Despite their diverse appearances, the collection is united through a common design language – more specifically, the lacquering. “In a long and complex process, these dials are coated with up to 12 layers of high-quality lacquer, flat-polished, brushed and then imprinted several times,” explains creative director Christian Knoop.
White and blue elements are present on each face – so where there are white dials, there are blue hands and vice versa. This element, as well as the idea for the imprinted dials, comes from the first Portugieser model (reference IW325) from 1939. Additionally, each watch comes fitted with a black alligator leather strap and bears the Jubilee insignia “150 Years” as either a medallion or an engraving.
With so many incredible watches, it’s hard to know where to focus. But a good place to start is with the most talked-about items: those that pay tribute to IWC’s legendary Pallweber pocket watch. The original timepiece, first produced in 1885, was an immediate – though short-lived – success. It marked a milestone in IWC Schaffhausen’s history, as it introduced a digital display instead of hands. Sadly, by 1890, production on the piece ceased, meaning that today, it’s one of the most coveted early IWC pocket watches. To honour the Pallweber legacy, the maison has reimagined the classic design in three wristwatches and a pocket watch.
The IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years (reference IW505101) pocket watch is housed in a handsome 18K red gold case, elaborately decorated with guilloche work and worn on a coordinating 18K red gold chain. Like its predecessor, it features jumping hours and minutes, and a small running seconds display at six o’clock. The windows are labelled “Hours” and “Minutes” as a tribute to FA Jones, the American watchmaker who founded IWC. Using the calibre 94200, the mechanical watch offers an impressive 60-hour power reserve. Just 50 pieces have been produced.
The brand also unveiled three limited edition IWC Tribute to Pallweber wristwatches, marking the first time the iconic digital hours and minutes display has appeared on an IWC wristwatch. For these new models, the designers developed a new solution for the digital display. Unlike the historic pocket watches, which used toothed cogs to move the discs, the impulse that advances the single-minute disc is now supplied by a separate wheel train with a barrel of its own. The fact that the flow of power in the main wheel train is uninfluenced by the separate wheel train in the display discs guarantees a precise rate and a 60-hour power reserve. The wristwatches maintain the Maltese cross drive of the original, which can be easily moved forward or backward using the crown. There are 25 watches in platinum, 250 in red gold and 500 in stainless steel.
Another standout piece is the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years. One of five limited edition Portugieser wristwatches unveiled in Geneva, this particular model is the most technologically sophisticated of the entire collection. It features both a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon on the dial, marking a first for IWC. The handsome creation indicates the day, date, month, year and moonphase, with a seven-day power reserve and tourbillon, and runs on the new calibre 51950. Only 50 timepieces have been made. A final watch to highlight from the impressive collection is the stunning IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition 150 Years, perhaps the most elegantly appointed piece in the anniversary line.
The Da Vinci collection was just relaunched a year ago, reintroduced with its iconic 1980s-style circular case, heralding a return to the classic proportions the brand is known for. This year, it has welcomed two new members with the anniversary collection, including the dazzling reference 4593, which takes up the tradition of elaborately decorated jewellery watches. Its case and moving lugs are paved with 206 pure white diamonds totalling 2.26 carats. Two limited edition models are available, restricted to 50 watches each.