The IWC Da Vinci, named after the celebrated artist and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci, was first released in the late 1960s. Intended to be an avant-garde timepiece from the outset, in 1969, IWC equipped a version of the watch with a quartz movement, something of a revelation at the time.
However, at the heart of its culture, IWC has always been synonymous with mechanical wristwatches and, therefore, in 1985, the company released a mechanical chronograph equipped with a perpetual calendar, intended to appeal to purists. This watch, the brainchild of the company’s highly respected watchmaker, Kurt Klaus, featured an unusual four-digit year indication.
The following year, in 1986, IWC once again embraced modernity, releasing a ceramic version of its perpetual calendar.
Perhaps the greatest landmark in the history of the IWC Da Vinci came in 2007. Firstly, all models adopted a tonneau shaped case. Secondly, the Schaffhausen-based watch brand released an unusual chronograph.
Most chronographs are equipped with two registers showing the elapsed hours and minutes separately, necessitating the wearer to aggregate both readouts to calculate the elapsed interval. The Da Vinci Chronograph, fitted with the in-house 89360 Calibre, combined the elapsed hours and minutes in one readout, positioned below noon, proving particularly simple to interpret.
In 2009, IWC released its technical tour de force, the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. The display presented the date and month via apertures spanning the east-west axis of the dial. A leap indication featured within an aperture at 6 o’clock, nestled within the small second’s display. Whilst below noon, the chronograph hour and minute registers were combined, similar to the aforementioned Da Vinci Chronograph.
Powering the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month was the 89800 Calibre. This movement has gone on to be used in the Pilot Spitfire, Ingenieur and Portugieser collection. However, it was the Da Vinci model where it first appeared, typical of the collection which has often showcased the brand’s most innovative ideas.