We love mechanical, fine engineering, and complicated watches, and it would happen that the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Watch (Ref. 3750) has it all. The watch doesn't just stop there; adding to the list of must-haves that this watch has, is a rich history, and while so many Watch lovers can narrate the history of Seiko or Omega watches off the top of their heads, not a lot are familiar with the IWC Da Vinci Folklore.
IWC Calibre 7906 and Kurt Klaus’ original perpetual calendar ref. 3750
A Fascinating tale of watchmaking at its finest, and one that started with Kurt Klaus writing the early chapters of this history book as far back as 1957 when he joined the Schaffhausen watchmaker school. Upon graduation, he began work at IWC, with his excellence catching the eye of Albert Pellaton, the company's technical director. Klaus, under Pellaton's tutelage, learned the art of assembling movements. As Pellaton retired, his legacy of mechanical advancements, including the iconic Pellaton winding system, lived on. His greatest contribution was mentoring Klaus, propelling IWC into a new era of complex watchmaking.
The Black dial of the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Watch
3750-029 comes with applied steel bâton indexes and
luminous dots, giving it style points.
Made with stainless steel and engraved with relevant markings,
the caseback is a testament to the watch's exceptional
craftsmanship and heritage.
Klaus came up with the idea of the IWC pocket watch caliber 9721 right in the middle of the Quartz Crisis, equipping it with a triple calendar and moon phase module. In a bid to preserve traditional watchmaking, IWC's owner, Hans Ernst Homberger, defied all odds by releasing a limited run of 100 pocket watches (ref. 5500) into an uncertain market. One thing he was certain about was the quality of Klaus's creations, and he was proven right as the pocket watches all sold out. He went on to continue the production of special-edition pocket watches, including those showcasing zodiac phases and a built-in thermometer. However, in the early 1980s, it was time to move on to a new chapter in his horological journey - Wristwatches.
The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Watch 3750-029 features
a user-friendly crown allowing easy adjustments of time and
calendar functions. The discreet buttons helps the chronograph
The Watch boasts of a single 19mm lug, a unique feature that
sets it apart. This distinctive lug design includes a special
adaptor, allowing for effortless strap changing, and versatility.
At this point, it was crystal clear to Klaus that the next step in his journey was making a watch with a perpetual calendar. Unlike other complex calendars requiring multiple buttons, Klaus aimed for ultimate user-friendliness with all adjustments effortlessly controlled through the crown. With this, he sought to make the most user-friendly perpetual calendar in the world, one with a design that could easily be recreated.
This also meant equipping the watch with never seen before functions as at the time, a giant step in proving that mechanical horology still had a place in the ever-modernizing world of watchmaking.
His ambition was his greatest strength, leading him to design a crown-set module for the Valjoux 7750 movement to incorporate a perpetual calendar. He employed a system of levers, wheels, and cams with remarkable ingenuity, utilizing only 81 components to revolutionize the perpetual calendar's operation. The module not only advanced the date but also managed day, month, year, decade, century, millennium, and the 122-year moonphase indicators. This groundbreaking mechanism, which was programmed to be accurate until 2100 without any need for user intervention, marked the beginning of the era of having the display of a four-digit year on watch dials. Klaus's creation was a true horological marvel that redefined perpetual calendars as we knew them.
The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar is stylishly partnered with a 19mm Dark Brown Croco Grain Semi-Curved Watch Band in Beige Stitch, making it versatile enough to be worn on any occasion.
IWC decided to christen their groundbreaking timepiece as the Da Vinci, building upon the pioneering spirit of the earlier Da Vinci Beta 21 model from 1969. Drawing inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci's extraordinary legacy, IWC's visionary designer, Hanno Burtscher, sought guidance from the captivating drawings found within the Codex Atlanticus. These drawings inspired the modifications he made in the watch, such as a change in the shape of the case, crown, and pushers while using the "sectors" within the fortifications to guide the layout of the sub-dials.
The Watch is seen here paired with the 19mm Black Crocodile Grain Semi-Curved Watch Band in Red Stitch. The Red stitch and the watch's elegance combine to make a classy statement.
The mid-1980s saw IWC strike a beautiful balance between tradition and modernity by introducing the 39mm double-tiered case with a distinctive domed crystal to match. Notably, the timepiece featured swiveling lugs, a stroke of brilliance by designer Hanno Burtscher, ensuring it fits comfortably into any wrist size.
The Black CrocoCalf watch band with matching stitches gives the "Da Vinci" watch a commanding look.
In 1984, Burtscher's vision took shape, and by 1985, Kurt Klaus had completed work on the prototypes of his innovative caliber 79060. The highly anticipated unveiling of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar ref. 3750 at the Basel watch fair on April 11th of that year was a massive success. Experts marveled at Klaus's remarkable reimagination of the perpetual calendar complication. Defying the odds yet again, the fair garnered over 100 orders for the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar, and by November 1985, IWC had made 500 examples, and the watch became a tremendous success.
The watch's aesthetic captivates me as much as its complexity. Despite its intricate dial layout, it remains remarkably legible. The clever date indicator at 3 o'clock features alternating numbers, ensuring readability without compromising space. The blend of blue and gold hands elegantly separates the chronograph and calendar indications, making it both simple and brilliant.
The charmingly old-school and elegant case, measuring 39mm wide, 46mm long, and just under 15mm thick, fits perfectly on most wrists. The articulating lugs add a touch of practicality and style, a feature I wish more watches had. The iconic design, which dates back to 2003, still holds legendary status, even if it may seem nostalgic now.
The Watch is seen here with the quick release 19mm Tapered Polished Milanese Mesh Watch Band which is an exquisite blend of a stylish vintage look and fine craftsmanship.
The Perpetual calendar watch is very complicated, and it is recommended to wear it in a routine or before the power reserved time is over to maintain it in a healthy running mode. For watch fans like me and you, who have many beloved watches in the drawer, we can place them on a watch winder after each wearing to keep it winding.
The watch winder simulates the natural motion of wearing the timepiece, gently rotating it to keep the mainspring thoroughly wound. This practice extends the watch's life and keeps it perpetually ready to adorn our wrists with its timeless elegance.
With the combination of regular wear and the loving attention of a watch winder, you can enjoy the precision and beauty of your perpetual calendar watch for generations to come.
The IWC Perpetual Calendar Watch is a captivating choice, combining technical innovation with timeless aesthetics beautifully. Its aristocratic charm, overbuilt movement, and quiet self-sufficient style make it a true gentleman's wristwatch. This timepiece remains a steadfast classic for those who appreciate both form and function.
Written by Victor, images by Toni and others as noted
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