Leonardo Da Vinci himself said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And this soundbite could have been the mantra of master watchmaker Kurt Klaus when he developed the original Da Vinci ref. 3750 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph back in 1985.

A watch created because of, rather than in spite of, the quartz crisis, it was the lack of demand for mechanical movements that afforded Klaus the time to develop such a complex calibre.

According to IWC: “It was a watch that rose, phoenix-like, out of the ashes of the old watch industry and heralded the renaissance of complicated mechanical watches. Probably no other single watch has come so close to embodying the IWC brand and its values.”

Revising the Da Vinci line for the first time since 2007, it would be unthinkable for IWC to omit this gem of a watch in the new line-up.

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And, while there will be plenty of surprises in the New Year (more of those in our post-SIHH round-up), the two gorgeous new Perpetual Calendar Chronograph models — in steel or red gold — pave the way, combining two complications that could potentially cause massive dial confusion and delivering them in a practical, ultra-legible fashion. For pre-SIHH at least, we’re only getting to cast our eyes upon the red gold version.

The biggest problem facing the contemporary watchmakers involved in the redesign was increased clarity. With IWC’s usual perpetual calendar movement, Calibre 52610, the moonphase is at 12 o’clock; placing the chronograph’s hour and minute counters here would mean the hands cut through the moonphase disc.

The maison’s 89360 chronograph calibre, however, left no room for a moonphase. As a result, the Calibre 89630 has been completely reworked to allow the chronograph’s hour and minute counters to be combined with a stylish moonphase in a sub-dial at 12 o’clock — the first watch in the company’s catalogue to do this.

The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is housed in a 43mm round case — a form that all the new models take as opposed to the tonneau-shaped Da Vincis of recent years. There is a double-curved bezel and rounded pushers and crown — a move away from the mushroom-shaped ones of the 1985 model.

The dial of the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is certainly well-balanced, thanks in large part to the deep blue colour of the moonphase and totaliser at 12. Both silvered and slate-grey dials look clear and uncluttered with a central blue flyback chronograph hand operated by two push buttons.

The perpetual calendar gives date, month and day of the week on sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively, while a window at 8 o’clock shows the four-digit year display. The large articulated lugs ensure a good fit even on even smaller wrists. Folding clasps and beautiful Santoni leather straps finish the stylish look.

And what does Kurt Klaus think about the reinterpretation of his masterpiece? According to Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen: “He loves it!”

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Technical Specifications

Movement: Automatic IWC-manufactured Calibre 89630 with red-gold rotor; 68-hour power reserve; small hacking seconds; flyback chronograph with totaliser; perpetual calendar with displays for date, day, month, four-digit year and moonphase

Case: 43mm red-gold case with silvered dial or 43mm stainless-steel case with slate-coloured dial; water-resistant to 30m

Strap: Santoni alligator-leather strap

Two other pieces form part of this announcement with which IWC are purposing to make a significant drive towards a large female audience. These are 36mm timepieces paired with a single complication — a date and a moonphase indication in this instance — that should appeal as everyday companions. Technical specifications are as follows:

Da Vinci Automatic Moonphase 36

Movement: Automatic IWC-manufactured Calibre 35800; 42-hour power reserve; central hacking seconds; moonphase

Case: 36mm red-gold case with sliver-plated dial or 36mm stainless-steel case with sliver-plated dial; stainless-steel comes in a version with 54 diamonds set on the case; water-resistant to 30m

Strap: Santoni alligator-leather strap

Da Vinci Automatic 36

Movement: Automatic IWC-manufactured Calibre 35111; 42-hour power reserve; central hacking seconds; date display

Case: 36mm red-gold case with sliver-plated dial or 36mm stainless-steel case with sliver-plated dial; both case-types come in versions with 54 diamonds set on the case; water-resistant to 30m

Strap/Bracelet: Choice of Santoni alligator-leather strap or matching metal bracelet

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