150 years of heritage, condensed into a single collection of 28 references
How does a watch brand condense a heritage spanning 150 years into a single commemorative collection? IWC, the largest pure watch manufacture within the Richemont Group, certainly had its work cut out when creating its Jubilee collection, which was unveiled at SIHH this year.
Walter Volpers, Associate Director of Product Development at the brand, offered some insights.
“We started the process by identifying the milestones within IWC’s history. Movement wise, for instance, there were all these in-house developments to draw on, from the perpetual calendar module developed by Kurt Klaus, to our constant force mechanism, and even the ‘simple’ calibre 82000 automatic movement family. At the same time, we were looking into the product lines that these movements could go into, and working on creating a single, unified look for the jubilee collection.”
The result, the Jubilee Collection, is a comprehensive celebration of what IWC has accomplished so far, which also manages to showcase what the brand intends for its future.
With 28 references spanning four product families – the Pilot, Portofino, Portugieser, and Da Vinci – the collection is set to please collectors and aficionados with its wide range of designs and technical complexities.
The Aquatimer and Ingenieur lines, however, are notably absent. Said Volpers, “This was a conscious decision that we made. We last launched a new Ingenieur timepiece in October 2017, and felt that it was too soon to introduce yet another new Ingenieur watch. The Aquatimer, on the other hand, is simply too sporty. The Jubilee collection needs to have a consistent look that’s classic and elegant, which the Aquatimer just cannot match.”
Indeed, even a glance through the Jubilee Collection will reveal its coherence.
Timepieces from the collection all sport polished cases and come with either black-on-white or white-on-blue colourways on their lacquered dials, all topped off with alligator straps.
Interestingly enough, some of these detailing are departures from established design codes.
The Pilot’s watch, for example, typically features a matte case finishing paired with a rugged calfskin strap.
In this iteration, however, it’s taken on a far more refined look – a rarity that will be prized for years to come.
The flagship of the collection is the Tribute To Pallweber Edition “150 Years” timepiece, which has separate digital displays for both the hours and minutes displays.
Inspired by a pocket watch IWC made in the late 19th century, this timepiece is a bridge to IWC’s past, with a modern twist – the movement is a newly developed one which, according to Volpers, has taken IWC nearly five years to create.
The Tribute To Pallweber doesn’t belong to any of the four “core” lines mentioned above, and both wristwatch and pocket watch versions of this ticker are available.
The Tribute To Pallweber aside, the four product families in the Jubilee Collection offer new and existing models with the aesthetic codes mentioned above.
The Portugieser collection has the most references, from the three-hand Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” to the ultra-complicated Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”, which comes complete with moon phase and retrograde date displays.
Meanwhile, the Da Vinci retains the design language established with its reboot in 2017, with its round case, stepped bezel, and articulating lugs. The simple time-only Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years” and the feminine Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years” set with diamonds are available.
The Portofino, on the other hand, has a time-only model in the Portofino Automatic Edition “150 Years”, a chronograph model in the Portofino Chronograph Edition “150 Years”, and a mid-complication in Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition “150 Years”, which has an eight-day power reserve.
Finally, the Pilot’s Watch is only stocked with complications in the Jubilee Collection:
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “150 Years”, Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years”, and Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “150 Years” each has its namesake complication, with the large date complication being a first for this collection.
All images courtesy of IWC.