IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

The IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” was unveiled a couple of years ago in support of numerous sports projects around the globe. As the watch-world looks forward to SIHH 2019, eager to see the latest novelties, Angus Davies looks back at this handsome timepiece from 2017 which has much to offer.

This detailed review of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” includes live images, specification details and pricing.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

Next week, the world’s watch press will travel to Geneva and attend the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH). This event provides a glamorous showcase for numerous luxury watch brands to unveil their ‘novelties’, industry speak for new watches. I never fail to locate some meritorious creations which deserve editorial comment.

However, while most eyes look ahead and focus on the up to the minute releases, there is a strong argument for looking at existing models which have slipped through the net. While taking a rearwards glance, I discovered a handsome timepiece from IWC which continues to effervesce with style.

The IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” is a personable and practical ownership proposition. Its blue dial and round case prove a seductive combination. This watch was created by IWC ‘as part of its commitment to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation’, a charitable organisation that provides financial support to numerous sports activities. ‘Some of the proceeds from the sales are used to help support the foundation’s sports projects’.

Historically, the ‘Da Vinci’ collection has always lacked the recognition of the brand’s Pilot’s watches and Portugieser collection. Perhaps one reason for this can be attributed to the model’s former styling. The case once resembled a truncated lozenge which tended to polarise opinion. Today, the Da Vinci collection comprises solely of round watches and, in my opinion, proves more palatable to a greater watch buying audience.

A few weeks ago, I spent an enjoyable afternoon at the IWC Boutique in London’s Mayfair. For those individuals seeking one of Schaffhausen’s masterpieces, you could do worse than spend an hour or two perusing the numerous models on display. The collection of models surpasses anything I have seen in a regular retail store and the sales staff possess product knowledge second to none.

The benefit of evaluating watches in-store is that two or more models can be simultaneously contrasted. This aspect proves relevant to would-be buyers as well as watch journalists eager for a story.

The dial

The blue dial has a coquettish quality, drawing the eye close to the sapphire crystal. The rich hue is exquisite and possesses an appearance like no other. The allure of the dial is heightened with a sunray motif emanating from the fulcrum of the dial. Each radiating line takes its turn to engage with light and bask in its gaze.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

Faceted, lancine hour and minute hands gracefully circumscribe the dialscape. Their silver tones match the Arabic numerals which indicate the hours. Both the hands and indexes evince a classical character. Indeed, with the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” there is a notable absence of modernity. Every element of the dial composition is traditional, save for the intoxicating blue dial tincture.

A few years ago, IWC unveiled its Portugieser Chronograph Classic Ref IW390302 to widespread acclaim. This model featured the 89361 calibre and, more pertinently, a subdial combining both hour and minute registers. The IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” employs the same movement and incorporates the same style of totaliser at noon.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

Initially, I assumed that by combining two registers on one subdial, the indications would prove difficult to read. However, this is not the case. In fact, quite the contrary. A lifetime spent reading clocks and watches with two hands, makes combining hour and minute hands on one subdial very logical.

A small seconds display is positioned above 6 o’clock and incorporates a date display using black text on a white date disc. Both subdials are snailed, arranged along a common north-south axis and share the same diameter. Everything is balanced and symmetrical. The seconds display, consistent with IWC’s traditional pilot’s watches, is capable of being hacked, allowing the wearer to synchronise the watch with a reference clock.

The central chronograph seconds hand kisses the rehaut allowing the wearer to read-off ¼ second integers.

Some dials merely display the time and others impart information with eloquence. The dial of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” falls into the latter category.

The case

The 42mm stainless steel case is highly polished. Rather than being integrated, the lugs are affixed to a protruding section from the case. As a result, the lugs appear visually lighter and seemingly delicate. However, close examination of the case reveals a welcome solidity to its construction.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

The case of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” is deep, measuring 14.5mm. Nevertheless, sartorially astute suitors need not despair, the watch will readily nuzzle beneath a stylish shirt cuff.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

This is not the first IWC watch created in conjunction with the “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”. The Schaffhausen based company has now produced 11 special edition models. Consistent with previous models, this version of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition has a blue dial and features an engraved caseback, depicting ‘the winning picture in the “Time Well Spent” drawing competition’. The inscribed motif exhibits a wonderful childhood innocence. However, despite this aesthetic playfulness this remains a serious watch with all the qualities this implies.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

When wearing this timepiece, one becomes immediately aware of its elevated levels of comfort. The diameter of the watch is not burdensome. Moreover, I did not find the crown or pushpieces impaired free movement of the wrist or hand. Another reason for the impressive levels of wearer comfort can be attributed to the black alligator leather strap by Santoni. This Italian luxury marque is synonymous with crafting high-end leather shoes using the finest materials. Beyond its aesthetic prowess, the leather is incredibly supple and imbues this IWC with an amazing capacity to caress the wearer’s skin.

The movement

The 89361 Calibre is an ‘IWC-manufactured’, automatic movement featuring a bi-directional winding system. The movement is endowed with a ‘flyback function’ allowing the wearer to stop, reset and start the chronograph with one squeeze of the pushpiece at 4 o’clock. This feature proves ideal when timing successive intervals and usually attracts a price premium.

Owing to the aforementioned solid caseback, it was not possible to appraise the finishing of the movement, however, images of other movements within the Calibre Family 89000 reveal circular Côtes de Genève motif and an openworked oscillating weight.

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz). It is a Glucydur ® type balance. IWC does not specify whether the balance is computer poised with a laser cut on the underside of the balance wheel rim, however, the Swiss watch firm does specify ‘high-precision adjustment screws on the balance rim’.

IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “76th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood” – Ref. IW381201

During my time in the London Boutique, I repeatedly pressed the pushpieces of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”. While the watch operated satisfactorily, the pushpiece feel felt inferior to another IWC chronograph, the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “76th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood”. This latter watch featuring the Calibre 69380 felt sweeter and less jerky. Again, the benefit of back to back testing cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, the behaviour of the Da Vinci’s pushpieces would not dissuade me from selecting the watch. Quite simply, this aspect is not a deal-breaker.

Similar to IWC pilot’s watches of the 1930s, the watch is equipped with a soft-iron cage for protection against magnetic fields.

Closing remarks

It is often said ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, however, the fact remains that everyone forms an initial opinion based on appearance. Thankfully the dial of the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” is gorgeous. Its fetching looks are clear to see.

Beyond its captivating dial, the Da Vinci Chronograph is endowed with a tastefully proportioned case, alluringly arched sapphire crystal and neat lugs. Everything is wonderfully refined.

Some chronographs can prove a tad bothersome when it comes to reading the elapsed time. The wearer is invariably required to aggregate the values shown on the hour and minute registers. However, this IWC Da Vinci Chronograph displays elapsed hours and minutes on one subdial. This latter approach proves more intuitive. In addition, the flyback function augments the versatility of this chronograph.

During SIHH, many eyes will fixate upon the shiny new releases. Existing watch collections will be temporarily set aside. However, as the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” demonstrates, there is much sense in momentarily looking back in order to find something new.

Further reading

https://www.iwc.com

Technical specifications

  • Model: IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”
  • Reference: IW393402
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42mm; height 14.5mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: 89361 Calibre; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 68 hours
  • Strap: Black alligator leather strap paired with a stainless steel folding clasp
  • Price: £11,250 (RRP as at 2.1.2019)