Back in the 1860s, an American by the name of Florentine Jones recognized the potentially profitable combination of the watchmaking expertise of the Swiss and the relative low wages paid out in Switzerland. He set up a company called the International Watch Company, or IWC. Funding woes, however, forced Jones to give up control of the company. Through the years, the company has seen its ownership structure changed constantly. Despite the uncertainty however, IWC was able to establish itself as an elite participant when it comes to the creation of luxury watches.
It was not only in ownership problems that IWC had to contend with, but also in sales and profitability. The company remained true, however, to its principle of producing the highest quality watches with the most intricate technical design. This eventually allowed the company to secure its spot in the timepiece industry.
The company released its first digital watch in 1885. It has also been credited with a number of breakthroughs in the industry. It was able to create the first oversize anti-magnetic pilot’s watch in World War II. It was also able to create the first diver’s watch that can withstand pressure of up to 2,000 meters. It introduced a chronograph watch that has a perpetual calendar mechanically programmed to tell the date for the next 500 years. It also has a 5,000-caliber watch with automatic movement that has a power reserve of up to seven days.
Here now is a list of the top 10 most expensive IWC watches.
10. IWC F.A. Jones Skeleton – $58,000
Only 50 pieces of this platinum watch were made. It has a beryllium alloy balance with precision-adjustment cams on the balance arms. This watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters.
9. IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound – $61,100
This is a limited edition watch of 500 pieces. The case is made of 18-carat red gold and measures 43.1 millimeters in diameter. Power reserve lasts up to 54 hours. It has a deployant clasp type and is water-resistant up to 30 meters.
8. IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Chrono Platinum – $70,000
Only 500 pieces of this were made. It is self-winding and features a perpetual calendar, four-digit year display and perpetual moon phase display. Power reserve lasts up to 68 hours. The case is made of platinum and has either a brown crocodile leather or stainless steel with black crocodile strap.
7. IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere – $95,000
This watch is made of polished 18-carat rose gold with black crocodile strap. It has a white dial with rose gold Arabic numerals. There’s a small seconds hand at 9 o’ clock. Power reserve lasts for seven days and indicated at the 4 and 5 o’ clock position. Tourbillon is at 12 o’ clock.
6. IWC Portuguese Minute Repeater – $116,000
Only 100 pieces of this platinum watch were made. This watch features mechanical movement and a stop function. It has a silver dial and black crocodile band.
5. IWC Portuguese Mystery Tourbillon Retrograde – $136,000
This is an extra large watch measuring 44.2 millimeters in diameter and 15.5 millimeters in thickness. It has a platinum case and black alligator strap. It also has a gray dial color and deployant clasp type. The self-winding automatic watch has a power reserve of up to 168 hours and is water-resistant up to a distance of 30 meters. Only 250 pieces were made.
4. IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Squellette – $185,000
The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Squellette is a limited edition watch of only 50 pieces. It is a numbered series fitted with sapphire crystals on both the front and the back. It has manual movement and features a display that shows the hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds. It has a diameter of 44.2 millimeters and contains a platinum dial. The power reserve indicator is at 4 o’ clock.
3. IWC Grande Complication Perpetual – $240,000
The IWC Grande Complication Perpetual has a limited production of only 20 pieces every year. It has 71 jewels to go along with its 659 parts. The watch has 21 functions and displays and features 12 patents. The perpetual calendar is good for 500 years and the perpetual moonphase is made of polished gold rhinestone. The time is chimed out in crystal clear tones.
2. IWC Grande Complication Platinum – $318,000
This watch features a perpetual calendar with a moon phase. It also has a minute repeater and chronograph with automatic movement. Only 50 pieces are produced each year. It boasts of 659 parts in a platinum case and bracelet. It also has a crown-activated rapid calendar advance.
1. IWC Siderale Scafusia – $750,000
This watch took 10 years to produce and featured the collaboration of noted timepiece makers like Ben Moore of the University of Zurich and Jean Francois Mojon, the man behind Harry Winston’s Opus X and MB&F’s Legacy Machine One. The Siderale Scafusia is one of the most complicated watches produced by IWC. It features a perpetual calendar and an astronomical display. It also has a huge, over sized constant force tourbillon that shows running seconds. This ensures that the watch gives out a regular and precise rate for at least 48 hours. The power reserve is good for 90 hours. The perpetual calendar has a leap year display and absolute day of the year. The astronomical display features a celestial chart that displays the horizon, ecliptic and celestial equator. There is an indicator for the day, night and twilight, as well as display for both sunrise and sunset. You can also choose your location so that the watch can display its coordinates.
While not a limited edition in the strictest sense of the term, its very nature makes it exclusive because each watch is specially built for a particular client in a specific location. This means that it is up to the client to decide which coordinates are chosen around which the watch will rotate. Clients also get to choose the metal and dial color combination.