It is said that owning a vintage IWC is something everyone with a serious interest in vintage watches should aspire to. A strong statement perhaps, but a little time spent researching IWC and their ’50s & ’60s watches, will very likely lead one to the same conclusion. In essence, this is because, during the 1950s and 1960s, IWC determined they would manufacture some of the very best watches ever made, and put simply, this is what they did! The craftsmanship, technical excellence and sheer beauty of their exquisite movements and cases, manufactured during the ‘golden age’ of watch-making, has never been beaten – equalled occasionally, perhaps, but never beaten. An IWC is often referred to as a ‘watchmaker’s watch’. This is because watchmakers simply love them, both to work on and to own.
The watch we see here is special because it has a heavy 18ct, 35mm case, and the Cal. 85XX series movement is considered one of the very best automatic movements of all time!
The style of the dial is typically vintage IWC of this period. Clean, simple, understated and elegant. All the things we are accustomed to with this great brand. The colour too is particular to IWCs of this period, a silver grey or perhaps a moon dust colour, with applied yellow gilt batons and minute indices. The original yellow gilt ‘Index’ hands have also been restored. We think this combination of yellow gilt hands and dial indices, over the moon dust dial, contrasts beautifully with the 18ct yellow gold case.
The lens has been replaced with a new original.
This is the original dial which has been restored by our dial restorers which are considered to be the best in the UK.
The original Cal. 8531, 21 Jewel automatic movement fitted to this watch is part of a family of movements considered to be the best ever automatics produced by IWC, and therefore one of horology’s best of all time.** It originated as the Cal. 85 in 1950 and evolved through Cal. 852-3-4. The last digit, ie 1, denotes this movement has a date function.
Given that it was in production for over 40 years and enhanced in each iteration, this movement has proven itself as durable, accurate and easy to service. Above all else, its winding system, developed by IWC’s famous technical director, Albert Pellaton, has achieved great acclaim.
The movement has been fully overhauled by a Master Watchmaker. This means stripping the watch down to each of its component parts, careful inspection under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine IWC parts, then careful reassembly and adjustment before final calibration in 5 positions. This watch therefore winds, sets and runs accurately and reliably, within +9 seconds per day, averaged over 5 positions and also has a 44 hour power reserve when fully wound. Please bear in mind this is outstanding for any watch of this age. We are therefore highly confident in offering a 12 months warranty on this watch movement*.
The movement is all signed correctly: ‘International Watch Co’ and ‘Swiss’ with both the Calibre number 8531 and the serial number 1633773 which dates this watch to 1961.
*Please note our 12 months warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
**Brunner and Pfeiffer-Belli, in their book “Wristwatches Armbanduhren Montres-bracelets” call the Cal. 853 “one of the best automatic movements ever built in Switzerland”.
The very high quality, heavyweight, 18ct Yellow Gold watch case measures 35mm in diameter, excluding the original signed IWC crown. The case is of a three-piece design and of very sturdy construction. The press fit case-back is very strong and fits back with a very solid and reassuring click. The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.
The condition of the watch case is truly immaculate, with no scratches, dings or other damage visible to the naked eye and has therefore simply required a professional clean and gentle hand-polish, to bring back the almost new look of the watch.
Inside the case-back we find the case is all correctly signed ‘International Watch Co’ ‘Swiss’ with the IWC brand, Swiss Geneva 18K hallmarks and the case serial number 1401777.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with a new high quality black genuine crocodile strap, which suits the watch perfectly and the strap is fitted is with a generic gold plated buckle. However, if a different colour or different style strap is preferred please let us know and we will do our best to provide your choice, free of charge.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the movement, case numbers and hallmarks all match, dating the watch to 1961. Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months Warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.
This is a truly first class example of a 1961 IWC 18ct dress watch which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use and if treated with care, it will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece. IWC will always command huge respect in the high end watch market and consequently, prices are always rock solid. We are therefore sure this will make a great acquisition for any collector to wear, or to treasure and enjoy!
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be very fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note we welcome part exchanges, along with outright purchases of similar watches for us to restore, service and list. We can also offer Watch Service, Watch Repair & Watch Restoration, please see here.
If you have any questions please call 020 7727 7095 or 07515 949 250 or +44 7515949250 if calling from overseas.
We await your call!
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine Vintage Gold Watches!