IWC 18K Auto 1957 Cal. 853 ‘Freckle Face’!


“Good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”

IWC 18K  Automatic Calibre 853 1957

‘The Watchmaker’s Watch’…

and one for the Purists –

Simple, elegant, timeless

34mm not inc original IWC Crown

With a beautiful and all original “freckle face” Dial!

The motto of IWC (the International Watch Company)…..

“Good solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”

Some might say that the he movements of vintage IWC watches…

“are very possibly the highest quality ever manufactured.”

VGW Reference:
Price £2,100 Sold


Out of stock

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Here we have simply one of the finest and most beautiful gentleman’s 18K IWC automatic vintage watches in absolute top condition. IWC is rightly held in the highest regard for the design and quality and this is a superb example.

– Simply too expensive to be commercially produced today …

The Cal. 853 mech was designed and manufactured by IWC all in-house with no expense spared and with the sole aim of producing the finest automatic watch movement of its day. Few would argue they fell short and indeed a straw pole of watchmakers would have it that no finer watch movements have been made since.

A brilliantly ingenious fine regulation system allowing the running speed of the movement to be minutely altered to produce the most remarkable results in independent Observatory tests…

The research, design, craftsmanship and shear man-hours spent in creating some of the very best chronometers ever made, simply cannot be commercially reproduced today except perhaps in very low numbers and at staggeringly higher cost. And so when new, this was one of the best wristwatches available… at any price. The quality of Swiss workmanship was at such a high standard that this has never really been surpassed, certainly not commercially in any volume.

Undoubtedly one of the most attractive or striking features, depending on your taste, is the original and untouched ‘freckle face’ dial. This is in exceptionally good condition for the year and is showing a pleasing degree of ageing much like the patina of a fine oak table or the paintwork on a vintage car. For more on the dial please read on.

But perhaps the single most important point about this watch is that someone, during the late 1950’s invested two or three times the average annual salary in a fine Swiss gold watch, – namely this one, bought in 1957 for a small fortune.

Fortunately this watch is now a much more affordable investment and one which will provide a good rate of return as well as something to use, treasure and enjoy!

The Dial: This is a totally original dial, untouched and attractively aged, with light freckling mainly on the right hand side of the dial. There is some debate about dials and wether they should be left alone or restored back to their former glory. Collectors generally prefer totally unrestored dials and have much a greater tolerance for ageing. The general market however prefers restored dials and has much less tolerance for ageing. In this case we felt the dial has aged quite attractively and so we have chosen to leave it as it is, or at least keep the option as once restored, it can’t be undone. If you wish to purchase the watch with the dial fully restored, we can arrange this for you for a fee of around £200.

The Case: The 18K solid yellow gold case measures 34mm not including the original IWC crown. The press-fit case-back has the proper rubber seal in situ and clicks back with a very satisfying solid click. The case-back is correctly signed with the ’50s IWC trade mark and INTERNATIONAL WATCH Co SWISS and 18K 0.750 and the matching hallmark and number 1530215.

The Movement: Inside the case the Cal. 853 automatic movement is beautifully presented and in immaculate condition. This movement is generally regarded as one of the best ever made. It is twice signed INTERNATIONAL WATCH COMPANY SWISS with 1536085, Cal 853, 21 Jewels and PATT. APPL. The movement winds both automatically and by hand just as it should and also sets perfectly. It is running strongly with a 40hr power reserve. The movement has just been serviced and is in tip top condition. This watch offered with a 12 months warranty.

The Strap & Buckle: A new high quality, ‘croc’ leather, padded strap is fitted with a gold plated buckle.

The Box and Papers: There are no original papers with this watch. However the numbers and markings on the watch are all correct and date the watch to 1957. A detailed written receipt, with a separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will be provided at the time of sale. The new presentation box shown in the accompanying photographs is included in the sale.

In Conclusion: For us, this is the perfect and in many ways a superior alternative to a Rolex. And even though prices have moved forward in recent years IWC watches from this period are still staggeringly good value. And so this is a highly desirable and collectable watch from one of horology’s most respected names which will provide an excellent investment as well as something to treasure and enjoy. Vintage IWC are rarer than Rolex and as the next few years go by the global market for vintage Swiss gold watches is predicted to exponentially. Limited supply and growing demand will only mean that prices climb in the near and longer term..

The watch is offered at a highly competitive price given the model, the rarity and the condition. If you find something similar for sale in the UK please let us know as we will be very interested to take a look and we promise to let you have our comments. A similar vintage gold watch IWC offered for sale on Bond Street or in The Burlington Arcade in Central London would command at least twice the price, – Non-Negotiable! Further, A new IWC in 18K gold would be priced from £15,000 wherever you care to try and buy one! And so after comparing these prices it is not difficult to guess that this watch is an excellent investment!

We are happy to accept Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However we would prefer, where possible, payment by bank transfer or cheque as this saves on fees. Please call us first and we will be happy to pass on the savings to you.

For more information or to discuss the price and payment, please call or text Alan on 07515949250 or +44 7515949250 if calling from overseas

If you would like us to gift wrap it, change the strap for a different colour or larger size, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

We are also able to take part exchanges.