IWC Cal.853 Automatic 18ct Gold 1959 – Museum Quality


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Restored, Serviced and Guaranteed

Absolutely Immaculate 18ct Yellow Gold Case

A Beautifully Well Cared for Rarely Used Example

Ultra High Grade Cal.853, 21 Jewel, Automatic Movement

Good Sized 34mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Correct IWC Crown

Beautifully Restored Silver Dial with Original ‘Index’ Hands

High-Quality Brown Leather Strap and Plain Gold-Plated Buckle

In Simply Stunning Condition From Every Aspect

High Quality Presentation Box Included

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Warranty Included*

Free Worldwide Fedex Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

Sold 29th July '20
VGW Reference: IWC1024
Price £3,350 Sold


Out of stock

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Since its founding in 1868, IWC Schaffhausen has been world-renowned for being a leader in Haute Horlogerie, producing timepieces with innovative technology and exclusive design. It began a time when most Americans went West searching for gold, however Boston-born watchmaker, Florentine Aristo Jones went East searching for his treasure. The 27-year-old went all the way to Schaffhausen Switzerland in order to produce high-quality watches for the American market. After a few changes, Ernst Jakob Homberger took over the company in 1905. Under Homberger, two watch families were created which remain icons to this very day – The Pilot’s Watch and the Portuguese. Later, Kurt Klaus who began his career at IWC in 1957, developed IWC’s famous mechanical perpetual calendar.


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 1950s & ’60s watches, will very likely lead one to the same conclusion. In essence, this is because during the 1950s and ’60s, IWC determined they would manufacture some of the very best watches ever made, and put simply, this is what they achieved. 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 its Cal.853 series movement is considered one of the very best automatic movements of all time! But more than this, the dial, case and movement are in almost as new, museum quality condition.

The Dial

The style of the dial is typically vintage IWC of this period. Clean, simple, elegant and totally understated. All the things we are accustomed to with IWC. The dial is silver, with a very light horizontal grain which catches the light nicely. It carries applied faceted gold ‘baton’ hour indices, matched with the original gold ‘Index’ hands.

The dial is signed with the more attractive early IWC script ‘International Watch Co, Schaffhausen’, with ‘Automatic’ below and ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial.

The lens has been replaced with a new original IWC part, as part of the restoration.

This is the original dial which has been restored by our dial restorers who are considered to be the best in the UK.

The Movement

The original Cal.853, 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 iterations.

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 it has been disassembled to each of its component parts, followed by 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. Our test results show – 1 second / day, averaged over 5 positions and a 44 hour power reserve when fully wound. Please bear in mind this is totally outstanding for any watch of this age. We are therefore highly confident in offering 12 months warranty on this watch movement**.

The movement is all signed correctly ‘International Watch Co. Swiss’ with both the Calibre number 853 and the serial number 1497869 which dates this watch to 1959.

* 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”.

** Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.

The Case

The very high quality, heavyweight, 18ct yellow gold watch case measures 35mm in diameter, excluding the original 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. It is also 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. As can be seen, all the edges are as crisp as the day this watch left the factory, which is totally amazing.

Inside the case-back we find the case is all correctly signed ‘International Watch Co’ ‘Swiss’ with the IWC brand, Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks and the case serial number 1417506.

The Strap and Buckle

The watch is fitted with a new high-quality brown leather strap, which we feel suits the watch perfectly and the strap is fitted is with a  plain 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 1959.

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.

In Conclusion

This is a truly first class example of a 1959 IWC 18ct dress watch which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. If treated with care, this watch 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. If calling from overseas +44 207 727 7095

Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches!

Thank you.