IWC Cal.88 18ct 1945 35mm

£3,250

100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Restored, Serviced and Guaranteed

Good Condition Heavy 18ct Yellow Gold Case

Slight Off-White Dial with Subsidiary Seconds Dial

Bold Hour Indices and Original Yellow Gold ‘Index’ Hands

Large 35mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Unsigned Crown

High Grade Cal.88, 17 Jewel Immaculate Hand-Wound Movement

New Brown Lizard Strap with Plain Gold-Plated Buckle

High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included

Simply Stunning Condition From Every Aspect

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: IWC1378
Sold 16th August '21
Price £3,250 Sold

£3,250

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IWC

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 quite simply, this is what it 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 – perhaps equalled occasionally, but never beaten!

An IWC is often referred to as a ‘watchmaker’s watch’. This is simply because watchmakers love them, both to work on and to own. This is due to the design, technical excellence and particularly the sheer beauty of their watch movements.

Description

The watch here is highly impressive, not only for its wonderfully bold dial, but also for being both large sized at 35mm in diameter and for having an 18ct yellow gold case. It is also in amazingly good condition. However, this is just on the surface. What lies beneath is a truly iconic movement. Underneath the hood we find the Cal.88 movement, which has certainly stood the test of time, remaining in production for both civilian and military use for over 40 years!

The Dial

The stunning 1940s slightly off-white dial is furnished with very bold, black hour indices, matched with the original, unrestored, yellow gold ‘Index’ style hands. The dial has a very clean look, typical of a gentleman’s vintage gold IWC dress watch. The dial also has a subsidiary seconds dial just above the 6.

The dial is simply signed ‘International Watch Company Schaffhausen’ with ‘Swiss Made’ at the bottom.

This is the original dial which has been restored to the very highest standards by our dial restorers, considered to be the best in the UK.

The Movement

The IWC Calibre.88 subdial movement was introduced concurrently with the IWC Calibre.89 centre second movement, which was otherwise identical. Many consider these to be the greatest manually wound movements of the 20th century. Originally developed in the early 1940s by the genius in watchmaking, Albert Pellaton, the movement was designed to meet the most demanding and highly rigorous specifications of the British Ministry of Defence. Each movement went through a 44-day testing period in five positions and ranging in temperature from -5° to +46°C. It was produced for military use continuously for over 30 years and became ‘The standard’ for military grade timepieces”. The movement also became an IWC mainstay for the commercial market, remaining in production until the mid-1990s.

We have touched on the craftsmanship and sheer beauty of IWC movements above. Some examples of the extra care and attention are the finishing applied to the bridges or plates, characterised by a series of arc-grained bars etched lightly on to bridges or plates, creating a wave-like effect. This is known as a ‘Geneva Wave’ finish. Furthermore, all the edges of the plates are beautifully bevelled which is very difficult and time-consuming to achieve. Lastly, each of the ruby jewels is set in brass ‘chantons’ which are then screwed into the plates rather than setting the jewel directly into the plates. This is the kind of detail which sets IWC apart.

The movement has been fully overhauled by our Master Watchmaker. This means stripping the watch down to all its component parts, careful inspection under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine IWC parts, then careful reassembly, oiling and adjustment to manufacturer specification, before final calibration in 5 positions. This watch 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 with this watch movement*.

The movement is all correctly signed ‘International Watch Co’ and ‘Swiss’ with both the Calibre number and the serial number 1,151,491 which dates this watch to 1945. This makes this the earliest example we have seen of this watch movement, released very early in the first year of production.

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

The Case

The very high quality, IWC Swiss made 18ct yellow gold watch case measures 35mm in diameter, excluding the crown. This two-piece case is in the typically 1940s style with classic lines, attractive sweeping lugs and a flat, rounded edge case-back.

The high polished, full thickness case-back has never been inscribed. This watch has been exceptionally well cared for and the main case body, bezel and case-back are all in beautiful condition with no scratches, dings or other damage visible to the naked eye, therefore after careful inspection, the case has simply required a professional clean and gentle hand-polish, to bring back the almost new look of the watch.

Inside the case-back all the markings are correct and as expected. Here we find the case carries the famous ‘Probus IWC Scafusia’ branding meaning “Good, Solid Craftsmanship from Schaffhausen” which was established in 1903 as the “Official Motto.” In addition, the case-back carries two Swiss Geneva hallmarks and the case reference number 1204257.

As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap and Buckle

The watch is fitted with a new brown lizard strap and plain gold-plated buckle which we feel suits the watch perfectly. However, if a different colour or different style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to provide your choice, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin and can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of straps if you wish here.

The Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct and indicate the date of manufacture to 1945.

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 also 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 hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.

In Conclusion

This is a truly first class example of a mid 1940s IWC gentleman’s dress watch which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. 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 simply 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 us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.

We await your call.

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

Thank you.