IWC Cal.89 18ct 1951 37mm


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Restored, Serviced and Guaranteed

A Beautifully Well Cared for and Rarely Used Example

Oversize 37mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Crown

Very High Grade Cal.89, 17 Jewels, Iconic Manual Movement

Beautifully Restored Ivory Cream Dial with Original Gilt ‘Leaf’ Hands

High Grade IWC 18ct Swiss Made Stepped Case and ‘Bullhorn’ Lugs

Movement, Case and Dial in Stunning Condition from Every Aspect

New, High Quality Burgundy Lizard Skin Strap, or Your Choice

High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Warranty Included*

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

Sold 15th Nov '21
VGW Reference: IWC780
Price £3,650 Sold


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 – Good Solid Craftsmanship from Schaffhausen.  It is said that owning a vintage IWC is something everyone with a serious interest in vintage watches should aspire to.  Quite a strong statement perhaps, but a little time spent researching IWC and its 1950s & ’60s watches in particular, will very likely lead to the same conclusion. In essence, this is because after establishing itself in Schaffhausen in 1868 and building a superb reputation for quality and craftsmanship, IWC during the 1950s and ’60s determined it would design and manufacture some of the very best wristwatches ever made and quite simply, this is what it achieved! The craftsmanship, technical excellence and sheer beauty of its exquisite movements and cases, produced during the ‘golden age’ of watch-making, has never been beaten – equalled perhaps occasionally, but never beaten!

The IWC company brand found inside each of its watches reads: ‘Probus Scafusia’; which approximately translated means: Good, Solid Craftsmanship from Schaffhausen and 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 its watch movements.


The watch here is quite spectacular, being both oversized at 37mm diameter and having ‘bullhorn’ lugs and a stepped case design, not to mention, of course, the amazingly good condition, but this is just what lies on the surface. Underneath we find a truly exceptional movement, the iconic IWC Cal.89, which has certainly stood the test of time. It was so good in fact, it remained in production for both civilian and military use for over 40 years!

The Movement

Many consider the IWC Cal.89 to be one of the great manually wound movements of the 20th century. The movement was originally developed in 1946 by one of the true geniuses of watchmaking, Albert Pellaton, who designed this movement 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, 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 in the commercial market, remaining in production until the mid-1990s.

We have already touched on the craftsmanship and sheer beauty of IWC movements. 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 onto bridges or plates, creating a wave-like effect. This is known as a ‘Geneva Wave’ finish. Further, 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. These are just the kind of details which set IWC apart.

The movement has been fully overhauled and serviced by a Master Watchmaker. This means dismantling the movement down to all its component parts, careful inspection under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine IWC parts and then careful reassembly and adjustment before final calibration and testing in 5 positions. This watch therefore winds, sets and runs accurately and reliably, within +8 seconds per day, averaged over 5 positions and also has a 44-hour power reserve when fully wound. Please bear in mind, this is truly outstanding for any watch of this age.

We are very confident in offering 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 1,255,588 which dates this watch to 1951.

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

The Case

The very high quality, oversized 18ct yellow gold watch case measures a massive 37mm in diameter, excluding the correct IWC unsigned crown. The design and craftsmanship here really is something special. The stepped case improves the profile and adds character to the case and watch, making it seem slightly larger than it actually is. The beautifully sculpted swept back ‘bullhorn’ lugs have a flowing form and significantly elevate the status of the watch. This is all nothing less than pure class.

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. The case, therefore, has simply required a professional clean and gentle hand-polish to bring back the almost new look of the watch. The high polished full thickness case-back has never been inscribed. Inside the case-back, we find Swiss Geneva 18ct Hallmarks, the ‘Probus IWC Scafusia’ brand and the case serial number: 1,264,718 which also helps to confirm the date as 1951.

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

The Dial

This really is a beautifully understated dial in ivory cream, with yellow gilt numerals, alternated with ‘dagger’ hour indices and the original restored, yellow gilt ‘leaf’ style hands. This is so simple and yet so elegant. The style shows infinitely more individuality and character than any modern or even ‘heritage’ equivalent.

The dial is signed with the infinitely more attractive, early, ‘International Watch Company Schaffhausen’ signature. This is the original dial which has been sympathetically restored to the very highest standards by the best vintage watch dial restorers in the UK.

The Strap and Buckle

The watch is fitted with a new, high quality Burgundy Lizard skin strap, which we feel suits the watch perfectly, and a generic gold-plated buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to offer your alternative 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 1951.

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 simply wonderful example of a 1951 IWC 18ct 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 investment for any collector to wear, use, 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 these 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 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 also welcome part exchanges, along with outright purchases of similar watches 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 0207 727 7095 or 07515 949 250 or if calling from overseas on our Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.

We are here, ready, available and awaiting your call!

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

Thank you.