IWC Tribute To Pallweber Edition Celebrates 150th Anniversary With Brand’s First Wristwatch With Digital Display

Quill & Pad
Jan 19, 2018 · 5 min read

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by Sabine Zwettler
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It has been great to start off 2018 with some fantastic, fresh new timepieces — among them IWC’s Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years, which stands out as the first wristwatch with digital time display the Swiss brand has ever produced.

Limited to 250 pieces, the Pallweber Edition is inspired by a pocket watch by Austrian engineer/watchmaker Josef Pallweber that he licensed to IWC in 1883.

3 versions of the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
3 versions of the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

Three versions of the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

IWC: 150 years of technical prowess and excellence

It seems that each and every recent year has been marked by some milestone anniversary of some watch company. Such anniversaries — as Elizabeth Doerr pointed out in Give Me Five! 5 Watches That Have Stood The Test Of Time Starring Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, And Cartier — always turn into a feast for watch lovers because on these special occasions, the companies put a lot of effort into showing their best sides by surprising us with cutting-edge timepieces.

And at times they dig even deeper than normal into their archives to breathe new life into masterpieces of days gone by.

It goes without saying that IWC probably has one of the richest archives in the world of haute horlogerie, as it has been an manufacturer of some importance for 150 years without interruption.

There is no field in which it has not excelled — be it in pilot’s and diver’s watches or be it in sophisticated complications including a perpetual calendar with a mechanical-digital indication of the four-digit year, minute repeaters, and tourbillons.

For this reason, I feel that the manufacture has done its homework and is prepared to delight us with some exceptional technical marvels that take existing models to the next level over the course of 2018.

Time for delicacies

Providing us with a first taste, IWC has already announced 27 limited editions ensconced in its Portofino, Portugieser, Pilot’s, and Da Vinci model families.

Binding them with a common characteristic, all of these new models are equipped with white lacquered dials that look like the beautiful enamel faces with which earlier IWC timepieces were fitted. Their pad-printed dial markers are reminiscent of the highly glossy look and feel of the originals, and that’s not surprising as a full 12 layers are needed in order to achieve the particular shine able to transport you on a journey back in time.

Pallweber pocket watch with digital display and enamel dial for IWC circa 1885
Pallweber pocket watch with digital display and enamel dial for IWC circa 1885

Pallweber pocket watch with digital display and enamel dial for IWC circa 1885 (photo courtesy iwcpocketwatch.com)

“The enamel dials of the historical Pallweber pocket watches with their special aesthetics were our inspiration,” explained Christian Knoop, IWC’s creative director.

The Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years features digital indication of the hours and minutes on one axis. This is complemented and harmoniously balanced by subsidiary seconds with a blued hand, exuding a tasteful vintage aura.

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

The absence of numerals around the dial perimeter lends the timepiece a minimalist aura that is further underscored by its sheer size — in homage to the pocket watch original, this timepiece boasts a bold diameter of 45 mm, although it is only 12 mm in height — and the clean lines of the red gold case keep its appearance very slim.

The lugs are likewise modestly proportioned, while the oignon-style crown is quite prominent. This interplay of different sizes creates some tension and adds to the timepiece’s overall unique style.

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

Perfectly in sync

Exploring the mechanics behind this understated dial we discover beauty and aesthetics, too.

The ticking heart, new manually winding Caliber 94200, which beats at a modern 4 Hz (28,800 vph), provides an impressive power reserve of 60 hours despite all the extra energy needed to move the disk for the jumping hours and the two minute digits.

Power is provided by two spring barrels, each one providing energy to its own gear train. While one sends its energy to the balance and escapement as usual (including the subsidiary seconds and the disk for the hour), the second gear train exclusively drives the single-digit minute disk, which naturally needs the most energy, jumping to 60 times per hour. After ten minutes have passed, it is this single-digit disk that provides the energy for the other minute disk to move to its next position six times per hour.

Thanks to a trigger mechanism that transfers an impulse from the timekeeping gear train to the digital display train once a minute both of these disk displays are synchronized, ensuring that the hours and minutes jump precisely when the second hand finishes its revolution around the subdial.

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years

As all the timepieces from the new Jubilee Collection offer, the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years boasts an 18-karat gold medallion inscribed with “150 years,” referring to the anniversary, on the back of its movement.

With this unusual, standout timepiece as a first taste of the luxurious mechanical dinner sure to be served by the “chefs” of IWC, 2018 is certain to be a real feast for watch fans.

For more information, please visit www.iwc.com.

Quick Facts IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
Case: 45 x 12 mm, red gold
Movement: manual winding Caliber 94200, 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, power reserve 60 hours
Functions: mechanical digital hours and minutes, hacking subsidiary seconds
Limitation: 250 pieces
Price: $36,600
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Originally published at Quill & Pad.

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