IWC was obviously on my radar before the results of that poll, but it was a fascinating look into the perception of (mostly American) luxury blog readers. One of your fellow aBlogtoRead.com readers recently commented on an IWC related article that IWC watches are well-made, nicely designed, but over-priced. A quick response via another fellow reader indicated a wise observation. If a brand is doing well, selling its products, and experiencing high demand, the amount it asks for its products isn’t too high — especially if it is getting that amount. That sort of halted the topic, and I thought it was a good message about the luxury industry overall. Luxury goods are easy to attack. It is easy to complain about price, image, and snobbiness. What is more impressive is when luxury brands are defended. Such conduct shows that the price, image, and possible snobbiness don’t actually result in bad sentiment - in that particular case. I’m making a general statement about the luxury industry and many different types of products, but in the context of IWC, it interesting to see fans ‘ring in’ to communicate their own personal high-view of the brand and what they sell.
Ruchonnet adapted the design of the Winch Tourbillon Vertical watch for a more Ferrari- like application. The movement has been cosmetically enhanced with a number of changes - though the core complications and functions are retained. It was important for Ruchonnet to have a lot of Ferrari DNA in the movement. The idea was to use some of the same high-tech materials uses in Ferrari Formula 1 cars. In fact, the watch is also a 60th anniversary piece of the first Ferrari F1 car (Ferrari 275 was the model I believe) from 1950. Images of that car can be seen here in the article. You can see a healthy amount of carbon fiber (which is widely used in Ferrari cars) in the middle of the movement as a bridge. Unlike the original Cabestan watch, the Scuderia Ferrari One has a single, streamlined sapphire crystal over the watch dial/movement. Time is told via the "drums" that turn and are made of out aluminum. Separate ones are used for the hours, minutes, and seconds. Colors in the movement materials represent similar tones to Ferrari cars and their engines. Like all Cabestan watches, seeing the movement and using it to tell the time are the absolute highlights of their watches.
What will amaze you about the watch is the straight forward, simple presentation of the information and the complication. While not an easy watch to make, F.P. Journe makes it seem easy by having it all work so well, and smoothly. The watch features the time in a digital display, with jumping hours and jumping minutes. Mechanical digital watches are proving to be quite popular, and the mechanism is usually governed by a constant force escapement that makes sure the power from the mainspring barrel is used properly. The movement itself is the in-house made and designed F.P. Journe Calibre 1509, and is really gorgeous. Aside from jumping minutes and hours, it has a power reserve indicator for the manually wound movement, and a traditional subsidiary seconds dial. Like I mentioned in the previous article on the Vagabondage II watch, it most resembles the A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk in terms of functionality (that was released around the same time). Though the two watches are visually very different.
I mentioned my now deceased umbrella for a reason — rather than to merely lament its inglorious demise. It allowed me to appreciate the benefit of a tool meant to last. Sure the umbrella performed amicably most of the time, but it just took one unexpected instance for it to fail me, and leave me less than dry. What will happen to David out in the sea if his tools fail him? Even if they are suitable for 98% of all occurrences, that still leaves open dangerous contingencies. I am starting to understand why IWC likes to test themselves by partnering with such “perfect examples.” The special, limited edition of 1000 pieces IWC Ingenieur Automatic Mission Earth Edition Adventure Ecology watches will be worn by the crew and will stand up to anything that the Plastiki crew faces. IWC has yet another chance to prove the rugged reliability (and in my opinion dashing good looks) of its Ingenieur watches. Facts and figures on paper, as well as clean looking marketing photo’s don’t communicate this point. Only action can do that. Aside from some cosmetic changes and a specially made and engraved caseback, the blue and orange watch is the Ingenieur that anyone can get. David was proudly wearing his the entire time. A watch guy like me, I appreciated his ability to point out some of the finer details of the watch and how it would help him on the voyage. He also adeptly summed up the piece by emphatically pointing out, “and it is just really cool.” The colorful design looked appropriate with his unique wardrobe that included colorful socks that he tucked his pant legs into. I appreciated that both he and I in our own unique ways are unapologetic eccentrics.