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Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory - The Grande Complication in rose gold

The connoisseur now faces a choice: one of the most exquisite watches in the world, the Grande Complication from IWC, is available in platinum, in yellow gold and now also in a rose gold case. But only in a limited series of 50 each year – in total. Maximum. For the master watchmakers in Schaffhausen, who are used to encountering tourbillons, perpetual calendar watches and minute repeating mechanisms on their workbenches, the Grande Complication remains the horological crowning glory.

As the first wristwatch ever to merit the noble title of “Grande Complication”, it has marked the pinnacle of the IWC collection since 1990 – not counting the cameo appearance of the “Destriero Scafusia” for the company’s 125th anniversary in 1993. Indeed, nothing has changed: the Grande Complication, without any doubt the most appropriate watch for everyday wear in this exceptional class, built for the wrist and not for the safe, retains its exclusivity. For no more than 50 numbered pieces – taking all material variants together – leave the manufactory each year. The latest variant in a rose gold case with its elegant slate-grey “ardoise” dial must be accommodated within this numerical limit. The enormous effort represented by this horological cosmos of 659 individual mechanical parts, which brings 21functions and indicators onto the dial and into hearing range, would actually exceed our watchmaking capacity. Yes, you are not mistaken: into hearing range. Among other things, and without resorting to old drawings for inspiration, the most modern and the most reliable minute repeating mechanism was designed specifically for this watch over a development period of seven years. The distinctive repeating slide on the side of the case activates the smallest philharmonic orchestra, which announces the time – accurate to the minute – with hammer strokes on two gongs in pure, clean tones thanks to an acoustically optimized case design. This feature alone is covered by several patents. The perpetual calendar, with its mechanically programmed time scale of 500 years, indicates the date, day, month, year, decade, century and millennium without the need for any adjustments on the part of the wearer. In turn, the wearer is in a position to act as the master of individual time recording via the elegant buttons of the integral chronograph, and to register aggregate times of up to 12 hours.

The small lunar theatre made of burnished gold also operates with incredible precision: the greatly reduced image of our earth satellite deviates from the path of its role model by only a single day in 122 years. And the idea that this masterpiece is intended to be used, admired and challenged in respect of its practical versatility in the course of its daily service is illustrated by the fact that it is linked to the force of gravity. In other words: the automatic movement exploits motions of the arm and, by so doing, ensures the input of energy that is required by the movement and all the indexing actions of its complicated internal workings. If the watch is ever put to one side, all the mutually synchronized calendar indications can be updated again by the day and in concert via the screw-in crown. The distinctive features of the Grande Complication even include a patented arrangement to seal the bushing for the minute repeater slide, so that splashing water cannot harm its internal workings, and it is tested for waterresistance of 1 bar. In addition to platinum (with a choice of a light and a black dial) and yellow gold, the rose gold classic now completes the sublime ensemble. A solution is now at hand for those people for whom platinum is too white and yellow gold is too yellow.