This is one of the coolest watches I’ve come across in a while and it goes to show that collecting watches doesn’t have to be extortionately expensive. I’ll admit that I did not know much about this watch when I first saw it and when I noticed it on the wrist of a fellow collector and friend I immediately offered to buy it. You’ll see why.
The late ’70s as many will know was a pretty rough time for the Swiss watch industry. With the advent of quartz, many companies were going out of business and IWC was certainly heading in the same direction. They tried everything from pocket watches to jewellery watches and nothing worked, except their collaboration with Porsche Design. Ferdinand A. Porsche had left the eponymous brand his family had started and begun his own design studio, which still exists today and working together with IWC, the first watch they produced was this, the Compass Watch.
I’m not even joking when I say that this is the watch that keeps surprising you. When I first saw this watch, I immediately fell for the clean minimalist design and the beautiful deep black dial. With a cross-hair design, long luminous markers that have aged to yellow, a red running seconds hand and the old-school International Watch Co. logo font, the design to me was perfect. Top that off with a PVD coated aluminium case, I was amazed at how light the case was and mind you, PVD wasn’t so trendy back then- this was revolutionary.
By now I was already into the watch but what's amazing is that it has a hinged case! There are buttons on both sides of the bottom lugs that pop the case open to reveal, a compass! This might be a novelty, but what is unique is that mechanical movements do not like magnets at all and to have a compass right below the movement, I knew that the anti-magnetic properties of this watch had to be pretty good. Furthermore, the bracelet is a work of art. As compasses need to be laid down flat to properly navigate, there is a quick-release on the clasp that allows the watch to lie flat. Amazing!
While I’ve dealt with far more expensive watches, I have to admit that this piece got me the most excited in quite a while!