SIHH 2018: A Mechanical Wristwatch With Digital Time Display
Schaffhausen, 15 January 2018 – IWC Schaffhausen unveiled three limited-edition “IWC Tribute to Pallweber” wristwatches with jumping numerals at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, as part of the jubilee collection, to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary. The company is incorporating a digital hours and minutes display in a wristwatch for the very first time. IWC started using this form of time display in pocket watches back in 1884. The display was a revolutionary development for its time.
The historic Pallweber pocket watches showed the hours and minutes in large numerals on rotating discs. Yet the innovative time display was ahead of its age: the watches were only a commercial success for a brief period before disappearing from the scene after a few years. To mark its anniversary, IWC is recognising the scale of this pioneering exploit by Schaffhausen’s watchmakers with the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years” (Ref. 5050). As a reference to the design of the historic Pallweber watches and a tribute to F. A. Jones – the American watchmaker who founded IWC – the windows of the digital display are labelled as “Hours” and “Minutes”. A total of 25 watches will be made in platinum, 250 in red gold and 500 in stainless steel:
- Platinum, white dial with lacquered finish, blue display discs, blued seconds hand (Ref. IW505001)
- 18-carat red gold, white dial with lacquered finish, white display discs, blued seconds hand (Ref. IW505002)
- Stainless steel, blue dial with lacquered finish, white display discs, rhodiumplated seconds hand (Ref. IW505003)
When creating the IWC-manufactured 94200 calibre, the watch designers developed a new solution for the technically sophisticated digital display (patent pending). While toothed cogs moved the discs in the historic Pallweber pocket watches, the impulse that advances the single-minute disc is now supplied by a separate wheel train with a barrel of its own. A release mechanism that establishes a connection to the watch’s main wheel train unlocks the train every 60 seconds and then immediately locks it again. After 10 minutes, the single-minute disc moves the 10-minute disc forward by one position. Every 60th minute, the hour ring jumps to the next numeral. The fact that the flow of power in the main wheel train is uninfluenced by the separate wheel train in the display discs guarantees a precise rate and a high 60-hour power reserve.
Just like on the historic Pallweber pocket watches, the display discs are connected by a mechanical linkage with a star wheel (Maltese cross drive) and can be easily moved forwards or backwards using the crown.