MF: I would think special events have been coupled with special watches. Are certain of your IWCs especially meaningful?
RE: The first IWCs in my collection still mean a lot to me. My Big Pilot Ref 5002 is the watch that signified the start of the weekend. I would put it on when I got home on a Friday evening. The Portuguese Ref. 5001 still looks good with either a suit or casual clothes.
The heritage watches, the Ingenieurs Ref. 666 and 866, and my Mark XI, get a fair amount of wrist time. At 36/37mm, they are comfortable, accurate, require little servicing and are anti-magnetic. Protection against magnetic forces is no less relevant today than it was 65 years ago.
Also, I am one of a small group of collectors who own all three Collectors’ Forum watches. There is a strong emotional attachment to Collectors’ Forum watches. The Forum has meant a great deal to me since I found it in 2004.
When you think about it, the raw materials of a watch are a small fraction of the retail price. You also pay for the R&D, intellectual property and the skill of the watchmakers, case polishers etc. The rest of the retail price is intangible: it is the brand, the marketing and the emotion the watch brings to the purchaser. I guess, I am a very emotional man when I think of the number of watches I have bought.
MF: Has your interest in different IWC models evolved over time?
RE: First, I was driven by the movements: Cal. 5000 series, Cal. 89, Cal. 853/4 and then pocket watch movements. Then I wanted a platinum case and a ceramic case. IWC’s heritage is important to me, so bagged a couple of Ingenieurs Ref. 666, Portofino 5251 and a Portuguese Ref. 325.
Then it was the complications: chrono, split seconds, perpetual calendar and minute repeater. More recently, I have been fascinated by the huge gold pocket watches produced during the quartz crisis and powered by exquisitely engraved Cal. 97s. I leave the older IWC pocket watches to you, Tonny, Mark Levinsohn and Ralph Ehrismann. My latest pocket watch is the elegant Ref. 5250 moon phase which compliments my Ref. 5251 wristwatch and fits in the pocket of the waistcoat (vest) of my white tie evening suit. It also has two sevens on the dial. I was going to give it a wide berth until I discovered an IWC catalogue from 1980 proudly displaying the same watch with two sevens.
My Portuguese 5001 also has a spelling mistake on the movement. It’s part of the charm of the brand. I have also picked up a couple 19th century London clocks but that’s another story.