A very fine, attractive and rare pink gold limited edition skeletonised minute repeating wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand IWC Schaffhausen, founded in 1868. Limited edition launched in 2004. 18k rose gold case, diameter 43mm, 12.3mm thick, white silvered openworked dial with rose gold pearls as the indexes, leaf-shaped hands, sapphire caseback. Caliber 95911, manual-winding, skeletonized, stamped with Probus Scafusia quality hallmark from the dial side and with Probus Scafusia medallion on the back, power reserve up to 43 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, minute repeater. Brown leather strap, 18k rose gold IWC Schaffhausen double folding clasp. Limited edition of 50 pieces.
The history of IWC Schaffhausen minute repeater wristwatch is intriguing. In the late 1980s, the brand undertook the development of a Grande Complication wristwatch, featuring chronograph, minute repeater and famous Kurt Klaus’ millesimal perpetual calendar, further evolved to even more complicated Il Destriero Scafusia wristwatch, presented as a flagship model of the jubilee collection for the 125th anniversary in 1993. The minute repeater module for this project was developed by Robert Greubel, the prototypist at IWC, who founded with watchmaker Stephen Forsey in 2004 the widely known haute horlogerie brand Greubel Forsey. After using the development in highly complicated models, IWC decided to release a minute repeater wristwatch based on it, made in the style of classic repeating pocket watches. The module was adapted to the IWC Lépine (or open-face) pocket watch caliber 95, so the new movement was designated IWC 95290, and used for various limited series of repeating watches, built since 1995 as a part of Portuguese collection.
In 2004, the brand introduced skeletonized versions of the Portuguese repeating watch – Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette, released in 18k white gold (limited edition of 50 pieces; Ref. IW524101), in 18k rose gold (50 pieces; the present Ref. IW524102), and in platinum (25 pieces; Ref. IW524104). Mysterious Ref. IW524103 in yellow gold, one link to which we were able to found, probably did not exist.
It appears to be an excellent collectible as the only skeleton minute repeater reference of IWC Schaffhausen, and an attractive artifact of its modern history.
In 2009, the brand upgraded the repeater Portuguese wristwatch, using the new caliber of 98000 series as the base. The new 98950 caliber offers the stylistic elements of the early IWC’s Jones calibers, including the relocation of the small seconds from 9 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Note that the skeletonized IW5241 models do not have small seconds, and there is no skeletonized version of the new 98950. Thus, the IW5241 turned out to be the only reference of IWC minute repeater wristwatch of all time, which certainly puts it to the focus of the discerning collector.
The skeletonized caliber 95911 reveals an unusual feature. Skeletonized mainplate and bridges are usually polished, engraved or brushed, in contrast, in this reference, the bridges are finished using the traditional Côtes de Genève technique, which is typical for non-skeletonized movements. In IW5241, Côtes de Genève is applied on both sides of the movement, while the mainplate, which is almost entirely hidden behind the bridges, uses the traditional perlage technique. Overall, the caliber exhibits a high quality finish with sphere-polished shafts and pins, flat-polished screw heads, circular brushing, and traditional polishing of the bridges’ bevels. The minute repeater mechanism is partially open from the dial, which allows the owner of the watch not only to enjoy the sounds of the repeater, but also to observe its main components in action. We also note the repeater gongs made of blued steel – a reminder of the traditions of watchmaking and an excellent complement to blued steel hands.
Reasons to bid
The Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette Limited Edition Ref. IW524102 would appear to be an excellent purchase for the collector looking for a complicated mechanical watch from a world-famous watch brand. It appears to be an excellent collectible as the only skeleton minute repeater reference of IWC Schaffhausen, and an attractive artifact of its modern history. The present watch will never lose its relevance, especially since the production of this reference has been discontinued, and the number of pieces produced was small.