I don't hate IWC, but I'm not enamoured with any of their current offerings. As for the Portugese being SF approved by some people, that means nothing to me. I don't like the dial of the 7 day at all, but thats subjective...maybe if they had cut out the date window it would be an improvement. As for the in house movement, that was a necessity if they wanted to be competitive with Rolex, JLC, Breitling, and Omega (all of which had or were developing some inhouse calibers). As for your issue about my saying its "not really dressy" and "not really sporty"....the subdials and date cut out create a busy, less dressy watch, yet its not sporty either. Your attempt to say the same about Panerai or Rolex because of their wearers, is different. The Panerai and Rolex Sub are both sports watches that were developed for diving, scuba etc. They are purely sports watches. Sure people can wear them with a suit or some idiot who thinks he is James Bond might pair it with tux, its their choice. They can chose to drive a Maserati Bora in a blizzard, but I wouldn't chose to. The Royal Oak was designed as a luxury sports watch to be worn for probably everything other than diving or very dressy events where you would want a dedicated dive watch or a watch on a leather strap.
IWC has not always made large watches...but they were early on in the trend with the 3713 Doppel around 1992/93. Look at their production during the 1980s into the early 90s. They only large watches they made back the 1980s were the watches designed by Porsche Design and which they were building for Porsche Design (the Ocean 2000, the Titan, and the Compass watch). Their own 40mm Ingenieur SL Jumbo from rough 1976 shrank to roughly 34mm in the early to mid 80s. Their DaVinci perpetual calendar chronograph was quite an achievement but the case was originally too damn small so all of the inner subdial were tiny and tough to read. They only bumped it up in size many years later. For several years after 1993 the only large watch they made was the Doppel chrono ref 3713. The Portuguese line, the current/much larger revised Ingenieur, Big Pilot, etc all came much later.
I liked IWCs of the past a lot more than I do today. Maybe I just lament not being able to find one that I truly love these days. No watch can be everything to everyone. Perhaps something new from them at SIHH will renew my interest in the brand.
Dino - really appreciate your insights in this thread. You obviously have great taste and knowledge about watches. One thing I'd suggest is that the concept of versatility (and the related concept of dressiness vs. sportiness in a watch) is subjective to some degree, and depends on one's age, physique, and wardrobe/personal style. For example, there seems to be a consensus that white/silver watches in the 38mm size range and complications and on a brown leather strap (i.e. the type produced by every high end company like GO, Lange, Patek, JLC, etc) are "universal" watches for the modern professional. However, on me I think they look lifeless and discordant with my wardrobe which consists mainly of minimalistic pieces in cool colors. A Reverso or a Lange 1 or a Panomatic on my wrist would only express my ability to afford such a watch and have no harmony with the rest of my appearance. The same point would apply to Rolex sport watches, another category considered versatile and purposeful. In contrast, the sleek black dial and clean lines and large scale of a Portuguese would complement my hair, skin tone, long arms, greyscale clothes, etc.
Anyway, enough blabbering, here is a pic of my new 15400:
Edited by johanm - 12/21/12 at 8:06am