Originally Posted by mafoofan
I agree that Lange and IWC have a different finishing ethos, and understandably so--they are at completely different price points, and Lange is undeniably more interested in that which is whimsical.
And let me just say, as an initial statement, that I really have not examined an IWC under a loupe. I still think it is difficult to compare finishing techniques on a JLC v. IWC v. GO.
From what I have gleaned from your post, it seems that you are saying that IWC is an exemplar of the "form follows function" ethos. That it is this ethos that spurs their designs, their movements, and their finishing of those movements. In other words, finish is to be emphasized when relevant, and when relevant, it should be done well. An admirable ideal, to be sure. I think that Rolex is the perfect modern example of this ethos. However, I do not think I would put the Caliber 50010 in the same category as Rolex's 3135 (et alii). I do not really think the "purpose" of the IWC 5001 is to be a sports watch. What is its actual purpose? Is it made to fulfill that purpose?
The purpose of the 5001 is, I believe, a “deck watch.” The movement in a deck watch was originally designed for accuracy--it is in fact synonymous with chronometry. So what does the watch do to align itself with the purpose of a desk watch?
(1) 7-Day Power Reserve
: I think that this plays well into the deck watch aesthetic. If time is of such importance, it is only logical to create a movement with a power reserve that will be difficult to deplete.
: the watch definitely strives for legibility, and I do not think there is any doubt about that.
But what about accuracy? As other posters have mentioned, the 50010 movement is notorious for its problems with accuracy—I have heard that +10-+20 seconds a day is commonplace. In my mind, this plays directly against your “Germanic” ethos that IWC supposedly strives so hard for.
Just for kicks, I think the PERFECT ‘case study’ for this is a quick look at the JLC P478B/WSbr (also used by VC; Dufour based his design for the simplicity on it). Specifically, lets look at the Geophysic. The Geophysic was made for scientists, and focused on “extreme precision” and anti-magnetism. The Geophysic had the following characteristics. A precise watch must be regulated, thus there was a large compensated balance, swan neck regulator, and a Breguet end curve spiral. An accurate watch should be set to the second, thus the second hand was hacking. And a precise watch should be readable, thus it had a very clear dial design and central seconds. The watch was always a tool watch though, and the bridges had anglage without any superfluous ornamentation. For example, no cotes de geneve. Why? Geneva stripes are PURELY ornamental.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that what bothers me about IWC is that the form follows function ethos is not necessarily followed up. You say that their ethos is “Germanic,” yet both design-wise and in regards to finishing the watch does not do nearly as much as it could to remain coherent. With such a HUGE movement, why isn’t the balance wheel larger? If you are going to make such a giant movement, do it for a reason!