IWC Schaffhausen has unveiled three limited-edition "IWC Tribute to Pallweber" wristwatches with jumping numerals, as part of its Jubilee collection, to celebrate the company's 150th anniversary.
In these pieces, IWC is incorporating a digital hours and minutes display in a wristwatch for the very first time. First used by IWC in pocket watches back in 1884, this method of display was a revolutionary development at its time.
Those historic Pallweber pocket watches showed the hours and minutes in large numerals on rotating discs. Despite this innovation, the watches were only a commercial success for a brief period before disappearing from the scene after a few years.
In recognition of the scale of this pioneering exploit by Schaffhausen’s watchmakersas well as a tribute to F.A. Jones – the American watchmaker who founded IWC – the windows of the digital display on the limited edition watches have been labelled as "Hours" and "Minutes".
Inside however, the movement is the IWC-manufactured 94200 calibre, 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.
A total of 25 watches will be made in platinum, 250 in red gold and 500 in stainless steel.