A Horological Legend: The IWC IL Destriero Scafusia
In 1993 IWC celebrated its 125th anniversary of innovative watch making in Schaffhausen Switzerland with release of the world’s most complicated wristwatch: the IL Destriero Scafusia. The Destriero is at once one of the most important contributions to the art of watch making and a tribute to the technical prowess and craftsmanship of the International Watch Company .
In designing the Destriero , the watchmakers at IWC were set upon the challenge of demonstrating to the world the firm’s rightful claim as a top tier watch manufacture. A relentless pursuit to create the most complicated timepiece in the world resulted in a watch of amazing quality and sophistication. The IL Destriero Scafusia reference 1868, with its massive case size of 42.2mm, instantly became a must have for serious collectors worldwide. It combined a tourbillon escapement with a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a chronograph with split minute function, and a perpetual moon phase indicator. The watch was limited to just 125 pieces and about 10 per year were delivered until 2003.
The Destriero raised the bar so to speak, it was offered in 22 karat rose gold or platinum with an optional hand made bracelet of 22 karat gold or platinum. It was not only the rarity of the case material that made the watch special. Its intricately hand decorated mechanical movement Calibre 18680, which was visible through a sapphire case back, comprised of 750 individual parts plus 76 jewels combining to perform 21 functions. The perpetual calendar was designed to run continuously without calibration until the year 2499 displaying the day, date, month, a four digit year, and leap year. The tourbillon escapement was the first to achieve a rate of eight vibrations per second and its cage is constructed of titanium because of its anti-magnetic properties. And the gongs of the minute repeater were painstakingly tuned to chime the hours, quarters, and minutes with an astonishingly beautiful sound.
The IWC IL Destriero Scafusia remains one of the ten most important timepieces ever produced and places the International Watch Company in the exclusive club of the greatest watch manufactures. The Destriero continues to draw the admiration of true wristwatch connoisseurs for its beauty and technical sophistication. It is also continually ranked as one of the ten most important watches ever produced by the industries most influential magazines. Because of its importance I felt the Destriero was worthy of another look.