International Watch Co. Cal.88 1957
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Very Well Cared For and Completely Original Example
High Grade IWC Cal.88, Manual Wind Movement in Top Condition
Original, Unrestored and Untouched Ivory-Cream Dial with Sub-Dial
Good Size Stainless Steel Case with Straight Lugs, 35mm Excluding the Crown
High Quality Black Alligator Strap With Matching Plain Steel Buckle
All in Stunning Original Condition, A Well Cared For Example
High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included
VWC 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VWC Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
It is said that owning a vintage IWC is something everyone with a serious interest in vintage watches should aspire to. A strong statement perhaps, but a little time spent researching IWC and their 1950s & ’60s watches, will very likely lead one to the same conclusion. In essence, this is because during the 1950s and ’60s, IWC determined they would manufacture some of the very best watches ever made and put simply, this is what they did! The craftsmanship, technical excellence and sheer beauty of their exquisite movements and cases, manufactured during the ‘golden age’ of watch-making, has never been beaten – equalled occasionally, perhaps, but never beaten. An IWC is often referred to as a ‘watchmaker’s watch’. This is because watchmakers simply love them, both to work on and to own.
The watch we see here is beautifully simple, clean and elegant. This watch is original, unrestored and untouched to a very high standard and remains in tip-top condition. It has an incredible stainless steel, 35mm case, and its Cal.88 series movement is considered to be one of the very best hand-wound movements.
The original, unrestored and untouched ivory-cream dial is classic IWC from this period. Clean, simple, understated and elegant. All the things we are accustomed to with this great brand. We think this combination of the unrestored ‘index’ hands, ‘baton’ hour indices, with double baton hour indices at 12, and dot minute markers around the dial is hard to beat and the dial contrasts wonderfully with the stainless steel case.
This dial is simply signed with the infinitely more attractive early International Watch Company Schaffhausen signature and with ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial, just below 6.
As this dial is in original, unrestored condition, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
The IWC Calibre.88 subdial movement was introduced concurrently with the IWC Calibre.89 centre second movement, which was otherwise identical. Many consider these to be the greatest manually wound movements of the 20th century. Originally developed in the early 1940s by the genius in watchmaking, Albert Pellaton, the movement was designed to meet the most demanding and highly rigorous specifications of the British Ministry of Defence. Each movement went through a 44-day testing period in five positions and ranging in temperature from -5° to +46°C. It was produced for military use continuously for over 30 years and became ‘The standard’ for military grade timepieces”. The movement also became an IWC mainstay for the commercial market, remaining in production until the mid-1990s.
We have touched on the craftsmanship and sheer beauty of IWC movements above. Some examples of the extra care and attention are the finishing applied to the bridges or plates, characterised by a series of arc-grained bars etched lightly on to bridges or plates, creating a wave-like effect. This is known as a ‘Geneva Wave’ finish. Furthermore, all the edges of the plates are beautifully bevelled which is very difficult and time-consuming to achieve. Lastly, each of the ruby jewels is set in brass ‘chantons’ which are then screwed into the plates rather than setting the jewel directly into the plates. This is the kind of detail which sets IWC apart.
The movement has been fully overhauled by our Master Watchmaker. This means stripping the watch down to all its component parts, careful inspection under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine IWC parts, then careful reassembly, oiling and adjustment to manufacturer specification, before final calibration in 5 positions. This watch winds, sets and runs accurately and reliably within +11 seconds per day, averaged over 5 positions and also has a 44-hour power reserve when fully wound. Please bear in mind this is outstanding for any watch of this age. We are therefore highly confident in offering a 12 months warranty with this watch movement*.
The movement is all correctly signed ‘International Watch Co’ and ‘Swiss’ with both the Calibre number and the serial number 1,438,539 which dates this watch to 1957.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
The very high quality, IWC Swiss made stainless steel watch case measures 35mm in diameter, excluding the correct signed crown. This three-piece case is in the typically 1950s style with classic lines, attractive sweeping lugs and a flat, rounded edge case-back.
The high polished, full thickness case-back has never been inscribed. This watch has been exceptionally well cared for and the main case body, bezel and case-back are all in beautiful condition with no scratches, dings or other damage visible to the naked eye, therefore after careful inspection, the case has simply required a professional clean and gentle hand-polish, to bring back the almost new look of the watch.
Inside the case-back all the markings are correct and as expected, ‘International Watch Co’, ‘Swiss’, ‘Staybrite Steel’ and also carries the case reference number 1568678.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
This watch is fitted with a high-quality black Alligator strap along with a matching plain steel buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin, but can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 18mm straps if you wish.
Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1957.
Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months’ warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will also be provided at the time of sale with our ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Watch Centre of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
A high quality hardwood presentation box, as shown in the photographs, is included in the sale of this watch.
If you would like to pay by bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.
This is a truly first class example of a late 1950s IWC gentleman’s dress watch which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. If treated with care, it will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece. IWC will always command huge respect in the high-end watch market and consequently, prices are always rock solid. We are therefore sure this will make a great acquisition for any collector to wear, or simply to treasure and enjoy!
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We, therefore, consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage steel watches.