2050 IWC ‘Romana’ Perpetual Calendar, Platinum
At its release in ’94, this ref. 2050 was the thinnest perpetual calendar calibre ever at just 3.1mm. It remains to this day a technical marvel, yet it’s all but entirely forgotten. The 2050 was a flag placed in the ground for Schaffhausen in what was a very active battle for the thinnest complicated calibres, as manufactures contested each other to regain reputation after the quartz revolution. It descended from the Kurt Klaus Da Vinci, but moved the technical game on considerably. And, for all the heat surrounding neo-vintage today, this one’s still not really in the limelight.
Where the earlier Klaus QPs used a Valjoux ébauche, the 2050 moved to a JLC 849. The greatest compromise in the its quest for thinness was that the rotor had to go. There aren’t many manual QPs from the 90s, but here we are. The first two digits of the year also had to go. However, those that know the Klaus calibres know that they’re intended to be the most user-friendly QPs, where all functions adjust through the crown. To counter the manual winding, IWC created a pusher that advances the calendar in sync at 10. It’s about as formal a QP as it’s possible to be. Personally, I quite enjoy the daily interaction a manual wind requires, it bonds you closer to the watch. At least for me.
But really, this is a watch made by its details. FIrst this one is in platinum with a grey dial, which is a far rarer spec than yellow. IWC won’t comment on numbers but most estimated fewer than 100 were made in platinum. And most PT have silver dials, where this is a darker tone. The moonphase disc here is gold and aventurine stone. The feuille hands are blued and even its sub seconds are sword-shaped. I mostly love it as a historic marker in the quest for thinness, these weren’t necessarily the most complicated or artistic movements, but actually set a record. They’re forgotten today, which many great watches are, but we’re here to just remind that this was once in the IWC catalogue, and to point out that it’s rather sexy.
In terms of condition, this one is a clear standout. Not just because the case hasn’t been polished over, but because the movement is synced. Let me explain. A notorious fault of these calibre 18651 is that the calendar functions can get out of sync with eachother with a half press of the corrector pusher. Or by pushing at times when the calendar functions are switching over. Most of the 2050s you’ll find in the market have functioning movements, but with the day-date-month out of sync. That’s not the case here, its just been to service. Just seemed worth noting. In addition, it’s one of the rarest and loveliest specs. It comes from a private collector just beginning to take the selling side more seriously, who is in his short time already becoming very well-regarded in the community and doing a great job.