647A IWC Pellaton Automatic

I’m not sure the word bewitching has ever been more appropriate. Some watches are designed or marketed to be elegant, while others simply are. Fair to say this is the latter. IWC was on something of a roll in the early 60s with a series of restrained time-and-date-only steel watches featuring a new propriety winding architecture. This 647A is one from those early days where the German-Austrian-Swiss optimism was palpable.

Albert Pellaton, IWC’s technical director in-era, engineered the calibre 8531 to transfer power from a bi-directional rotor straight to the mainspring, much more efficient than other automatics of the time with their gear trains. A handful of modern IWCs still utilize it. Most will be familiar with Pellaton calibres in the 666 Ingenieurs and 812 Aquatimers. But, before the huge successes of either, a range of more discreet three-handers were offered. This is one, complete with a pie-pan dial, dauphine hands, and a 34mm steel case featuring elongated straight lugs. Moreover, this example is pre-IWC logo, when International Watch Company was still printed in script on the dial in one of the best fonts I’m aware of. Also, the date wheel is set quite far inboard instead of taking the 3-indice’s place, a quite unique little detail.


The example on offer today has a dial to be envied. Its plots are all present as far as I can tell. The white is pristine and unmarred. Its steel case has sharp lugs and case sides. The seller hasn’t included a rear or movement shot, so that remains to be seen. But, on the surface, this is a very gorgeous early IWC and one whose innovations haven’t really met the limelight they clearly deserve yet. I can’t think of a thoughtful collection this would not augment strongly. It comes from a small South Korean retailer.

Find this 647A here from Vintageye for ~3000 USD.