If you want Genta but you want it niche, integrated steel does not come much more nuanced than this 1830. IWC’s Golf Club SL has brief and somewhat shrouded history, one which is still being excavated today by enthusiasts even sadder than myself. Yes, they exist. This faceted cushion case sister of the Yacht Club II was a monumental flop upon release. As such, it is estimated that no more than 1000 examples were ever produced, far fewer with this full steel bracelet. Not only is it a handsome bit of steel, but it comes from what is possibly IWC’s best-ever era for boundless creativity.
This rare specimen was released alongside Genta’s initial work for the Ingenieur line and intended to be a part of a future ‘Club series’, marketed toward hobbyist activities. There were to be Yacht ‘Club’, Golf ‘Club’, Polo ‘Club’, and I’ve even heard talk of a Motor ‘Club’ which was never borne. These club watches would stand alongside Ingenieur, Aquatimer, and Portuguese professional pieces as sort of weekender alternatives. Fun fact, for just under a year the Golf Club did not have a name but was still sold, and was simply in IWC’s catalogue by the reference number alone. That’s the known bit.
However, the SL nomenclature given to this and other integrated models is still a bit of mystery today. No one seems to know just what those two letters stood for: Sports Line? Steel Line? Simply Lovely? Shia LaBeouf? We may never known. In addition, it is not certain just whose pen traced its case design. Most speculate this is Genta’s work, for his previous known associations with IWC in this period. The 34mm inflated rectangle is certainly in his aesthetic. Yet, confirmation may never come. Back to known quantities, it came with either the calibre 8541B or 854B, without or without a date, and in brushed silver or black dial. Truth be told, I am not much of a golfist. However, if this SL comes with that lifestyle you may find me swinging a bit of iron starting immediately.
This example is a bit spectacular. All the brushed surfaces, including bracelet links, proudly display their finish. Case transitions are strong and there’s not even much to see by way of markings anywhere, bracelet end or back. The black dial is perfectly preserved and the tritium indices have only just begun to turn warm. I’m not sure I’ve seen one better. It comes as a naked watch from a well-regarded German retailer.
Find this Golf Club SL here from Watchurbia for 7800 EUR.