IWC Cal.8521 Date Automatic 18ct c1957/58 – Disco Volante with Flying Lugs
Since its founding in 1868, IWC Schaffhausen has been world-renowned for being a leader in Haute Horlogerie, producing timepieces with innovative technology and exclusive design. It began a time when most Americans went West searching for gold, however Boston born watchmaker, Florentine Aristo Jones went East searching for his treasure. The 27-year-old went all the way to Schaffhausen Switzerland in order to produce high-quality watches for the American market. After a few changes, Ernst Jakob Homberger took over the company in 1905. Under Homberger, two watch families were created which remain icons to this very day – The Pilot’s Watch and the Portuguese. Later, Kurt Klaus who began his career at IWC in 1957, developed IWC’s famous mechanical perpetual calendar.
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 achieved. 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.
This particular IWC is special for a number reasons. Firstly its ‘Flying Lugs’ and ‘Disco Volante’ style watch case are very rare. More of this later under ‘Case’.
The legendary Cal.8521 ‘Date’ is one of the earlier IWC automatic movements which also makes this watch more collectable. This movement is from the 852 series which was a huge success for IWC, selling in record numbers during the early 1950s. This was part of the broader IWC Cal.85 movement family introduced in 1950 and remaining in production until 1996. All designed completely in-house by IWC, these are incredibly reliable and accurate timepieces.
This is a beautifully elegant and understated dial, in ivory cream with gold ‘baton’ hour indices and the original restored gold ‘Index’ hands. This is the classic 1950s IWC non- numeral dial. During the 1950s and ’60s, IWC’s clean and simple dial design became almost a trademark in itself for the company.
It is signed with the infinitely more attractive early International Watch Company Schaffhausen signature and with ‘Automatic’ below and ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial.
It is quite rare for an IWC from the 1950s to carry a date function and this elevates the value of this watch.
This is the original dial which has been sympathetically restored to the very highest standards by the best vintage watch dial restorers in the UK.
The term ‘Disco Volante’, Italian for flying saucer, originates around 1952 to describe a series of low, flat experimental open-top sports racing cars produced by Alfa Romeo. Also, of course, it referred to comic and science fiction spacecraft. Then later, a series of watches released in the late 1950s by Audemars Piguet in the ref. 5093 and Patek Philippe in the ref. 2552, and Vacheron & Constantin, in the ref. 6006. The term then became more generally used for watches which follow the style, appearing flatter in profile and more streamlined and futuristic, through the use of a wider bezel and a sunken crown. It was also, of course, the name used for Largo’s fantastically advanced motor yacht, in one of the best James Bond films ever made – Thunderball!
It is rare to find an IWC with anything but a traditional style watch case, but occasionally it produced something a little special such as the watch we see here. The case has more than a hint of the Disco Volante look as it carries a wider bezel which due to its profile, gives the impression of having two bezels with the crown sunken into the outer bezel. This is very attractive, but the addition of the separate flying lugs arrangement is inspired! These sweep quickly and deeply back in order to present the watch beautifully on the wrist, without overpowering the overall case design.
At 35mm in diameter, excluding the IWC signed crown, the oversized watch case is exceptionally large for an IWC automatic of this period. The case measures 40mm overall, including the lugs, so the watch appears larger on the wrist.
The watch case is in immaculate condition with no marks at all visible to the naked eye. In fact, with no marks even to show the case has been opened! The case-back is of full thickness and has never been inscribed. Inside the case-back all is correct and as expected: Signed IWC Schaffhausen, with the early IWC brand and Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks. The case also carries the external case number 1390458.
Please note, as ever our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
This is the original Cal.8521 automatic movement which was part of the Cal.852 series which was hugely successful for IWC and one of the best automatic movements ever produced. It is absolutely immaculate and signed ‘International Watch Co’ and ‘Swiss’ twice, once on the movement and once on the rotor. The movement is also marked Cal. 8521 and 21 Jewels with themserial number 1413268 which dates this watch to 1957/58. The 44 hour power reserve movement has been given a full overhaul and service and it is keeping time to within +2 seconds per day, confirmed by our electronic Timegrapher. This is outstanding for an automatic of this age! We are very happy to offer a 12 months warranty on this watch movement and will be very pleased to assist you with servicing in future.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid
The Strap & Buckle
The watch is fitted with a new high quality brown calf leather strap and gold-plated 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. We can also obtain most types and colours from our watch strap partners at WatchObsession 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 the watch, the numbers and markings are all correct, dating this watch to 1957/1958.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The high quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included with the watch.
This beautiful circa 1957/58 vintage IWC is in superb condition, ready for use and completely practical and wearable today. It represents excellent value for money especially is such superb condition. It is a highly desirable vintage gold watch from one of horology’s most respected names which will provide an excellent investment as well as something 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.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. 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.
If you have any questions, please call us on 0207 727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at sensible prices. Please see here.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.
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- Store Name: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
- Vendor: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
96 Kensington High Street
United Kingdom (UK)
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