Porsche Design by IWC The Compass Watch, Automatic, Ref. 3551. Made in the early 1990's. Fine and very unusual, anti-magnetic, center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, black, PVD-coated aluminum wristwatch with double case containing a compass and mirror to determine positions, date, moon phases and a black link bracelet with deployant clasp.
Case: Four body, black PVD-coated, pushbuttons to open the case, inside a mirror and compass to determine positions, sapphire crystal.
Dial: Matte black with 1/4 divisions and luminous baton indexes, aperture for the date at 3 and the moon phases at 12. Luminous white baton hands.
Movement: Cal. 2892, 21 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, self compensating fl at balance-spring, micrometer regulator. Dial, case and movement signed.
Diameter: 40 mm. Thickness: 13 mm.
Approx. overall length 175 mm
Searching for new ways to survive as sales plummeted, IWC made an alliance with Ferdinand A. Porsche and Porsche Design. The first product of that alliance was the revolutionary IWC-Porsche Design compass watch. F.A. Porsche was an industrial designer par excellence. The son of the founder of Porsche automobiles, in 1963 he produced a design triumph, the Porsche 911 automobile. In 1972, he left the family company to establish Porsche Design Studio. His designs were clean, bold and contemporary, following the German Bauhaus design school philosophy of form following function. This approach provided an optimal grounding for IWC to establish new bearings and to again find its way.Battered by the quartz revolution, as well as the increasing price of gold and the Swiss franc, IWC found something important here. An IWC–Porsche Design watch would propel the company forward and would appeal to a younger, upwardly mobile clientele.
The proposed compass watch would embody contemporary design and its mechanics would be unique, combining two precision instruments into one wristwatch. One measured time and the other measured direction. The combination would be unique because both the watch case and movement would be sufficiently anti-magnetic in order to not skew the compass function.
After Porsche Design and IWC entered into a 20-year agreement in March 1978, IWC assumed the difficult role of actually producing the watch. New materials and techniques had to be developed. The design required a hinged double-decker case which was anti-magnetic so the compass could work. A special hardened aluminum light alloy, also anti-magnetic, was used. The watch movement was changed by substituting anti-magnetic rotor bearings.
The original IWC compass watch paved the way for an entire generation of watches from the ingenious IWC-Porsche Design collaboration. Reference 3510 was followed in 1991 by a second compass watch, reference 3511, which had a titanium case that then was considered an exotic watchmaking material. That model in turn was followed in 1985 with reference 3551, a compass watch with a moon phase indication which is the watch we are offering.