Rosamund Pike on IWC’s new women’s replica watches collection

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Rosamund Pike sporting a rose gold, 36mm IWC Da Vinci replica watch

“I became interested in replica watches because I’m such a terrible timekeeper,” admits Rosamund Pike. The British actress and ambassador for IWC replica glances at the timepiece adorning her wrist, a bracelet version of the brand’s new 36mm Da Vinci automatic with a delicate diamond bezel and round date window. The rose-gold case goes nicely with her pink and black metallic cocktail dress – something of a development for a brand whose slogan not so long ago was “engineered for men”.

I put this to her. “Oh, that’s an invitation to storm the bastion!” she replies. This is the first time in decades that replica IWC has openly courted the women’s market, although it has long had female ambassadors, including Cate Blanchett. Three years ago it launched the 37mm version of its dress watch range, the Portofino, with a diamond bezel and coloured strap, which it coyly described as “for the smaller wrist” – the campaign pictures featured women wearing dinner suits.

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IWC 36mm Da Vinci watches for women, in rose gold, rose gold with diamonds on a bracelet and steel with diamonds and a pink alligator strap

The 36mm Pilot’s Fake Watch Automatic which launched last year, with its deep blue dial and strap, opened the door for the new feminine style of the reborn Da Vinco collection. Inspired by a 1980s perpetual-calendar model, it returns from a tonneau to a round case.

The Da Vinci is also available with a dramatic 12 o’clock moon phase and an engraved “Flower of Life” case-back, as well as the choice of a bracelet or colourful Santoni alligator straps. There is also a 40mm men’s automatic version with a square date window.

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The IWC Da Vinci 36 moon-phase in steel, with diamond bezel and Santoni strap

While IWC is making incursions into the women’s market, Pike says she’ll happily wear some of the men’s models too. “I like a man’s watch on a woman; it can make your wrist look slimmer. One of my favourites is the Big Pilot – it looks cool on a man and I love the history and the stories behind it, but I admit it’s too big for me to wear. I do wear the Portugieser, which is so elegant but has all the detail of a sporty chronograph.”

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She tells me about her first watch, a much-loved Swatch when she was a child. “A proper watch with hands,” she adds. “I never liked digital replica watches. The magic was in watching the passage of time on this tiny dial.”

Pike – who most recently starred in A United Kingdom, about the 1940s marriage of an Englishwoman to the prince of Botswana – says she prefers a bracelet to a strap. “When you’re all over the world filming – I’ve been in southern Africa and Morocco recently, and it can be extremely hot and humid – a bracelet is just more comfortable, and it turns a woman’s fake watch into a piece of jewellery.”

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The IWC Da Vinci 36 in steel with blue dial

She is at ease talking about functions and complications, though makes no claims to a deep technical knowledge. “My grandmother used to make beautiful clothes, so I grew up with a knowledge of fine details,” she says.

“I like complications such as the beautiful Da Vinci moon phase. I hanker after a minute repeater, but I think that will remain a dream.” If Pike is hinting that she would like this to be a future IWC complication for women, she’s far too discreet to say so.

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IWC to sell $121 Swiss replica watches online in UK tie-up

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IWC Schaffhausen Portofino 37 Midsize Automatic watch.

IWC Schaffhausen timepieces costing as much as $121 will go on sale on Yoox Net-a-Porter Group’s websites next week, as the Swiss replica watchmaker tests whether online shoppers might help pull it out of an industry slump.

The Net-a-Porter and Mr. Porter fashion sites will offer models including the Portofino and Portugieser in UK’s most expensive watch collection yet, according to Federico Marchetti, chief executive officer of the online luxury retailer. Switzerland’s Richemont owns IWC as well as a minority stake in UK.

After an initial reluctance due to the high price tags, Swiss replica watchmakers are increasingly dipping into the $34 billion luxury e-commerce market as exports have declined for 15 straight months. This is IWC’s first online foray, catching up with companies such as Hermes, which sells $250 timepieces on its website, and LVMH, which hired an executive from Apple Inc. to lead its digital push. UK expects the alliance may help attract more watch brands to join its sites.

“IWC is the first watch brand that is going to bring the hard luxury replica watches category to the next level,” Marchetti said in a phone interview. The company’s success in selling $250 Valentino handbags and Pomellato jewelry has shown there’s demand for such products, he said. “There’s no resistance on price.”

UK’s watch and jewelry sales are expected to reach 100 million euros by 2020, Marchetti said. The highest priced watches on Mr. Porter’s site so far are brands such as Zenith and Bremont that sell for more than $200.

Reluctant Industry

Another reason why Swiss replica watch brands have been slow to embrace e-commerce is that typically clients want to try on the products. The industry gets less than 2 percent of sales through direct e-commerce sites, estimates Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel.

Richemont helped form the Milan-based online retailer by merging its Net-a-Porter unit with Yoox last year. Sales of luxury goods online have increased 77 percent from 2011, according to researcher Euromonitor.

A Deloitte survey in September showed that, for the first time, Swiss watch executives plan to expand more in e-commerce than in other channels such as their own stores. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert last week said all its brands need to boost online marketing as he overhauled management amid a 43 percent profit decline.

UK reported organic sales growth of 19 percent in the third quarter, with revenue reaching 435.4 million euros.

“Watchmakers are becoming more open to the idea of e-commerce,” UK’s Marchetti said.

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IWC Releases 27 Portugieser Replica Watches in Honor of American Founder

— The $157 limited-edition timepiece is designed for fans of the Portugieser line.

The International Watch Company (now IWC) was founded in 1868 by an American from a small town in New Hampshire. Having made watches since he was 16, Florentine Ariosto Jones started the company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, before he turned 30, with the hopes of selling well-made Swiss replica watches to an American audience. It didn’t quite turn out that way; less than a decade later, he was removed from the company and returned to the U.S. IWC survived the break and is now one of the best-known watch brands in the world—and it doesn’t hold a grudge.

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The Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D. H. Craig USA.”

Despite those rocky years, IWC announced that, in an effort to honor Jones, it will make a limited edition of 27 units of a fake watch it’s calling the Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D.H. Craig USA,” timed to hit the market on the centenary of Jones’s death.

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And what’s in that name and why the odd number?

The number 27 is a nod to Jones’s age when he founded the company, and the name “D.H. Craig” belongs to Jones’s uncle. (Back story: The watchmaker’s most famous mechanism while he was running IWC replica in Switzerland was called the Jones 2N Pattern H caliber, and he had his uncle’s name inscribed in the metal to honor the man he viewed as a mentor. Putting someone’s name on a watch movement as a tribute was a common practice then.)

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The watch itself is a spin on the manual Portugieser Tourbillon, with the tourbillon beating at the 9 o’clock hour on the face. Like previous offerings, the case is rose gold, but here the hands and indexes are blued steel, which increases overall legibility and adds an appropriately vintage feel to the piece.

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F.A. Jones’s signature is on the face, and alongside the sapphire caseback you can see “D.H. Craig” stamped into the gold, as well as its unit number (1 to 27). The replica watch is water-resistant to 30 meters and holds its power for 54 hours. Collectors who buy one will also get a numbered passport made by the same shoemaker (Santoni) who created the black alligator strap for the watch.

The Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D.H. Craig USA” will be sold for $157 only at boutiques in New York and London.

In tandem with this new release, IWC is teaming up with an organization called Save America’s Clocks, which aims to document and preserve street clocks across the country. Together they will target a specific clock in New York to save and maintain.

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