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It was nearly a decade ago that Swiss luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen launched watches under its Da Vinci line. Back then, the watches had cases shaped like a barrel in profile - not round, like most watches.
In January, a new Da Vinci collection will make its official debut with - yes - a round case. That's when they will star in IWC's latest watch collection to be presented in Switzerland at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) - one of two of the world's largest watch fairs.
IWC offered a sneak peek of the new watches last month in Hong Kong, where its head honchos pointed out that the brand is bidding farewell to the tonneau case. The change also signals a return "to the classic proportions the brand stands for", so says IWC's outgoing CEO Georges Kern.
Mr Kern is slated to take on a bigger role in Richemont, the Swiss luxury group which owns IWC and other watch brands such as Cartier, Montblanc and Jaeger LeCoultre.
But the bigger change is the new emphasis on women's timepieces - and giving them star treatment in a cast that includes two highly complicated men's watches powered by new movements. Mr Kern adds that IWC will ramp up its marketing efforts to sell the new ladies' Da Vinci watches - largely through the digital medium.
The focus on women comes as a big surprise, coming from a brand that takes great pride in its masculine image - an image it has invested a lot of money and effort to build.
Then again, women have always been attracted to IWC's big watches, especially those in its Pilot range. In response, the brand began in 2014 to downsize a few of its models in the Portofino and (in 2016) Pilot lines in an attempt to broaden IWC's appeal. Now with the new Da Vinci collection, IWC is making a formal, giant step into the women's watch market.
Mr Kern lets on to the media invited to its pre-SIHH event that when IWC conceived the latest Da Vinci watches, they thought of women's watches seriously "for the first time ever". It's an important revelation given that it hints at a major shift in mindset within IWC's top management that will affect not just the Da Vinci range, but the brand's other product lines as well.
Mr Kern adds that the brand would have sporty women's watches in the Pilot's selection, elegant ones under the Portofino line and dressy timepieces in Da Vinci. IWC will soon introduce a fourth female line to complete the women's collection, he says. This should come from the remaining Aquatimer or Ingenieur offering. Mr Kern rules out the Portuguese models, because they are supposed to be big watches.
Industry-wide, IWC's latest Da Vinci collection underscores the rising power of women in a declining watch market. Officine Panerai, among the roughly 11 watch brands in Richemont's stable, now appears to be the only one left still making watches exclusively for men - though that hasn't stop women from wearing them.
Mr Kern, who has been appointed to oversee watch-making, digital and marketing at Richemont next year, makes no direct reference to the soft market condition when he explains why IWC is branching into women's watches. The management "felt we were ready" when they launched the Portofino ladies' range, he says. But he also points out that women account for a huge share of the market for luxury timepieces.
Mr Kern insists that the brand must not kill its masculine image. Of course, IWC needs to preserve its share of male customers who provide the brand's main source of revenue. But it also doesn't want to lose its existing female fans - and IWC believes there are plenty more women out there to tap. With these new models, there will be plenty for them to choose from.
Just don't expect IWC to make dainty, delicate watches. There's a line to be drawn on how feminine IWC will go, and it has decided it will not make cases smaller than 36mm. Mr Kern says IWC doesn't want its watches for women to be "flower power stuff and cheesy feminine" - and the women who buy them wouldn't want it that way, either.
It may be a tricky balance, but he believes it can be done.
In any case, making women's watches is not new to IWC. It's a measure of the success of the brand's all-male image that not many people know the company has been producing - and selling - women's watches since 1875.
Initially, they made pocket watches. But by the 1920s, IWC's catalogues were showing off ladies' wrist watches and the brand was making smaller movements for them. In the 1970s, IWC was selling luxury women timepieces adorned with elaborate jewellery.
The 1980s saw the debut of sporty and innovative women's watches. Many of them were popular, especially the Da Vinci Lady Chronograph, which was launched in 1988 and has since become a much sought-after classic.
Three models are offered for preview in the new Da Vinci collection: the Automatic 36 and Automatic Moon Phase 36 tailored for women; and the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph complication for men. There's also a unisex version of the Automatic 36, which features a larger case.
The women's models are not just smaller and slimmer, but also more feminine in design. The crown which controls the winding and adjustment of the time is rounded and the dial has a recessed inner circle. The models come in gold cases with diamond-set bezels and alligator leather straps of many colours.
Engraved on the case-back of the watches is the "Flower of Life", a geometrical figure which has several regularly overlapping circles and was the object of intensive study and numerous drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. For IWC, it's a metaphor for the marriage of creativity, technology and beauty.
IWC says the return to the round watch case in the latest Da Vinci collection signals a homecoming for the "classic proportions" which the brand believes in. It also symbolises how IWC has come full circle to make women's watches again.