We’ve looked at a variety of case materials here on WWR – and today brings another one into the fold that I don’t believe we’ve look at before (watch or material) – the IWC Compass Watch / Mirror, which features a case and bracelet made of aluminum.
Of immediate interest, of course, is the fact that aluminum is used. In my searching, I’ve not uncovered many watches fully made out of aluminum; if anything, they use it as some side feature (ie, the bezel) on a steel watch. Any which way, IWC opted to use aluminum in this watch due to the compass hiding underneath the dial – I can only assume that steel would interfere with the compass reading.
Outside of the aluminum and compass, you have a fairly standard mechanical three-hander with a date display (albeit designed by Porsche Design). As to the finish, the watch was available in two: black and olive drab. With a 38mm case width, it should fit onto most wrists. This could be a handy watch if you were in the habit of orienteering with a map (rather than today’s GPS devices), but it would not be a cheap proposition. In the secondary market, they appear to be selling for $5500 (as this example, from Princeton Watches, is going for).
If you’d prefer something of a more recent vintage, you’re in luck – IWC and Porsche Design are still collaborating on watch designs, and they have made a newer one that also hides a compass, as Ariel Biggs wrote about back in 2008.