Steady hand, sharp eye-sight…the invitation to attend a IWC Watchmaking Master Class seemed a tad beyond my capabilities, as those who know me can affirm.
Never let it be said that I am not prepared to give watchmaking it a shot. Even if it’s just for a few hours.
The location of the class was the Sky Venue, Sydney Tower. The weather, perfect.
I arrived to find tables set up with branded boxes of watchmaking tools that I immediately wanted to open and investigate, but I had to be patient.
There was plenty to look at before everyone arrived - display cabinets filled with goodies from all of IWC’s current collections, although they did not include the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia, alas.
The media masterclass was hosted by Edwin de Vries (Brand Manager of IWC) and Edwin Jesus (master watchmaker from Richemont Australia), and involved us taking apart and re-assembling IWC’s Cal. 98200 pocket watch movement.
After introductory drinks and canapes, Edwin de Vries gave a presentation about the history and product lines of IWC, after which watchmaker Edwin, with the aid of a powerpoint presentation and many trips around the table, guided us in taking apart much of the movement – bridges, wheels (no springs), and then re-assembling it.
Taking the movement apart.
Time to put it back together again.
Brett was a natural
We were valiant in our efforts, and only a few nascent watchmakers lost a screw. I err ‘misplaced’ one of my screws for a couple of minutes, and required Edwin the watchmaker’s patient help on a number of occasions due to having (well that’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it) one or two issues with the wheels, but in the end, I managed to to re-assemble it, and have it ticking away once more.
Look, it's working!
Respect for watchmakers increased a thousand-fold.
Every year, IWC’s watchmaking school receives some 300 applications. Four graduate.
After the hours of hard work as wannabe watchmakers, we moved downstairs to the private room at Becasse for lunch.
Entrance to Becasse - four seasons
An intimate space (seating a maximum of 12) with subdued lighting, it was easy to forget that it was the middle of the day. I had been wanting to try Becasse at its new location. The service and the food – superb.
Amuse bouche no.1
Bread selection - made by their dedicated bakery
Amuse bouche no.2
First course :
Bespoke spring vegetable garden
Petuna ocean trout, king prawn, local radishes and Vietnamese dressing
Forgotten vegetables, smoked pork jowl, scampi tails and aromas of cedar
Second course :
Darling Downs wagyu, Jerusalem artichoke, burnt butter and porter ale
Hapuku cooked in wasabi leaf, cuttlefish, grilled oyster and cucumber
Third course :
68% Alto Beni Zokoko chocolate cadeu and salted black cumin caramel
(with chocoate mousse)
(with chocoate mousse)
Silken lemongrass and blood orange caramel, strawberry crunch with vanilla yoghurt sorbet
The food - what can I say? The dishes that I ate (spring vegetable garden, Darling Downs wagyu, lemongrass and blood orange) were an absolute delight; the garden could convert even the most ardent carnivore, the wagyu melted to the touch, and the dessert's combinations of flavours totally spot on.
As for the watches - which is my favourite IWC? I have been enamoured of the Vintage Collection Aquatimer for a while (the Vintage collection is my favourite of their ‘families’), and the Portugueses are probably the most popular of the brand’s lines amongst my watch friends.
Many thanks to Brett and IWC for an immensely enjoyable (and educational) time.