Pre-SIHH: IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar
2015 marks the 75th anniversary of IWC’s Portuguese collection, and the manufacture has designated it as the Year of the Portugieser. The name is not a typo error – IWC quietly renamed this collection late last year, although the exact reasons for doing so remain a mystery for now. The original Portuguese was created to […]
2015 marks the 75th anniversary of IWC’s Portuguese collection, and the manufacture has designated it as the Year of the Portugieser. The name is not a typo error – IWC quietly renamed this collection late last year, although the exact reasons for doing so remain a mystery for now.
The original Portuguese was created to meet two Portuguese businessmen’s needs for a wristwatch with the precision of a marine chronometer. To do so, IWC housed a large pocket watch movement (then the only ones accurate enough) into a watch measuring 41.5mm across to create the first Portuguese, Ref 325. Its large round case was unusual in a period which favoured dainty square/rectangular watches given the Art Deco movement that was in full swing. This design cue has however grown to become timeless over the years, alongside the alternatingly satin brushed and polished case surfaces, the railway track chapter ring, Arabic numeral indexes, and feuille shaped hands.
Two milestones will dominated 2015 for IWC. Since it’s the Year of the Portugieser, several new models of the collection will be unveiled at SIHH later this year. Besides this, IWC is also moving into the next phase for its watchmaking capabilities, which entails the in-house design and production of base movements for its watches. The confluence of these events explains the manufacture’s pre-SIHH focus – the Portugieser Annual Calendar.The Portugieser Annual Calendar is IWC’s first annual calendar. This complication requires an adjustment just once every year at the end of February, but accounts for the differing lengths of the other 11 months. The watch displays the day, date, and month on three separate apertures at 12 o’clock, and all calendar related adjustments are made via the crown to maintain a streamlined case, which measures 44.2mm here. The movement within it, Calibre 52850, is from the 52000-calibre movement family, the first of three new ones that IWC will progressively introduce in 2015 (52000), 2016 (42000), and 2017 (69000). Annual calendar aside, Calibre 52850 also features twin barrels that gives it a seven day power reserve, which is tracked via the sub-dial at three o’clock.
IWC has included several details that elevates the movement family to a “premium” level. For one, Calibre 52000 movements will be set with a solid gold medallion inscribed with “Probus Scafusia”, which is Latin for “quality craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”. In addition, the pawls, automatic wheel, and rotor core of the Pellaton winding system are made of ceramic for greater durability, due to feedback from the servicing department about abraded winding wheels and pawls. Finally, blued screws complete the aesthetics of the view through the case back.
In contrast to the ultramodern movement within it, the external design of the Portugieser Annual Calendar has seen only slight changes that do not detract from the collection’s DNA. All the details mentioned above remain front and centre in the watch, with notable new ones being the crystal, which now has an arched edge to accommodate a thicker movement without requiring a larger case, and a curved springbar and strap ends to better conform to the wearer’s wrist.
The Portugieser Annual Calendar comes in several different colour variations. Ref. IW503504 has an 18K red gold case and silver plated dial. The other two references in steel, IW503501 and IW503502, have a silver plated and midnight blue dial respectively.