By Gordon Henderson
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of IWC’s Portugieser line, the brand has unveiled the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital-Date Month Edition “75th Anniversary.” For the most part, the lengthy name lists the complications found in the piece, and, given the breadth of features listed, it would appear IWC has paid proper tribute to the line that was created at the request of the Portuguese Navy.
The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital-Date combines the classical styling aesthetics of this great collection, with a few modern touches – designed to take the line forward for the next 75 years. As stated earlier, the 45mm watch is a real powerhouse, hosting a bevy of complications: perpetual calendar, large digital date and month displays, leap year indicator and chronograph with flyback function.
At the heart of this complexity is IWC’s in-house-made proprietary caliber with column-wheel chronograph, quick action switch and double pawl winding. Essentially what this allows for is the efficient transfer of energy from one function of the watch to the other. Each night as the date display advances, a portion of the energy is stored and then redistributed at the end of the month, year and leap year to adjust the appropriate disk. The dial on the perpetual calendar is accurate through 2100, and setting the various features is handled seamlessly with the crown.
Featured prominently at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions are the digital date and month windows. The oversized date design has recently gained a lot of popularity among collectors, and many top brands have implemented it, but IWC Schaffhausen is a master at it – having first produced pieces featuring similar design elements as early as 1884. (The pieces, known as Pallweber watches, displayed hours and minutes using numerals while seconds were tracked in an analog form with a hand.)
Completing the dial at 12 o’clock, the hour and minute chronograph totalizer take a prominent position, while the running second hand and the leap year indicator are harmoniously balanced at the 6 o’clock position. On the reverse side –through the sapphire display back– the caliber 89801 proudly shows off its gorgeous 18-karat rose gold rotor. The “75th Anniversary” will be a limited edition piece with 25 available in platinum for $66,800 and 75 available in rose gold with either a black or silver plated dial for $52,700.