This year, IWC Schaffhausen celebrates its 150th anniversary — and does so with more than two dozen important jubilee timepieces. Prior to SIHH 2018, we brought you a close-up look at one of our favorites, the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years. Now we turn our attention to the two new Portugieser Tourbillon timepieces launched in celebration of a legendary 150 years of watchmaking.
What we like best about IWC’s story is that it began with an American. In 1868, American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen to produce pocket watch movements for the United States. His journey was long and somewhat convoluted, but eventually, he harnessed the power of the Rhine River and opened his state-of-the-art workshops in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Since then, the brand has grown and thrived, so that today it manufactures movements in house and boasts an extensive collection of dress, sport and pilot watches.
Two of the Jubilee pieces we love are in the famed Portugieser family, and both are tourbillon timepieces. The first Portugieser was developed in response to a request in 1939 for the brand to build large, easily readable and incredibly precise wristwatches for the Portuguese Navy. IWC opted to use its pocket watch 74 caliber and turn it into a wristwatch. The first Portugieser, Reference IW325, measured 41.5mm in diameter — larger than anything else on the market at the time. It was easily distinguished by its railway-track chapter ring, Arabic numerals and the slender hands. Today, the Portugieser collection is a key pillar of the brand. As such, it makes sense that IWC would opt to equip two new models with tourbillon escapements.
IWC Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”
Crafted in platinum in a limited edition of just 15 pieces, this Jubilee watch houses the highly complex Manufacture-made hand-wound movement, caliber 94085, with a power reserve of 96 hours. The 46mm watch, Ref. IW590202, combines a constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual moon phase display that is precise without needing an adjustment for 577.5 years. While the precision moon indication is important the patented complex constant-force mechanism is the bigger news — and having both complexities combined in one watch is a win/win combination. Essentially, the constant force works ensures that the watch releases power evenly throughout the entire duration of its power reserve. In this timepiece, the constant force mechanism works in tandem with the tourbillon (which compensates for effects of gravity on the watch when in different positions) to transmit even energy for the entire for the entire 96 hours. The platinum timepiece features an exhibition case back for viewing the meticulously finished hand-wound movement. The dial is white lacquer with blued hands, and the watch is finished with a leather strap by Santoni Sapphire. it retails for approximately $253,000.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years
Also a watch equipped with tourbillon escapement, the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” watch combines the beloved perpetual calendar function with the tourbillon. This watch marks the first time ever that these two complications come together under one Portugieser roof.
Crafted in 18-karat 5N rose gold, the 45mm piece, Ref. IW504501, also features a white dial with a lacquered. The watch displays day, date, month, moon phase and leap-year indications in an easily readable manner. The watch is powered by the Manufacture automatic caliber 51950. In addition to the perpetual calendar functions, the complicated movement incorporates a flying tourbillon escapement consisting of 82 individual parts and weighing just 0.635 grams. The watch has an 18-karat gold rotor with an inlaid IWC anniversary medallion. Despite the fact that this watch offers nine different indications on its dial, it is still incredibly legible. Boasting seven days of power reserve (indicated on the dial side) thanks to a twin barrel, the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years is being made iin a limited edition of just 50 pieces, each retailing for approximately $110,000.
Arguably, each of these Portugieser Tourbillon watches is pricey, yet each has something very special to offer the customer who loves the legacy of the Portugieser.