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The Updated IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44

Little changes are making a big difference, and the new Portugieser versions with the brand's signature complication stay perpetually cool.

| By Denis Peshkov | 3 min read |

IWC Schaffhausen has undertaken a comprehensive reworking and refinement of one of its most iconic models, the Portugieser collection. At Watches and Wonders this week in Geneva, four new versions are unveiled: two in white gold with blue and sand-coloured dials and two in Armor Gold with black and silver dials. And there’s more to them than just new colours.

The perpetual calendar stands as a hallmark complication across all the IWC’s collections, owing much to the pioneering module developed by Kurt Klaus in the 1980s, which encapsulates the essence of IWC’s engineering ethos. The module offers exceptional autonomy and reliability yet comprises a modest number of parts for a perpetual calendar. Still, IWC’s dedication to advancing and refining the calendar complication has been unwavering. The debut of the first Portugieser with a perpetual calendar in 2003 was marked by enhancements to the moon phase display, including integrating a larger reduction gear within the more spacious case dimensions, thereby increasing accuracy from 122 to 577.5 years. Another notable innovation was the introduction of the patented Double Moon display, which accurately depicts the moon phase observed in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

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The updated and refined 44.4mm (up by 0.2mm) case of the new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar now features a slimmer middle band and a more slender profile yet maintains a height of 14.9mm. Enhancing its elegance are glass-box-type sapphire crystals on both the front and back of the watch, contributing to a reduction in overall weight. Notably, the water resistance has been enhanced, reaching 50m compared to the previous 30m.

Considerable attention has also been lavished on the dials. The representations have undergone revisions, and the dials of the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar references have been painstakingly crafted with 15 layers of transparent lacquer, finely ground and polished to achieve a glossy effect. The calendar subdials are intricately milled into the brass base and the lacquer layer.

Hand-mounted applied indices adorn the dials, which maintain the classic layout: the weekday subdial is positioned at 9 o’clock, incorporating the running seconds, while the date subdial shares space with the power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, the month subdial is featured, with the year indicator to its left. Completing the calendar features is the signature Double Moon display at 12 o’clock. All the displays are perfectly synchronised and are set via the crown, all thanks to Kurt Klaus’s ingenious invention.

The new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar timepieces come in various iterations: white gold case with Horizon blue dials featuring rhodium-plated hands and indices, white gold case with Dune-colored dials adorned with gold-plated hands and gold indices, and Armor Gold-cased watches with Obsidian black and silver-plated dials, all complemented by gold-plated hands and hour markers.

The IWC-manufactured 52616 movement drives these timepieces, operating at 28,800 vibrations/hour and comprising 385 components, with only 81 dedicated to the calendar module. The escapement has been enhanced to provide superior protection against magnetic fields. The automatic Pellaton winding system has components crafted from almost wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic, while the oscillating mass is fashioned from solid gold, observed through the display caseback. A power reserve of 7 days is stored in two barrels. The watch’s mechanically programmed calendar automatically adjusts for varying months and inserts a leap day every four years at the end of February, requiring a visit to a watchmaker in years like 2100 or 2200 (assuming the watch is kept running non-stop) when the leap year is skipped.

These new references IW5037 are paired with calfskin or alligator leather straps handcrafted by the renowned Italian shoemaker Santoni in colours perfectly matching the case materials and dial hues. Prices for the new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar versions start at CHF 45,000. For further details, please visit

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