Pre-SIHH 2018 – Hands-On with the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years
As part of the new “150 Years” collection, which already includes two superb watches, the re-edition of the Pallweber and the Portugieser Tourbillon Constant Force, IWC treats us with an unprecedented combination of complications, integrated inside the iconic Portugieser case. Using the classical nautical look of this model with the addition of the new lacquered dials, here is the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years, introduced as a Pre-SIHH 2018 novelty, and part of the 27 special watches that the brand will unveil at the 2018 Geneva watch fair.
What if you could mix these two watches in one… In short (very short), this is what IWC has done to create the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years IW504501
Take a look at the IWC Portugieser collection, pick up two of the most complicated models, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503302 and the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde IW504601, put them both in a cocktail shaker, add a zest of heritage (150 years old minimum), then shake it vigorously for a few seconds, open the shaker and… Magic, you obtain the first Portugieser to combine a Perpetual Calendar and a Tourbillon Regulator. Ok, this might sound a bit too easy, but in a simplified and shortened way, this is what IWC has done here. Taking the base movement of the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde and adding on top a different module, with a perpetual calendar – however not entirely the one found in other Portugieser Perpetual Calendar watches.
It would be taking shortcuts to say that IWC just took some parts here and there to create a new watch. Yet, the new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years IW504501 is certainly a mix of existing movements, modules and displays. As part of the 150-year collection (IWC was founded by F.A. Jones in 1868), this watch had to come with something special. While a tourbillon or a perpetual calendar are known territories for the iconic Portugieser, their combination in a single watch is – to my own surprise, I have to admit – something never done before.
The technical base of this the movement of the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde, from which it takes the base movement, is from the 51900 family. On top of it, IWC took their classical perpetual calendar module, known to be perfectly proportioned to fit the large diameter of the collection, with an indication of the day, the date, the month, the moon, the year with 4 digits and the power reserve. Classical and proven. Yet, because the Calibre 51950 that equips this watch features a flying tourbillon at 12, the moon phase, usually placed right there, had to be repositioned at 6, inside the sub-dial reserved to the month. In fact, this sounds like an almost natural position if you look at most of the QPs available on the market.
Besides featuring many indications (9 in total), the dial of the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years doesn’t feel packed and keeps the signature elements, dear to this collection of watches: legibility, stylized Arabic numerals, railroad minute track and leaf hands for the hours and minutes. For this edition, IWC integrates the newly developed lacquer dials, which will be found in all the watches of this jubilee collection. Made of multiple layers of translucent lacquer, flat-polished, brushed and then imprinted several times to obtain a 3D effect on the indexes and tracks, this dial feels like antique enamel, with a glossy surface and a surprising depth. Pleasant, elegant and well executed, these dials are really bringing a new dimension to the collection.
This Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon comes in a 45mm 18k red gold case, with the usual Portugieser design – large case, thin bezel, elongated but curved lugs and the recently updated box-sapphire on top. One specificity of this edition are the hands, which are blued steel, and not matching the case as it used to be the case before – again, a reference to antique watches. On the wrist, no surprise, this version is very much a Portugieser and wears large and rather heavy, but… That’s what the Portugieser is all about.
As for the mechanics of this IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years, we have the calibre 51950. Based on the same movement as the Tourbillon Retrograde, it shares its automatic winding system, with 7 days power reserve (168 hours) thanks to a twin-barrel. The movement is regulated by a one-minute flying tourbillon (cantilevered from the main-plate, without bridge on top) that operates at the unusual frequency of 2.75Hz or 19,800vph.
The back shows a movement nicely decorated, with the traditional IWC style. Under the solid gold rotor, a large 3/4 plate reveals many of the technical parts, making this movement quite lively even from the back side. The module on top displays a perpetual calendar function in the signature IWC way, which includes an indication of the year with 4 digits.
The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years IW504501 will be limited to 50 pieces, priced at EUR 110,000. More details on iwc.com.
Technical Specifications – IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years
- Case: 45mm diameter x 15.3mm height – 18 red gold case, polished and brushed – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre 51950, in-house – self-winding – 2.75Hz frequency – 168 hours / 7 days power reserve – perpetual calendar and tourbilon
- Strap: black alligator leather strap by Santoni – 18k red gold folding clasp
- Reference: IW504501
- Limited Edition: 50 pieces
- Price: EUR 110,000