The year 2015 is the year of the Portugieser. IWC developed an annual calendar powered by the new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre.
In 2015 IWC continues to enhance its watch families with new in-house designed and manufactured complications. After the Portugieser minute repeater (1995), the Portugieser 7-day power reserve (2000), the Portugieser perpetual calendar (2003), the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère (2004), the Portugieser constant-force tourbillon (2011) and the recent Portugieser 8-day hand-wound movement (2013) it is now the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar that starts to court for the sought after and limited space on our wrists.
The Portugieser Annual Calendar is powered by the new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre. The watch symbolizes the launch of an IWC initiative to produce further series of in-house calibre families in the years ahead. Located at “12 o’clock” on the dial, IWC’s annual calendar shows the month, date and day in three separate, semi-circular windows. The switching mechanism automatically takes into account the differing lengths of individual months. Unlike a perpetual calendar, however, the annual calendar is unable to factor in the differing length of the month of February or the leap years. Once a year, then, at the end of February, it requires manual correction. For the development of the annual calendar module, IWC’s watch designers ensured that the correction could be carried out easily and conveniently using the crown. Thanks to this elegant solution, the engineers were able to dispense with a corrector, which would have compromised the Portugieser Annual Calendar’s purist design.
In order to free up as much space as possible for the date display, IWC replaced the indices from “11 o’clock” to “1 o’clock” with the three display discs. The “American” order in which the date is shown was not only necessary from a technical and design point of view, but is also homage to F. A. Jones, IWC’s American founder.
With its voluminous 44.2-millimetre case, grooved bezel, classic railway-track-style chapter ring, slim feuille hands and almost unchanged Arabic numerals, the Portugieser Annual Calendar very closely resembles the original Portugieser of 1939, a veritable design icon.
The small seconds subdial, however, is not positioned at “6 o’clock” as in the original, but at “9 o’clock”. The subdial on the opposite side contains the power reserve display. I am pretty sure that the rare combination of an annual calendar and 168-hour calibre (seven days power reserve) will make this latest complication an attractive for watch connoisseurs.
Overall, it took IWC’s watch designers almost five years to develop the annual calendar. Whereas they had been able to draw on in-house experience when developing the perpetual calendar, this was not the case during the development of the annual calendar. The new in-house 52850 calibre is the perfect choice for the annual calendar because it has two barrels to provide the higher torque required to drive the three display discs. In addition, when fully wound, the twin barrels supply enough energy for a full week’s runtime.
The Portugieser Annual Calendar will be available in 18-carat red gold (Ref. IW503504) with a silver-plated dial or in stainless steel with a silver-plated (Ref. IW503501) or mid-night blue (Ref. IW503502) dial. The fine sun-pattern finish on the blue dial reflects incident light dynamically in a myriad directions.
All versions of the watch are fitted with black Santoni alligator leather straps. The arched-edge sapphire glass makes the case look slimmer and underscores the watch’s classic elegance. The curved strap horns ensure greater comfort even on slimmer wrists. The see-through sapphire-glass back provides an unimpeded view of the new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre.
The steel version will be sold for 23.000 CHF, the red gold version for 34.000 CHF…
Across the entire IWC 52000-calibre family, the rotors have been made slimmer, while the bridges are more open and inset with a solid gold “Probus Scafusia” medallion. This way, even more details of the movement with its two barrels can be seen. The improved Pellaton winding system with the practically wear-free components made of black and white ceramic is also clearly visible.
Good to know…
This is how an annual calendar functions: the hour wheel sets in motion the date advance wheel, which is equipped with two different advance fingers. One of the fingers is responsible for the date and month displays, the other for the weekday display. Every day, towards midnight, the date is moved forward with the help of the upper advance finger. Two pins on the date disc control the month display and the programme wheel, which defines the lengths of the various months. The first of these pins advances the programme wheel by one division. A feeler on the advance lever recognizes months with 30 days by a deeper notch on the program wheel and provides more space for it to switch. The following day, the advance lever ensures that the date moves forward by two days. The second pin in the date disc sets the new month.
What do you think guys?
Do you like the annual calendar from IWC?
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