PORTUGIESER ANNUAL CALENDAR
The new Portugieser Annual Calendar brings together two firsts for IWC and three masterstrokes of haute horlogerie in a single case: the newly developed annual calendar closes the gap between the perpetual calendar and the simple date display. The new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre has two barrels that keep the new function supplied with ample energy and still has enough left for a 7-day power reserve.
IWC continues to enhance its Portugieser watch family with new, eye-catching complications. After the minute repeater(1995), the 7-day power reserve (2000), the perpetual calendar(2003), the Tourbillon Mystère (2004) and the constant-force tourbillon (2011) – to name but a few – the recent 8-day hand-wound movement (2013) consolidated the Portugieser watches’ reputation as one of the leading lights of haute horlogerie.
In 2015, the Year of the Portugieser, IWC’s newly developedannual calendar is another interesting additional feature to complement the perpetual calendar. The complication is powered by the new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre. Both are found for the first time in the Portugieser AnnualCalendar (Ref. 5035). The watch thus 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, semicircular 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 develop¬ment of the annual calendar module, IWC’s watch designersensured that the correction could be carried out easily and conveniently using the crown. Thanks to this elegant solu¬tion, the engineers were able to dispense with a corrector, which would have compromised the Portugieser Annual Calendar’s purist design.
IN THE STYLE OF A DESIGN ICON
In order to free up as much space as possible for the date display, the designers 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 a 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 Portu¬gieser 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. The in-house movement with 7-day power reserve is yet another quantumleap in the history of the Portugieser family. The rare com¬bination of an annual calendar and 168-hour calibre should make this latest complication from the House of IWC even more attractive for watch connoisseurs.
FASCINATING INSIGHT I NTO THE NEW IWC-MANUFACTURED MOVEMENT
The Portugieser Annual Calendar is available in 18-caratred 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-patternfinish on the blue dial reflects incident light dynamically in a myriaddirections. 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 exquisite new IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre.Across the entire 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 barrelscan be seen. The improved Pellaton winding system with the practically wear-free components made of black and white ceramic is also clearly visible.
5 YEARS IN DEVELOPMENT
Overall, it took IWC’s watch designers almost 5 years to develop the annual calendar. Whereas they had been able to draw on in-house experience when developing the perpetualcalendar, 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.
For technology buffs, a brief explanation of the way the annual calendar functions: the hour wheel sets in motion the date advance wheel, which is equipped with two dif¬ferent 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. The month display and the programme wheel, which defines the lengths of the various months, are controlled by two pins on the date disc. 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 programwheel and provides more space for it to switch. The following day, the advance lever ensures that the date moves forward by 2 days. The second pin in the date disc sets the new month.
The 5 years’ development time for the annual calendar was worth the effort. With the Portugieser Annual Calendar, IWC Schaffhausen has given yet another demonstration of its ability to innovate, to expand its in-house watchmaking expertise, and in the process, to extend the repertoire of IWC complications by another attractive and practical additionalfunction.