The IWC Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "150 years"
1868 – 2018; do these dates ring a bell? Exactly 150 years divide the two dates and it is when a famous manufacture from Schaffhausen - founded by an entrepreneurial American man with a dream of linking together the typical US industrial experience with the Swiss skills in precision mechanics - will celebrate its jubilee and the right moment to rejoice, consolidate and invest.
It is a moment that IWC decided to celebrate not only with the exclusive launch of new collections (that was quite expected, wasn’t it?), but also by unveiling its new vision that can be perceived in those words that the brand’s CEO and Head of Operations uttered during the preview dedicated to the SIHH new releases and during the tour of the new manufacturing facility, respectively. The latter is an important step taken both to increase sales volumes and to consolidate operations into a vertical integrated manufacture (where everything will be produced internally; from digital content to ultra-complicated calibres).
The same way IWC did with its IW94805 calibre that fuses together the tourbillon and the “constant force” into a single movement and that came back on the scene some years ago hosted within an IWC Ingenieur that looked as if it had been just removed from Lewis Hamilton’s wrist at the end of a race.
It is a super-complicated timepiece that, historically speaking, may be overawed only by the Grande Complication. This brings together the romantic aesthetic language of the first 1984 IWC Portofino with its moon surfacing from a three-arch-window (the timepiece was brought directly from the museum during a 2018 Pre-SIHH day), and the “severity” of precision; the result of the union between a minute tourbillon and the constant force that supplies an homogenous release of energy from the first up to the 96th hour of the power reserve of the manual calibre, whose moon phases are correct for at least 577,5 years. As with its famous perpetual calendars, IWC keeps crafting movements that mark the passing of time in an extremely precise manner, whose corrections are only carried out at intervals of generations.
On the IWC Portugieser Constant Force Tourbillon Edition 150 years, technical features – something especially treasured by Florentine Ariosto Jones – give way to decorations on a dial, whose simple white colour might look simple just at first sight. The manufacturer from Schaffhausen introduced a lacquered dial crafted by firstly applying up to twelve layers of fine lacquer that are subsequently polished and brushed to then be printed multiple times;
a special technique borrowed from the Pallweber timepieces; yet another innovation on this jubilee edition and a sign that makes us understand how IWC has started adding in more details to its “engineered for men” watches. The details on the bridges of the calibre are quite beautiful and the pitch holes of the calibre clearly remind us of those present on the distribution gear cascade of an engine.
Fifteen models only, 46mm of platinum, retailing at a price that will be probably disclosed in January. Years ago we all (me included) frantically used to wait for the middle week in January with the same curiosity that I would personally only experience when the new single-seaters are unveiled for the new F1 season, but today’s preview on 1st December is like a marvellous Christmas gift dedicated to every single fan of fine watches.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®