The new releases from Schaffhausen-based IWC are highly anticipated each year, and 2020 is no different. Most years, the Swiss brand trains its focus on revitalizing specific collections, and this year the popular Portugieser family is the one in the spotlight. We’ve previously reviewed the new pieces in the Portugieser Yacht Club sub-family; today we take a look at two high complications in the parent series, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph (ref. IW3940) and Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon (ref. IW5045).
As their model names imply, both timepieces use tourbillon movements and offer a retrograde chronograph and perpetual calendar, respectively. The references are available in limited quantities in rose gold and platinum, each produced with either a familiar silver or blue dial.
The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon has a 45-mm Portugieser case, with curved lugs and a relatively large crown. The dial’s outer edge features a railroad minute track recalling the marine chronometers that originally inspired the series, while applied Arabic numerals decorate most hour positions. Each of the dial’s four sectors hosts a different feature. The right-hand side features an analog date indicator as well as a display for the impressive 7-day power reserve. Opposite this we find a 9 o’clock analog day indicator, with IWC branding at its center and a display for the year slightly below it brushing the 8 o’clock mark. Toward the bottom is an analog month indicator as well as the moon-phase, while the top is dedicated to showcasing the large aperture for the watch’s namesake tourbillon. Passing over the dial are two leaf hands for the hours and minutes. This array of functions is powered by the IWC Caliber 51950, an automatic movement with a gold oscillating rotor, visible via a sapphire caseback. Both the blue-dial and silver-dial versions of the watch are secured to the wrist via a blue alligator leather strap by Santoni.
Moving to the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph, we again find the recognizable Portugieser elements, though this new reference stands out with its stepped bezel and rectangular chronograph pushers. The dial of this model also features many other familiar aspects of the Portugieser design family, like its outer railroad minute track, applied vintage style Arabic numerals, and leaf-style hands for the hour and minutes. Toward the top of the dial is a single subdial incorporating both a 60-minute and 12-hour chronograph counter, while a simple pointer sweeps over the face to keep track of the chronograph seconds; the new reference eschews a display for running seconds. The IWC logo occupies the 3 o’clock position, while opposite it is a very uncommon retrograde date indicator that might appear at first glance, to the uninformed eye, as a power-reserve display. At 6 o’clock is the openworked tourbillon, outlined with a precious metal ring.
Inside the new Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph is the IWC caliber 89900, made in-house by the brand. Like the movement powering its perpetual calendar-equipped sibling, this watch’s automatic mechanism features a gold oscillating weight, though it offers a smaller power reserve of 68 hours. The chronograph movement notably features a flyback mechanism which gently “flies back” the chronograph seconds hand to zero upon reset, giving the watch an uncommon and luxurious aesthetic in its timekeeping.
The Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph will retail for CHF 105,000 in rose gold, and CHF 123,000 in platinum (about $109,000 and $127,000), while the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon will be marked at CHF 115,000 in rose gold and CHF 133,000 in platinum ($119,000 and $138,000). Each model will be limited to 50 pieces, and sold exclusively through IWC boutiques.