Twenty years ago IWC debuted its Grande Complication, and at SIHH 2010, the 657-component movement made its first ever appearance in a Portuguese case. Dubbed the flagship of the Portuguese fleet, the automatic-winding 79091 caliber offers a chronograph that records up to 12 hours, perpetual calendar displaying the day, date, month and the complete year in four digits, moon phase accurate to 1 day in 122 years, minute repeater, and small hacking seconds.
IWC’s original Grande Complication required 7 years of development to make so many complications fit in a wearable wristwatch. Though the movement is highly complex, the dial displays are crystal clear, and the 4 digit year display at 8 o’clock has become a signature visual reference point. The 45mm case is well proportioned, and remarkably for a minute repeater, it offers 3 bar water resistance. In keeping with the spirit of the Portuguese seafarers, the caseback is engraved with a sextant, and the silver dial features an engraved globe with lines of longitude and latitude, positioned in the correct 23.4-degree angle of inclination of the terrestrial axis.
The previous Grande Complication will continue to be built in parallel with the new Portuguese model, which will be limited to 50 numbered examples annually. The Portuguese Grande Complication is priced at $217,000.
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IWC Portuguese Grande Complication
Grande Complication with 657 mechanical components, automatic chronograph movement, perpetual calendar with display of the day, date, month and the complete year in four digits, perpetual moon phase, minute repeater, small hacking seconds, engraving of a sextant on the case back
Power reserve: 44 h
Materials: watch and folding clasp in 18 ct red gold, silver-plated dial, dark brown alligator leather strap with 18 ct red gold stitching
Glass: sapphire, arched edge, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant: 3 bar