IWC Schaffhausen dedicated 2020 to the Portugieser. The brand released new watches in the collection; all are equipped with in-house calibres.
On the digital platform of Watches and Wonders the brands presented videos about their new collections. Many CEOs felt that under the current quarantine situation addressing the audience ‘personally’ is the right thing. Some of them seemed more comfortable in front of the camera than others. Christoph Grainger-Herr the CEO of IWC certainly belongs to the ones who used this opportunity well.
He let viewers peek virtually into the new Manufakturzentrum in Schaffhausen inaugurated on 27 August 2018. The development of the 13,500 square metre production facility brought all production phases of the movement components and the manufacture movements under one roof and allowed optimised processes. I was lucky enough to discover the facility, including the 1,000 square metre clean room and watch-movement assembly space in September 2018.
The extensive investment in manufacturing capacities and the excellence in quality achieved have given the confidence to IWC to offer an extended 2+6 year International Limited Warranty under the ‘My IWC’ programme – tells Christoph Grainger-Herr.
Importantly, the novelties are equipped with IWC-manufactured movements. They feature high-end automatic movements from the 52000 and 82000 calibre families, which have Pellaton winding (developed by Albert Pellaton in 1946, the technical director back then at IWC) with ceramic components. In the chronographs, movements from the 89000 (flyback chronograph) and 69000 calibre families ensure precise measurement of stop times. The 59000 is a mono-pusher chronograph.
Portugieser 2020 – ‘The journey is our destination’
Due to their precise movements, IWC watches were used as marine deck observation watches. Still today IWC appears on decks: at the Düsseldorf boat show in January 2020, IWC and Solaris Yachts – builder of top ocean-going sailing yachts since 1974 – announced the offer IWC meteorological instruments (barometer, hygrometer, thermometer and clock) for Solaris customers.
In 1939, two importers from Portugal ordered a series of large wristwatches with legible dial and high-precision calibers. The pieces designed are so timeless that they inspire contemporary models too. The brand defines two other important milestones in the history of the collection. In 1995 Günther Blümlein (a German entrepreneur, a leading character in the revival of the fine-watchmaking industry who played an instrumental role in the resurrection of IWC) introduced emblematic timepieces, the Portuguese Chrono-Rattrapante and the Portuguese Minute Repeater. In 2003, the 86 years old watchmaking-legend Kurt Klaus (former Head of Research and Development of IWC) engineered the Portuguese Perpetual Calendar. His ingenious calibre is easy to set and all adjustments (date, day, month, year in four digits, and the moon phase) can be performed by the crown.
This year two models received a slightly reduced case: 40mm steel or pink gold for the simple and elegant Portugieser Automatic 40, the dial of which is silver plated or blue. The same metal options are available in 42mm for the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar operated by the 82650 movement. The calibre features the perpetual calendar function with date, day, month, leap year and perpetual moon phase indication on three sub-dials.
A very recognisable and classic IWC watch the Portugieser Chronograph has the 69355 calibre, a rugged and precise chronograph movement with a classic column-wheel design. Three new models expand the collection: one with a burgundy dial, an online exclusive version with a green dial and a boutique edition with blue dial and 18k 5N gold case.
IWC would not miss including Haute Horlogerie pieces in the 2020 collection. The Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph combines a tourbillon with a retrograde date display and chronograph, while the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon brings a tourbillon (at 12 o’clock) and perpetual calendar together on the dial. Both models have a pink gold alteration with blue dial, available exclusively in the brand’s boutiques. These high-end watches arrive in a limited edition of 50 pieces, each.
Portugieser Yacht Club
The Portugieser collection has a sub-line, the sporty Yacht Club. The design, the colours, its ruggedness and the water-resistance call for summer sports.
IWC has a long history with sports watches. In 2010, the manufacture designed the Yacht Club flyback chronograph with a variation of bracelets including rubber and textile straps.
The 2020 44.6mm Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph has a filigree bezel and flat casing ring that lend a particular character to the timepiece. It comes with either a stainless steel or a bicolour stainless steel/gold case and bracelet. The bracelet has a fine adjustment system with the travel of 5mm.
The most special timepiece in the new Yacht Club line is the Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide. It is the first watch from IWC to feature the newly developed tide indication. The moon phase display at 12 o’clock features a double moon, showing the moon shape on the northern and southern hemispheres in parallel. A ring on this sub dial signals the spring and neap tides and thus provides information about the strength of the current tides.
A sub-dial at 6 o’clock indicates the expected times for the next high and low tide, for the location the wearer has set.
Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is ‘pulled’ back and forth by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits.
During new moon, the Moon is in between the Earth and the Sun, hence it is dark seeing from the Earth. During full moon, the Earth is in between the Moon and the Sun. When either of these happens, the Earth, Sun and Moon are nearly in alignment and therefore gravitational pull of the Moon is “added” to that of the Sun. High tides are a little higher and low tides are a little lower than average. This is called spring tides – named after the meaning in the sense of jump or rise.
Seven days after a spring tide, the Sun and Moon are at right angles to each other. Because of this the Sun’s gravitational pull partially cancels the Moon’s pull and the high tides are a little lower and low tides are a little higher than average. This is called neap tides.
So in every 29.5 days two spring tides and two neap tides are experienced.
The module for the double moon phase display and the tide display is driven by the IWC-manufactured 82835 calibre. This robust automatic movement features a Pellaton automatic winding system fitted with ceramic components and offers a power reserve of 60 hours.
The design of the watch echoes the yachting mood and the nautical instrument origin of the Portugieser timepieces. It has 18k 5N gold case, blue dial, gold-plated hands, gold appliqués and a blue rubber strap with textile inlay, reminiscent of sailing ropes.
Photo credits: IWC Schaffhausen
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