IWC Celebrates The 75th Birthday Of An Icon

Watches | 27 April 2015

In 2015, IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the 75th birthday of a watch family steeped in tradition: the Portugieser. In keeping with its jubilee, the new Portugieser collection comes with a host of technological and design modifications as well as new features. Furthermore, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer is developing more of its own in-house movements and plans to launch three new calibre families in the years ahead. Initiating this move is the 52000-calibre family, which is found in four models in the new Portugieser collection.The newly designed annual calendar celebrates its debut and the perpetual calendar with its digital large date display is likewise welcomed into the Portugieser portfolio.

“With the 75th jubilee of the Portugieser in 2015, IWC is celebrating the birthday of a genuine icon,” says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “The Portugieser is not only one of our oldest and best-known watches but probably also the most prestigious of our brand.” In the 1930s, its simple, classic design was way ahead of its time. In terms of precision, its pocket watch movement set a new benchmark while establishing a trend towards larger wristwatches that has made the IWC family popular worldwide and assured it of instant recognition. “With a wealth of sophisticated complications and movements, the Portugieser line has for many years come to symbolize our expertise as manufacturers of movements,” explains Georges Kern. “None of our other watch families incorporates so many of the technical tours de force of haute horlogerie.”

But the centrepiece of 2015, the IWC Year of the Portugieser,is the newly designed in-house 52000 calibre, which has already been selected for four models in the latest Portugieser collection. The Schaffhausen-based watch manufacturer is also set to focus more on producing in-house movements in the years ahead. With the 69000 and 42000 calibres, IWC will establish two new calibre families to be developed and produced in its own workshops. Georges Kern explains the reasons for the company’s decision to expand the range of movements IWC produces itself: “These newly developed calibres are not only excellent additions to our existing product portfolio; they also set new technical and aesthetic standards. They will help us to develop as a brand, and to continue positioning IWC as a company which is internationally successful in the area of haute horlogerie.”

The New IWC Portugieser Watches:

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Portugieser Annual Calendar (Ref. 5035)

The new Portugieser Annual Calendar (Ref. 5035) is IWC’s first annual calendar. The month, date and day are shown in three separate, semicircular windows at “12 o’clock”. The date switching mechanism is able to take the differing lengths of the individual months into account but not those for the differing numbers of days in February owing to leap years. The newly developed 52850 calibre has twin barrels to supply the additional torque required to advance the three display discs. Thanks to the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary”(Ref. 3972), the Portugieser watch family now includes a model featuring a large digital display for the date and month. This exclusive timepiece brings together all IWC’s expertise in its in-house 89801 calibre, which has a perpetual calendar featuring a leap year indicator and quick action switch for the large displays as well as a chronograph with flyback function. The Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary” (Ref. 5102) is right at the heart of the watch family. Its purist design is starkly reminiscent of the original Portugieser (Ref. 325) from the 1930s. But its IWC-manufactured 59215 calibre with an 8-day power reserve is at the leading edge of the industry. The most important design change in the new Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph (Ref. 3905) is immediately obvious: the case diameter has been reduced from 45.4 millimetres to 43.5 millimetres. IWC has heeded requests from many potential buyers who expressed a wish for a slightly smaller version of the sportiest model in the Portugieser watch line. The width of the new rubber strap has also been modified to fit the watch’s character: slim and sporty. Thanks to its elegant design, moderate case height and eminent suitability for everyday use, the Portugieser Chronograph (Ref. 3714) seems destined to retain its status as the most popular of all the Portugieser watches in this anniversary year. For the new collection, IWC has further improved the technological and design features of the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar with a double moon (Ref. 5034) and the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar with a single moon (Ref. 5033). From 2015, both models will be equipped with IWC-manufactured movements from the new IWC 52000- calibre family, featuring solid red gold rotors and blued screws. The watches will also have arched-edge front glasses and luxurious Santoni straps. 

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