Could there be a version of the IWC Portugieser any more popular than the chronograph? You would think not, yet then came, in 2015, the annual calendar: Practical, innovative and good looks, all in a single watch.
With the Portugieser Annual Calendar, IWC did, in fact, something similar to what they did a few decades before with the Da Vinci. The Da Vinci was the very first perpetual calendar that displays the full year. The Portugieser lacks this function, as it is an annual calendar, but does display month, date and day in a single row at the top of the dial.
Although this makes reading quite easy, creating it is not the easiest of a task. Not only do you have to incorporate the gear train to support the annual calendar, but you also need to position them in such a way that the displays line-up. The Portugieser is, however, the ideal watch to accomplish this, as traditionally it has always been a larger watch.
Powered by IWC Manufacture caliber 52850, the Portugieser Annual Calendar retains all the functions we know from the Portugieser Automatic. It is fitted with a Pellaton automatic winding system and has a very generous power reserve of seven days. The date moved to the twelve o’clock location and is now flanked by the month and day indication. Being an annual calendar, it will always display the correct date and month, except for February, when the date needs to be manually reset. Another aspect that I personally truly appreciate in the Portugieser, and the annual calendar is no exception to this, is that when you turn the watch over, you see a small rim around a large, oversized movement. It is quite gratifying to see that the watch you are wearing is nearly all movement, the perfect combination of brawn and brains in a single package.
The practical use of the annual calendar adds a great deal of convenience, especially combined with the seven days power reserve of the Portugieser, while the price for this remains relatively modest. In steel, the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar ($20.900,-) is a very sportive watch, and thanks to the clever shape of the lugs, comfortable on the wrist despite a diameter of 44.2 mm. In 18K red gold ($31.000,-) the watch gets more of a classical appearance. The annual calendar layout is not only practical but also lets the watch stand out among its peers, no matter which version you get, and that might work as well in favor of one of the most popular Portugiesers, as well as annual calendars, out there.