Haute Timepieces: IWC Portuguese Grande Complication Watch

Unmistakable to watch lovers, the Portuguese Grande Complication by IWC could be assumed as boring to those who don’t know better. The brand’s classic watch, crafted distinctly for the man’s man, gets a new flagship model with a highly regarded manufacture movement, and an added helping of durability that many competing watches can’t match.

The title of “Grande Complication” is more than hyperbole in the watch world. It has a specific meaning that requires timepieces with this term to have a certain level of features or “complications.” IWC has given its newest Grande Complication watch a modern feel while retaining the classic style and simple layout that defines the dial orientation design of the automatic caliber 79091 movement, made in house. Despite the neat arrangement of the information windows and subdials on the watch face, this IWC movement has nine hands on the dial and is constructed of almost 660 parts.

It is rare enough to have a grande complication watch be self-winding, but having one that looks easy enough to pick up and use right away without any instruction or explanation is much harder to find. The caliber 79091 movement offers the true holy trinity of grande complications—a 12-hour chronograph, perpetual calendar (adjusted only once each four years), and a minute repeater. The watch even adds a moon phase indicator and year indicator that goes up to 2100—a date, which, with good care, the timepiece will likely survive until. You have to agree that even with 11 pieces of information displayed on the dial, reading the time still only requires a quick glance. Operating the minute repeater is done by sliding down the lever located on the left side of the case. This will cause the internal hammer and gong to musically indicate the time via a basic audible code.

The silvered watch dial features engraved lines meant to remind you of the longitudinal and latitudinal lines on a globe. The curved lines further represent a tilted structure, meant to display the Earth’s actual orientation and axis. Not a petite watch, this IWC sits at a respectable 45mm wide on your wrist in 18-karat red gold, and is not too thick at 16.5mm. More red gold is located on the dial, used for the hour markers and the hands. The ensemble looks handsome combined with a brown alligator strap.

It takes a mature and comfortable collector to appreciate a refined and complex watch such as the Portuguese Grande Complication. Often the modern trend is to go with wild designs when spending lavishly, not always a wise decision. A design such as this based on the popular Portuguese line will prove the test of time much better, and prove to be a more capable daily wear. Priced at $217,000. www.iwc.com.


  1. 45.5mm wide 18k red gold case
  2. Moon phase indicator and chronograph seconds counter subdial
  3. Day of the week indicator and subsidiary seconds dial
  4. Year indicator window
  5. Minute repeater activation slide lever
  6. Month indicator and chronograph hours subdial
  7. Date indicator subdial

Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com

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