It’s no secret 2015 is the year of the Portugieser at IWC. The Swiss watch brand from the small town of Schaffhausen is currently celebrating its icon’s 75th anniversary, and as tradition dictates, has dedicated a full collection to pay homage to the model. While IWC’s creative director Christian Knoop had the unenviable task of improving such as well-established collection, he also took the opportunity to add to it with the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar and the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary.” Luckily, I’m currently in Schaffhausen to visit the IWC manufacture, and it feels particularly relevant to be speaking about the second watch, since the dial displays key features from the brand’s past, while the movement inside is a symbol of the brand’s vertical integration and a hint at what’s to come in this border town in the North of Switzerland.
After all, this is the birthplace of the digital date display. Indeed, the brand ‘s museum still contains a collection of Pallweber pocket watches, from 1884 onwards, believed to be the first examples of this clever function. While it disappeared shortly after it was invented, supposedly because it was so unfamiliar it took too much time to read, it has made a comeback lately. However, this is the first time a digital display makes its way inside a Portugieser, and interestingly the brand has chosen to use it for the month and date indication. Another curiosity is the brand’s decision to give the watch such a descriptive name, but fail to mention it also features a flyback chronograph. But what’s most remarkable about the watch is the balance and legibility of its dial. While the date and month are displayed prominently in apertures aligned across the dial, slightly above the 9 to 3 o’clock line, the chronograph and seconds subdials face each other at 12 and 6 o’clock.
If the combination of functions looks familiar, that’s because IWC’s Caliber 89801 already made its debut in the limited edition Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. However, that was a very modern sports watch measuring almost 50mm and presented in a rubber-coated titanium case. This, as they say, is a completely different beast. Measuring 45mm, it once again takes up a generous amount of space on the wrist. Yet its rare metal and refined lines, thin gold hands, and lozenge pushers slim down its profile.
The watch is powered by Calibre 89801, a self-winding movement created in-house by IWC, and superbly decorated with circular Côtes de Genève motif. Did you know? This technique is applied to all of its self-winding movements, while straight Côtes de Genève decorate its hand-wound movements. The movement can be seen through a sapphire case back and boasts an impressive power reserve of 68 hours.
The IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary” is a limited edition, available in platinum (25 pieces) and red gold (75 pieces), priced at $66,800 and $ 52,700 respectively.