2015, Portugieser year

Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde

To connoisseurs of precision watchmaking

The Watch Quote™ - January 21st, 2015

The Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde combines the magic of a floating tourbillon with the logic of a date hand that reverts to its starting position and the power of a 7-day in-house calibre. In 2015, this exclusive timepiece is even more attractive to look at. The Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound with its delicate, flying “whirlwind” will remain a source of delight to connoisseurs of precision watchmaking.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser watch family, IWC has given the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde (Ref. 5046) an additional touch of luxury. The new arched-edge front glass makes the watch appear both slimmer and more elegant. The horns have also been ergonomically optimized to make the watch more comfort- able to wear on a slimmer wrist. Another new feature is the exclusive ­alligator­ leather­ strap­ by ­Santoni:­a­ fitting ­accessory for the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde. The dial of the platinum version is silver plated while the red gold­ model ­is ­fitted­ with ­a­s late-coloured­dial.­The­reverse­ side of the watch with its see-through sapphire-glass back is also more attractive. The narrower and partly perforated solid red gold rotor with its “Probus Scafusia” relief engrav- ing provides a generous view of the IWC-manufactured 51900 calibre.

IWC’s Watchmaking Milestones

Moving clockwise round the dial of the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde, we encounter three milestones in IWC’s illustrious history: at “12 o’clock” is the minute tour- billon­first­unveiled­in­1993;­next,­at­“3­o’clock”,­the­7-day­ power reserve display of the in-house 50000-calibre family launched in 2000; and finally, between “6 o’clock” and “9 o’clock”, the retrograde date display created in 2010 exclusively for the Portugieser.

The tourbillon, which makes the “12” appear to come to life, gives the watch not only its name but also a touch of mystery.­ Set­ in­ a­ mirror-finished­ ring,­ it­ forms­ the­ visual­ centrepiece of the entire dial. The complication is mounted on­one­side­only­and­therefore­known­as­a­“flying”­tourbillon.­ This­creates­the­illusion­that­the­balance­is­floating­in­mid- air against the deep black background but also allows us to see the “whirlwind”, as its name translates literally, at work.­ Originally,­ the­ tourbillon­ was­ designed­ for­ use­ in­ pocket watches, where it offset the gravitational error inevitable in an oscillating system with a balance and spring, and the resulting deviation in rate. To achieve this, the balance, pallet and escape wheel are mounted in a tiny cage that rotates around its own axis once every minute. This­ filigree­ work­ of­ art­ consists­ of­ 82­ parts­ and­ weighs­ 0.635 grams: a masterpiece of haute horlogerie, made in Schaffhausen.

Retrograde Display For An Unusual Sense Of Time

The second eponymous complication, namely the retro- grade date display, was clearly not intended to be hidden, as its uncompromising presence suggests: the semicircular arc from 1 to 31, which has a similar design to that of the railway-track-style chapter ring, takes up a full quarter of the dial. This unusual type of display not only gives the wearer a very special feel for time: unlike a classic date disc, it has the additional advantage that the tourbillon is not concealed by the date disc. Not least of all, the mo- ment at the end of each month when the large hand reverts instantaneously to its starting position is a remarkable event in itself. In months with fewer than 31 days or when the watch has not been worn for a while, the date display can be advanced rapidly using the crown until it jumps back to the 1st of the month. Doing this does not involve resetting the time. On­the­right-hand­side­of­the­dial,­the­7-day­power­reserve­ display indicates how much energy remains in the IWC- manufactured 51900 calibre.

IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde
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IWC Portugaise Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde

Ref. : IW504601 · IW504602

Features: Mechanical movement – Pellaton automatic winding – Power reserve display – Retrograde date display – Flying minute tourbillon – Glucydur®* beryllium alloy balance with high-precision adjustment cams on balance arms – Breguet spring – See-through sapphire-glass back – Rotor made of 18-carat red gold
IWC-manufactured calibre : 51900
Frequency : 19,800 A/h / 2.75 Hz
Jewels : 44
Power reserve :7 days (168 h)
Winding :Automatic
Weight of tourbillon : 0.635 g
Ref. IW504601:Case in platinum, silver-plated dial, black alligator leather strap by Santoni, folding clasp in platinum
Ref. IW504602:Case in 18-carat red gold, slate-coloured dial, dark brown alligator leather strap by Santoni, folding clasp in 18-carat red gold
Glass­ :Sapphire,­ arched ­edge,­antireflective ­coating ­on ­both­ sides
Water-resistant : 3 bar
Diameter : 44.2 mm
Case height : 15.3 mm

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