IWC Schaffhausen had quite a busy year. It all started in force with the Portugieser featuring in-house calibre, continued with an updated Portugieser Collection and ended with the GEO Award for the Schaffhausen manufacturing centre. A rather good year despite the inherent problems caused by the 2020’s pandemic. Without the world’s medical crisis, most probably it would have been much better. Between the pieces launched this year, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition stands out with its blue dial and sought complication. Let’s have a look today at this Ref. IW503312
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition Ref. IW503312
I was one of the lucky ones to have access to almost all the pieces launched this year. I would also like to thank IWC for the effort to make the pieces available and Schoeller & von Rehlingen Germany for the excellent communication and intermediation with Schaffhausen. I would also like to salute the way that IWC organised online tools for its customers making possible, if not a personal, direct face to face meeting, at least an online presence and possibilities to learn more about their watches. I personally know because I have tested their tools, talked with real people and even have an IWC watchmaker explaining me details about the perpetual calendar and the tourbillon (thank you, Thomas!).
The best way to start will be to have a look at the official video with Christian Knoop presenting quite in detail the Ref. IW503312 (making this review relevant only on the personal side):
A short video with wrist-roll and a view of the movement done “on the run” due to lack of time. The quality is low, but I hope it will still be useful:
A large gold case
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition comes in a 44.2mm case manufactured in the brand’s 18k Armor Gold®. We see a familiar classic case with brushed caseband and polished accents on the front of the curved lugs. The thin bezel presents a raised design with concave body. The bezel is mirror polished.
On the right side, we find the crown with the Probus Scafusia IWC logo. In the pictures, we can notice the arched edge sapphire crystal on top and the convex bodied caseback. Unfortunately, especially in the Portugieser collection, the Ref. IW503312 comes with only 3 bar water resistance.
The blue alligator strap is made by Santoni and fitted with an IWC deployment clasp in the material of the case. At 14.9mm and 44m diameter, the watch is large for my wrist but it wears nice. It is well balanced in the rapport between the physical dimensions, so it wears smaller.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition Ref. IW503312 comes with a gorgeous sunburst blue dial with gold accents. We find the familiar Portuguese details like the hands and applied numerals. The perpetual calendar is spread on the dial in an IWC specific: moon phase on top, date and power reserve on the right, months on the bottom, the years between 7 and 8 and small seconds and date of the week on the left. More about the calendar in the movement section of the article.
The moon phase complication cuts half of the Portuguese “12” numeral. It presents only the northern hemisphere. The lower side of the sub-dial is decorated with a circular pattern and printed name of the brand.
The right side presents in the same sub-dial two complications. The central power reserve with a 7-days indication split in days and its own register. The outer register is dedicated to the calendar date with odd numerals and dots.
The lower side presents the months of the year with a central circular pattern and the months printed on a finer, also circular pattern. Note the 18k gold applique and time’s printed Railtrack register.
The year is displayed with the help of two disks and a slider – for the century.
The left side presents the small seconds in a closed register sub-dial with printed railtrack and numerals. The outer side displays the days of the week, starting with Sunday on top.
The 52610 Calibre
The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition is powered by the 52-family movement, more precise by the Calibre 52610. All the functions are synchronised and can be operated by the crown, the movements not needing additional pushers. The moon phase needs a correction at 577 years. The year also needs a correction at the centurial years that skip the leap year. The movement features a power reserve of 7 days stored in two barrels and regulated by a 4 Hz balance wheel. The Calibre 52610 features a Pellaton winding, ceramic automatic wheel and ceramic clicks (the dark elements visible near the rotor’s centre and engraved with “Ceramic Technology” – in the middle-right section of the picture below).
But the most interesting set of features is the perpetual calendar. This mechanism goes back to ’80s, when Kurt Klaus designed a perpetual calendar that comprised only about 80 individual parts. This was featured in the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Ref 3750 and made history.
The functionality of the perpetual calendar is not that complicated when you understand it. It all “revolves” arround the programme wheel. The deeper the grooves in the plate, the more days are skipped forward. A close inspection of the grooves reveals the numbers of days jumped. The small grooves are responsible for the jump of the date in months with only 30 days. At the leap year, the date only jumps 3 days (from 29 to 30, 31 & 1). The 3 deepest grooves (3 non-leap years) are responsible 4 days jump. The programme plate completes a rotation in 4 years.
The date disk is responsible for moving the date on the dial. The firm position is given by a triangular jewel. The claw on top moves the days one by one. The additional arm is sitting on the date disk pushes the cam at the end of the month according to numbers of days (depth of the groove) on the programme disk. The date disk advances the program disk via an elongated tooth (at the end of the month). The programme disk also set in motion the year indication.
The calendar can be set only forward. In the unfortunate situation we have jumped too far in the future, the crown needs to be pulled out to stop the movement until the corresponding set date “arrives”. If it jumped too much to wait (like months or years), the watch needs to be sent in service for correction.
The date disk, day and the moon phase are actuated by a disk situated on the other side of the movement, under the dial plate. As you can observe, all functions are kept in place by round jewels (century slider and the disk on the other side of the movement) or by triangular jewels (date, day, program disk, moon phase). These jewels allow a movement with less friction and firm positioning.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition Ref. IW503312 is nicely decorated with circular Geneva waves, perlage, bevelling, polishing and engraving. Blue screws and ceramic components add more contrast to the Calibre 52610.
The Portuguese collection is a classic and beautiful line that covers a long tradition. For me, it was the introduction in the world of IWC more than 15 years ago when I started to have access to information about the Swiss watches. As a friend always reminds me, from the times of the “.ch” websites. So it has an “old friend” familiar feeling. Coming back in the present moment, the Perpetual Calendar is not only a very desired complication. It represents our continuous struggle to tame time. It is clear that in the near future we will not succeed but the tools like IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar makes the fight more beautiful.
I am a sucker for blue dials and, of course, the Ref. IW503312 is a gorgeous representation. It feels nice on the wrist, a bit on the big and heavy side, but hey, it is a full show…
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition Ref. IW503312 Technical Specifications and Price
- 52610 Calibre
- IWC-manufactured movement
- Automatic, self-winding
- 168 hours Power Reserve
- Frequency 28,800.0 vph (4.0 hz)
- 54 Jewels
- Côtes de Genève, perlage
- 18 ct Armor Gold® case
- Diameter 44.2 mm
- Height 14.9 mm
- See-through sapphire glass back
- Water-resistance 3 bar
- Blue dial
- Gold-plated hands
- 18-carat gold appliques
- Blue alligator leather strap by Santoni
- Strap width 22 mm
- CHF 38’000
- 36.600 €
- د.إ. 139,000
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