The perpetual calendar is widely recognised as one of IWC’s greatest strengths. Back in the 1980s, legendary watchmaker Kurt Klaus was challenged to develop a new version of this highly intricate mechanism. He responded with an ingenious upgrade that essentially streamlined the complication by doing away with the correctors and enabling the calendar functions to be manipulated via the crown. The new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition offers an even more refined expression of this idea to deliver a simple solution to a complicated problem. Just like Kurt Klaus would have wanted.
As the name suggests, the case of this latest perpetual calendar measures 42mm in diameter and sits a modest 13.8mm off the wrist. It’s by no means a petite watch, but is remarkably compact if you consider the level of complication on offer. The compact case proportions are an exciting step by IWC to produce slightly smaller perpetual calendar watches and make them more accessible in the process. The lugs are elegantly tapered to ensure the more modest specifications on paper match what you are feeling on your wrist. It’s not too big and not too small – the stuff of Goldilocks’ dreams.
The case is made from IWC’s own 5N gold, a moniker that mightn’t mean much without a jewellery qualification, but is essentially a warmer tone of rose gold thanks to less silver and more copper in the alloy. In addition to being a darker, almost reddish hue, 5N gold is also harder than traditional rose gold, making it more resistant to scratches and dents. Water resistant to 30m, it also features a sapphire crystal caseback in order to view the movement.
IWC saves this particular shade of blue dial for their boutique-only editions, and you can see why. It contrasts wonderfully against the 5N gold case, hands and hour markers, and also provides a dusk-like backdrop to the double moonphase at 6 o’clock. The array of complications that you see on the dial are neatly balanced across three sub-dials that communicate the date, day, month, leap year and phases of the moon for northern and southern hemispheres, as well as the time. There’s a lot going on, but everything is neatly legible and easy to understand. The printed minute track around the circumference of the dial is interrupted only by applied hour markers that are emphasised by the Arabic numerals they correspond to.
Tucked away beneath that special blue dial is IWC’s own automatic Caliber 82650, visible thanks to the exhibition caseback. Beneath the skeletonised winding rotor is the movement that contains 362 components and ticks away at 4Hz. It boasts a handy 60 hours of power reserve, in part made possible due to the highly efficient bidirectional Pellaton pawl winding system that uses zirconium oxide ceramic components that are virtually resistant to wear. In a nod to the genius of Kurt Klaus, the entire calendar is able to be set through the crown, a feat of mechanical engineering that took him four years to design and is yet to be surpassed. As mentioned, this is the complicated made simple.
The watch arrives on a blue alligator leather strap from Santoni, a leather-maker that IWC has maintained a long relationship with.
This is a watch that just feels right. It is a part of IWC’s efforts to revitalise one of its oldest and most well-known collections, and represents one of the cornerstone complications that the brand has to offer. With a balanced and accessibly sized case, a thoughtfully proportioned dial and a thoroughly modern perpetual calendar movement, there is a lot to like about the new IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition pricing and availability:
The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition is $45,800 AU and is only available from IWC boutiques. For more details, visit IWC right here.
Made in partnership with IWC. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.