The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night shows the globe in a novel way The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night shows the globe in a novel way

The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night shows the globe in a novel way

Borna Bošnjak

The tourbillon is already one of the most mechanically impressive but elegant complications, neatly integrated into a tiny radius. For Watches & Wonders 2024, IWC sought to further iterate on the elegance of its manual-winding Portugieser Tourbillon, but rather than just introducing a new dial colour or strap option, the brand added a complication. Usually, that’s not the best course of action should your end goal be refinement and simplicity, but IWC believes that the new Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night does that without too much compromise.

The dial

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night wrist close up

I’ve always been a fan of how the time-only and two-handed Portugiesers looked. The symmetry of the dial along with the slender and elegant sans-serif numerals and leaf hands are a great example of refined restraint. With the addition of the day/night indicator at 9 o’clock, I’ve got to admit this symmetry is no longer applicable, though that doesn’t mean the layout doesn’t work. While the dial isn’t as “clean”, there’s something to be said here about the effects of the golden ratio that still makes the configuration pleasing to the eye.

As for the colourway, that’s the real treat here. The warm brown tones of the lacquered and sunray-brushed dial play wonderfully with the rose gold accents on the rest of the watch, my favourite being the polished surround of the tourbillon aperture. The day/night indicator is also well-integrated, with a sloping surround to the polished globe with dark and bright hemispheres.

The case

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night case profile

Any Portugieser is likely to be a big watch, and the 42.4mm case of the Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night follows the trend. What you may not expect, however, is the case material – the rose gold hue here is courtesy of IWC’s proprietary Armour Gold. It’s a variant of 5N gold, with the brand quoting an “improved microstructure with considerably higher hardness values”. In any case, this is a high-end, luxury watch, so I wouldn’t be too concerned with scratch-resistance. My point is further proven by the Hand-Wound Tourbillon’s water resistance, only rated for 60 metres – appropriate for its intended use case.

The movement

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night movement caseback

Other than the beautiful mix of gold and brown, the newly updated 81925 calibre is the star of the show here. It’s an evolution of the 81905 in the current manually wound Portugieser Tourbillon, with a couple more jewels added to integrate the new day/night indicator. Due to the size of the globe and the thinness of the case (10.8mm), the caseback also sports a decorated surround for the indicator, with côtes de Genève swirling around the plates, emanating from the globe. Even though IWC is proud of the skeletonisation of the bridges holding the barrel/ratchet wheel assembly and semi-exposed going train, much of the movement is covered by the large rose-gold plated plate. Spec-wise, the 81295 has an 84-hour power reserve, with the 60-second tourbillon beating at 4Hz, alongside a hacking function for the tourbillon, which is relatively uncommon.

The strap

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night strap

Holding the Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night to your wrist will be a black alligator leather strap from Santoni, the renowned Italian shoemaker. There’s also a folding clasp matching the 18k Armour Gold finish of the case, but the coolest feature are undoubtedly the curved spring bars. It’s a small touch that not many mainstream brands use that really help the strap mould with the case that much better.

The verdict

Alongside the new Portugieser Eternal Calendar and the extant Minute Repeater, the Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night certainly sits in the higher echelons of the Portugieser range – but not the highest. Astonishingly, the range includes various haute horlogerie complications that are mechanically impressive, but do depart from the clean aesthetic of the simpler Portugieser models. This watch rides the line perfectly in my opinion, elegantly complicating the tourbillon, which, if I dare say, seems a somewhat regular occurrence these days.

IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night pricing and availability

The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day and Night is available now. Price: A$125,000 

Brand IWC
Model Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night
Reference IW545901
Case Dimensions 42.4mm (D) x 10.8mm (T)
Case Material 18k Armour Gold
Water Resistance 60 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Lacquered obsidian black
Bracelet Santoni alligator leather, curved spring bars, 18k Armour Gold folding clasp
Movement 81925, IWC-manufactured, hand-wound
Power Reserve 84 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, hacking tourbillon, day/night indicator
Availability Now
Price A$125,000