Like the rest of the legendary Portuguese family, the new IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde (Ref. IW5044) automatic watch sports an oversized case and is powered by a huge automatic movement that offers you as long as a whole week of guaranteed power supply.
Compared to a trifle less expensive Portuguese Tourbillon (Ref. IW5447) hand-wound watch that we have already briefly reviewed the other day, the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde (Ref IW5044) features much more balanced (although still too busy for a dress watch) dial.
Available both in anthracite and silver, the former goes with an ultra-expansive version with platinum case (Ref. IW504401) and the latter comes with a more affordable (if you can use the adjective when it comes to top-of-the-range watches from IWC) body crafted from rose gold (Ref. IW504402.)
As I have already mentioned, the cases are quite large for what is essential a dressy timekeeper. Being more than 44 millimeters in diameter and 15.50 mm thick they look bold and even defiant, drawing too much attention from other people, but, let’s admit that, giving the customers what they want: a large, ultra-expensive timekeeper that is supposed to draw attention to its owner.
Well, I must admit that the watches are still a pleasure to look at, although I personally prefer timekeepers with more symmetrically aligned dials.
Besides the tourbillon that took place of the usual small seconds sub-dial, the IW5044’s main points of attraction are the retrograde date indicator with contrasting bright-red numbers between 7 and 8 o’clock and the 7 day power reserve display. As usual, there is no Superluminova on any of the indicators, but that’s okay: after all, it’s a watch you are supposed to wear at cocktail parties and business meetings and there is usually plenty of light there.
The IWC Calibre 51900 that animates this piece is manufactured in-house and is based on their less sophisticated cal. 5011 workhorse movement. Being essentially a three-hander with a complication module stacked atop of it, the mechanism may not be as sophisticated and unique as those calibers that are created from scratch, but, given how small is the market for ultra-luxury watches, it also allows the Swiss manufacturer to limit the timekeeper’s development costs at more or less manageable levels not letting it skyrocket out of control.
Still, the watches are very expensive. Limited to only 250 and 500 pieces for the model in platinum and rose gold respectively, the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde will retail for around $135,000 and $115,000 US dollars.
IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde Ref. IW5044 watch specification
Price range: $140,000 (MSRP, platinum, ref. IW504401) / $116,000 (MSRP, red gold, ref. IWC504402)
Movement: Caliber 51900, automatic, 44 jewels, 19,800 vph
Complications: Flying tourbillon, retrograde date, power reserve
Power reserve: 7 days (168 hours)
Case material: Red gold or Platinum
Bezel material: Red gold or Platinum
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire glass
Case size: 44.20 mm
Case height: 15.50 mm
Dial: Anthracite Black / Silver
Hands: Red gold / Platinum
Strap: Black alligator leather strap, folding clasp in 18 ct red gold or platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective