Yesterday, during the opening day of the Anniversary SIHH 2010 event (yes, it is the twentieth time that one of the most reputable watch fairs in the world has opened its doors,) the Swiss watchmaking brand presented its new IWC Portuguese Tourbillon (Ref. IW5447) hand-wound watch that features an in-house caliber based on an almost century-old pocket watch movement.
This one is going to be huge, both in terms of its recommended price and popularity among the collectors and well-funded enthusiasts.
Available with the beautifully decorated Calibre 98900 manufacture-made manual-wind movement that emanates so much vintage-inspired splendor it can basically melt your face off if you put the watch too close to your eyes, this one looks like the ultimate “complicated” dress watch.
Of course, some people may argue that a “real” dress watch comes with a truly minimalistic dial with only a couple of hands indicating hours and minutes and a simply decorated dial. Well, I can easily agree with this point of view, that’s why I put this gorgeous timekeeper into a separate category I’ve just invented (probably not).
Although we somehow got used to tourbillons also acting as subsidiary seconds indicators, in this particular watch the tourbillon module lives its own life and serves mostly decorative purpose.
However, like it is the case with a great number of other tourbillon watches, its black dial with applied Arabic numerals looks grossly unbalanced with all the visual “mass” concentrated between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Regrettably, the “F. A. Jones” (the name of the brand’s founding father) facsimile at 3 o’clock does little to resolve the matter.
It must also be noted that the original pocket watch caliber was seriously reworked. Not only the tourbillon was added making this variation of the almost century-old pocket watch movement even more accurate, but its frequency was also increased from “archaic” 18,000 vibrations per hour to more appealing 28,800 vph further increasing the timekeeper’s ability to keep good time. The fact that the small second hand at six hours now moves in a lot smoother fashion also helps making the piece look more attractive to modern audience.
The movement’s longer balance spring stores enough power to make it tick for as long as 54 hours: something that ETA-based tourbillon mechanisms just can’t do without serious modifications.
The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound (Ref. IW5447) watch‘s production run is limited at 500 pieces. At a minimum recommended street price of $61,000 the watch still looks a bit overpriced even despite the beautiful mechanism and lots of gold that came into making the case, they’ll need to make a really strong marketing push in order to sell them all without offering big discounts to retailers.
IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound Ref. IW5447 watch specification
Price range: $61,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber 98900, hand-wound, 21 jewels, 28,800 vph
Complications: Flying tourbillon
Power reserve: 54 hours
Case material: Red gold
Bezel material: Red gold
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire glass
Case size: 43.10 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Hands: Red gold
Strap: Black alligator leather strap, folding clasp in 18 ct red gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective