The skeletonized IWC Portuguese F.A Jones Squelette (Ref. 544205 and Ref. 544206) collection is equipped with a rare Caliber 98910 hand-wound movement. Based on a vintage pocket watch caliber developed almost 135 years ago, it features a larger balance wheel and thick, massive bridges that allowed IWC’s artisans some extra space to play with while skeletonizing this little monster. Available both in red gold and in a lot more expensive (while defiantly understated) platinum, this skeletonized version of their Portuguese Hand-Wound family comes in an oversized body. While not treating you with a particularly legible display, the device offers the most exciting skeletonization job that you can expect from a (relatively) mass-produced model.
This is not the only IWC Portuguese, which is dedicated to a certain F.A. Jones of Boston, Massachusetts, who founded the International Watch Company back in 1868. Earlier this year, at SIHH 2010 international trade show, the Swiss manufacturer also introduced their IWC Portuguese Tourbillon (Ref. IW5447) that sported an “F.A. Jones” facsimile counter-weighting the visual bulkiness of the tourbillon complication.
Although for some a known reason, most blogs tend to pitch the F.A Jones Squelette as a “new” model, it is not so.
The model in question was introduced more than five years ago exclusively for IWC Boutiques and was delivered in platinum (50 units, $58,000, Ref. 544205) and red gold (100 units, $43,000, Ref. 544206) versions. Putting it mildly, the price is impressive, but in return, you get a unique, old-school mechanism with, probably hundreds of hours of highly skilled labor poured into it, as well as a lot of precious metal that will probably allow you to last at least another year after the thermonuclear holocaust (not that sure about zombie apocalypse though.)
The F.A Jones Squelette is, probably, not selling terribly well, but still shines a lot of “halo” light on the brand as a whole, so IWC’s PR department must have decided to draw some attention to the beautiful timepiece with this new limited-edition version.
The limited edition is powered by the IWC Caliber 98910 hand-wound movement, which, judging by the looks of it, is directly related to the vintage F.A. Jones movement from the 1870s that was the first in the brand’s history and is still used in some of IWC watches. As just about everyone already copy-pasted from IWC’s PR blurb, the movement’s main point of interest is that it employs an elongated index to regulate the balance hairspring.
If you are into skeletonized watches and have financial means, then you should probably hurry to get one, since the timepiece is about to become a horological rarity.
See also: Omega DeVille Skeletonized Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum Limited Edition (5126.96.36.199.99.001)
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
IWC Portuguese F.A Jones Squelette specification
Price: $43,000 (Red gold) / $58,000 (Platinum)
Movement: IWC Caliber 98910, hand-wound, skeletonized, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: Approximately 50 hours
Case: 18-karat Red gold or Platinum
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 12.00 mm
Hands: Red gold, polished / Blued steel, polished
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown or Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective