Monday, January 19, 2015

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Grande Complication

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser watch family, the Portugieser Grande Complication appears with a number of understated modifications. The dial is more elegant and restrained, and the platinum version has a new contemporary look. This superb example of watchmaking technology with its 20 displays and functions remains a milestone of haute horlogerie.
The Portugieser Grande Complication (Ref. 3776) has a dazzling array of technical features and a total of 20 different displays and functions. The case contains 659 mechanical components which ensure that all 20 work in perfect harmony. Apart from the time and chronograph functions, a perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month, year, decade and century as well as a perpetual moon phase are included. Rounding it off is the supreme achievement in the art of mechanical watchmaking: the minute repeater.
In the Portugieser’s anniversary year, the Grande Complication has undergone several conservative design modifications which further enhance the value of the model. The silver-plated dial, for instance, no longer features an engraving of the globe showing the lines of latitude and longitude. Because of this, it appears more composed, and the typical characteristics of the Portugieser feuille hands, appliquéd Arabic numerals and railway track style chapter ring are set off to better advantage.
In the new collection, the case back is decorated with an engraved compass rose. The newly designed ergonomic strap horns are closer to the wrist and make the watch more comfortable to wear, even on a slimmer wrist.
The watch is supplied with a Santoni alligator leather strap; the strap on the 18-carat red gold version is stitched with red gold thread while the strap on the exclusive platinum model is finished with a platinum thread. Both versions are limited to 250 watches.
Between 1983 and 1985, master watchmaker Kurt Klaus designed and built the perpetual calendar for IWC Schaffhausen. Many of its technical specifications have remained unsurpassed to this day. The fact alone that the perpetual calendar is mechanically programmed until 2499 and masters the vagaries of the Gregorian calendar is awe-inspiring. During this time, the calendar will require correction on just three occasions (in 2100, 2200 and 2300), when the leap day that would normally occur is omitted. What is more, the perpetual calendar has its own program to fulfil, and unlike the time display, does not need to be driven continuously. Instead of this, it is given a mechanical impulse that advances it between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. This tiny movement in the date advance lever is ultimately sufficient to set­ all the other calendar functions in motion, but at least, on any given day, the date, day of the week and moon phase.

During the calendar’s most active phase, these are joined by the month, year, decade and century. In 100 years, the century slide, which shows the first two of the four digits that comprise the year, moves up once, by 1.2 millimetres. This will happen next in 2100. The moon phase display, too, is extraordinarily accurate and will be just 1 day out of sync after 122 years. Despite its complex design and numerous functions, the perpetual calendar is operated simply, via the crown.

The incredibly complex minute repeating strike train chimes out the current time in clear acoustic tones: with lower chimes for the hours, a double strike one on each gong for the quarter hours and a strike on the higher pitched gong for the minutes. Each gong is individually made by hand and then carefully tuned for pitch and tonal purity. Development of the minute repeater alone took a total of 50,000 hours.

Technical details
Model: Portugieser Grande Complication
Ref. IW377601 (Platinum) and Ref. IW377602 (Red Gold)
Limited edition of 250 watches each

Movement
Calibre   79091
Mechanical chronograph movement with perpetual calendar and minute repeater functions
Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 75
Power reserve: 44 h
Winding: automatic

Functions
Perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month, year in four digits and perpetual moon phase
Stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds
Minute repeater for hours, quarters and minutes
Small hacking seconds

Case, dial and strap
Ref. IW377601: case in platinum, silver-plated dial, black alligator leather strap by Santoni with stitching and folding clasp in platinum
Ref. IW377602: case in 18-carat red gold, silver-plated dial, dark brown alligator leather strap by Santoni with stitching and folding clasp in 18-carat red gold
Glass: sapphire, arched edge, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant: 3 bar
Diameter: 45 mm
Case height: 16.5 mm
Special back engraving

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