In 2010, the Swiss watchmaker IWC unveiled Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound Watch that pays a tribute to the company founder, F. A. Jones. The extremely large flying minute tourbillon situated at the 9 o’clock position occupies nearly one third of the dial’s surface and immediately attracts curious glances.
This tourbillon watch with the referent number IW544705 is powered by the in-house manufactured caliber 98900 mechanical movement based on an almost century-old pocket watch movement. The mechanism belongs to the long tradition of the 98 caliber which was manufactured from the mid-1930s for the hunter pocket watch and has been continuously improved by IWC for over 80 years. Since it is so perfectly suited for large hand-wound wristwatches, it is no coincidence that it is very common in Portuguese family (Portuguese Minute Repeater and Portuguese Hand-Wound, for example).
The tourbillon is not the only thing that was added to this movement, but its frequency was also increased by IWC’s engineers from 18,000 vibrations per hour to more appealing 28,800 beats per hour. Thus, the precision of the timepiece was further increased. The hand-wound movement is built on 21 jewels and it is capable of holding no less than 54 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The mechanism represents the finest fusion of the tradition and the latest watchmaking technology. Further, the movement’s intricately decorated nickel-plated three-quarter bridge made of nickel silver can be seen through the transparent sapphire-glass case back.
The Sophisticated Case and an Easy to Read Dial
The watch is housed in a round case crafted from 18-karat red gold with 43.1 mm in diameter and the thickness of 11 mm. The case is protected on both sides by convex sapphire glasses with antireflective coatings and it is constructed to resist water pressure up to 30 meters (100 feet).
A sleek, black dial with applied Arabic numerals lies under the front sapphire glass. At the 9 o’clock position, there is a flying minute tourbillon that reveals the horological nobility and provides a clear view into the escapement of the movement. The tourbillon consists of 47 individual parts and it weights only 0.689 grams. In this watch, tourbillon does not act as sub-dial seconds indicator as we used to tourbillons, so the subsidiary seconds counter is displayed through a totalizer located at the 6 o’clock position. The empty space at the 3 o’clock position is nicely filled with the signature of the brand’s founding father, “F. A. Jones”.
The refined dial also features nice feuille, or in other words, leaf-styled hour and minute hands and a railway-track chapter ring for minutes. There is also the brand’s logo situated below the numeral twelve.
The watch case is smoothly connected with a fashionable black alligator leather strap that offers extreme flexibility and easiness of wrist movement. IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound Watch is produced in the series of only 500 specimens and each timepiece can be purchased for approximately $60,000.