Among 12 of the world’s very respectable watchmakers, the visitors of the second World Brand Piazza special exhibitions in Hong Kong were able to see two exceptional watches from the Portuguese collection of IWC Schaffhausen. Both products at the exhibition debuted last year. These two mechanical wristwatches are: the Portuguese Grande Complication which features a wide array of functions, and the Portuguese Turbillon Mystère Rétrograde, an appealing watch that includes both a flying tourbillion and a retrograde date display.
The impressive Portuguese Grande Complication is truly a horological jewel that features almost all most complex complications (except a tourbillion). First of all, this watch has a perpetual calendar that is pre-programmed all the way until the year 2499. (Well, it does require additional adjusting three times – in 2100, 2200 and 2300 – but, let us not be too picky).
The perpetual calendar is accompanied with a perpetual moon phase display. This function always adds to the character of the timepiece, and is not only an impressive feat of horology, but also a nice decoration for the dial. Another supreme complication included is a minute repeater which can be activated with a slide, positioned on the left side of the case. Once it is activated, the correct time is expressed with extremely pure tones. Three types of gongs, individually hand-made and precisely tuned to guarantee exceptionally clear tones, tell the time up to a minute.
The Impressive List of Complications
The list of complications is not complete, because it also possesses a chronograph. Besides, the watch is water resistant to 30 meters and protected with an antireflective sapphire glass. On the case back, there is a special engraving, displaying a sextant (which in olden days was an indispensable navigational tool in the combination with the watch). While the engraving is very intricate, many people are dissatisfied because the brand did not include a transparent back that would enable its owner to gaze upon the complex self-winding Calibre 79091 movement that enables all these great functions. The movement has 75 jewels, it runs on 4Hz, and has a power reserve of 44 hours.
The Portuguese Grande Complication has a round case which has 45 mm in diameter and is 16.5 mm thick. There are two variations of the watch, the IWC377401 with a platinum case, and the IWC 377402 with an 18-karat red gold case. Each of the versions features a map of the world, engraved on a silver-plated dial. Because of the complexity of the manufacturing, both variations are restricted to just 50 pieces per year. The gold version has a brown, whereas the platinum model has a black alligator strap.
Seven Days of Power Reserve
The other timepiece presented in Hong Kong is also a product that satisfies the highest of standards. The main strength of the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde, as previously mentioned in the review, is the fact that it possesses a flying tourbillion, as well as a retrograde date display that returns to the starting position with the start of every month. The brand is particularly proud of the flying minute tourbillion that consists of 82 components. It is set against a deep black background in order to create the effect that the cage containing the balance is spinning magically in the mid-air.
A retrograde date, included in the watch, is not only good looking, but also very practical and functional. If the brand decided for a usual date disc, there would be a risk of concealing the pride and joy of the timepiece, the flying tourbillion. The right side of the dial holds an indication of remaining power reserve. The watch is equipped with an in-house automatic Calibre 51900 movement that has a 7-day power reserve. It possesses 44 jewels and runs on 19,800 vph.
The movement is exposed through a sapphire case back, and the same material is used to protect its face. Besides, the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde is water proof to 30 meters. Just like the first timepiece, this watch also has two variations that feature different case materials, but the same dimensions (the round case is 44.2 mm wide and 15.5 mm thick). The red gold version IW504402, supplied with a silver-plated dial and a black alligator strap, is limited to 500 pieces per year. Even more exclusive version IW504401, with a ruthenium black dial and the matching black strap, is manufactured in 250 pieces per year.