March 31, 2013
IWC recently unveiled two new models that are joining the esteemed ranks of its iconic Portuguese collection. The first, shown above in red gold, is the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound (Ref 546301). Although the tourbillon is no stranger to the Portuguese collection, the new Ref 5463 series — with its dial-side tourbillon joined only by a small seconds subdial — is among the most elegant and simple in its aesthetic.
The Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound will be offered in a 18k white gold case with slate dial (Ref 546301, $66,200) and 18k red gold case with silvered dial (Ref 546302, $62,100). The watches are fitted with the exquisite leather straps from Santoni. This has been a great partnership that IWC started a couple years ago — Santoni’s straps have a wonderful patina and gradation of colors which make them really stand out.
The otherwise simple dial is highlighted by the presence of the 60-second flying tourbillon at 9 o’clock.
The IWC-manufactured 98900-calibre movement, with its nicely decorated nickel-silver three-quarter bridge, can be admired through the transparent sapphire-glass back. And check out that balance bridge! “Batman-like” styling:
The 98000-calibre family has been in production since the 1920s, first designed for hunter pocket watches and continuously improved ever since. In the case of the 98900 used here, IWC engineers have increased the balance frequency of to 28,800 vph. By contrast, another 98000-calibre, the Cal. 98950 as found in the Portuguese Minute Repeater (Ref 5449, intro’d 2010) beats at just 18,800.
One other not so obvious detail is IWC’s utilization of a new “arched edge” sapphire glass (i.e. curved, or rolled), which I think is safe to say, will no doubt soften the overall appearance of the watch and enhance its classic look.
A compelling new tourbillon in the Portuguese lineup. If you like the look of this new watch but can’t afford a tourbillon, it is a large and easy step down to the also-impressive Ref 5454 Portuguese Hand-Wound.
words by Kyle Stults