In 2018, IWC will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its inception. In 1868, an American engineer and watchmaker, Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841–1916) made a rather surprising move. At that time, he was a director of E. Howard & Co., in Boston, America’s leading watchmaking company at that time. While all its compatriots were rushing to the West, he decided to move in an opposite direction, to travel back across the Atlantic and to settle down in Switzerland, where he founded the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen – a company later known as IWC.
To celebrate this important Jubilee, IWC will unveil a special collection at the SIHH 2018, comprising a total of 27 limited-edition models from the Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watches and Da Vinci families… And an extra watch, outside these regular families, which will pay tribute to the iconic Pallweber pocket-watches from 1884, a watch with digital hours and minute display.
A much-coveted collection from IWC Schaffhausen, the Portugieser line of watches was first unveiled to the world in 1939, in response to a request to IWC by the Portuguese navy to build large watches that could be easily readable at a glance. The collection has evolved over the years, but remains one of the strong pillars of the brand thanks to its large, pocket-watch-like size and the ability to incorporate complications.
The soon-to-be-released IWC Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” watch is one of the highlights of the Jubilee series of IWC timepieces. What makes this watch so special is not just that it is part of the 150th anniversary collection, nor the fact that it is crafted in platinum in a limited edition of just 15 pieces. The beauty of this watch is in the highly complex Manufacture-made hand-wound movement, caliber 94085, with a power reserve of 96 hours. The beauty of the movement is visible via a sapphire caseback.
Essentially, this 46mm watch, the Ref. IW590202, combines a constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual moon phase display. Without getting too technical here, this grouping of complexities makes the watch a very special piece. To begin with, the perpetual moon-phase indication is so precise that it only needs to be adjusted by a single day after 577.5 years. The more complex patented constant-force mechanism works in tandem with the tourbillon (which compensates for effects of gravity on the watch when in different positions) to transmit even energy throughout the entire power release of the watch – making for an exceptionally high level of precision. Constant force is one of the more difficult watchmaking feats to achieve.