IWC Schaffhausen Re-Launches Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44 In This Year’s Colour Themes

by Sameera Gamage

Four new IWC Schaffhausen Perpetual Calendar models are being unveiled, two of which are presented in 18-carat white gold case material and the other two in 18-carat Armor Gold®.

IWC Schaffhausen’s theme for this year’s Portugieser collection is “A Tribute to Infinity.” In the previous IWC Schaffhausen releases for Watches & Wonders 2024, we touched on this theme in more detail (which you can read here!); however, to sum it up, the different variations of the timepiece have distinctive colourways dedicated to different time periods of the day.

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503701 – Case construction

In the case of the latest IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44mm, it is being presented with two 18-carat white gold with Horizon Blue and Dune coloured dials. At the same time, the other two models are crafted in 18-carat Armor Gold in either an Obsidian or silver-plated dial.

Over the last twenty years, the brand’s Perpetual Calendar model has established itself as a key model in the Portugieser collection. The Perpetual Calendar was originally designed by Kurt Klaus, the former head watchmaker at IWC Schaffhausen, in the 1980s. Since its inception, the model has been continually improved and updated.

The first Portugieser timepiece to feature the Perpetual Calendar complications was launched in 2003. The moon phase display of this model was especially large, and this was thanks to the engineers and designers taking advantage of the larger case design, thus incorporating a larger reduction gear. This also increased the accuracy of the perpetual calendar mechanism from 122 to 577.5 years. Another innovation that came with the launch of the first Portgieser Perpetual Calendar model was the Double Moon™ display, which shows the moon phase as seen from the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Now, for the Watches & Wonders 2024 release, IWC Schaffhausen has completely reworked the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar.

“Completely reworked case construction with double-box sapphire glass and new dial finish.”

IWC Schaffhausen’ New Portugieser Perpetual Calendar

All four variants come with a newly redesigned and refined case construction. The case ring is now slimmer and has a more slender side profile. When viewed from the front and back, this new case construction makes the watch lighter and more elegant in aesthetics. The box-sapphire glass crystal is now milled and polished in what is a highly complex process, with the end result being an even clearer and better view of the dial.

In regards to the dial design, IWC Schaffhausen states that “dial graphics have also been carefully reworked and refined. A particular highlight is the elaborately crafted dials. The key to their extraordinary visual depths is the application of 15 layers of transparent lacquer, which is fine-ground and then polished to a high gloss finish. The subdials displaying the calendar information are milled into both the brass base and the lacquer layer. Finally, the appliques are individually mounted on the dials by hand. Comprising up to 60 individual steps, the production process for the dials is incredibly complex and challenging to master.”

While the design has been reworked, the signature design elements that make the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar special are retained. Such as the Double Moon™ display.

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44 (Ref. IW503701)

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503701_Front

This new collection starts with the “Early Morning” timepiece, which references IWC Schaffhausen’s new Portugieser colour theme. This model comes with a beautiful 18-carat Armor Gold® case, which is nicely complemented by a silver-plated dial. The Armor Gold® material is considerably harder and more wear-resistant than traditional 5N gold. To match the case material, the dial features gold-plated hands along with gold Arabic hour indices. Against the silver dial, the Double Moon™ display stands out proudly underneath the 12 o’clock hour marker.

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44 (Ref. IW503702)

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503702_Front

The second reference presented in the 18-carat Armor Gold® case boasts an Obsidian black dial. As you may have guessed, the black dial refers to “Sunset/Night.” Unlike the silver-plated dial, this Obsidian dial provides a rich background that offers a stark contrast to the gold-plated elements on the dial. Like the silver reference, the hands, Arabic hour indices, dial inscriptions, and sub-dial hands have all been made of gold-plated material.

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44 (Ref. IW503703)

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503703_Front

Representing the “Noon” phase of the day, the third variant in this Portugieser Perpetual Calendar collection features an 18-carat white gold case, this time with a Horizon blue dial. Compared to the others in the collection, this model’s sunburst finish on the dial is quite prominent. The Arabic hour indices and hands are Rhodium-plated to resemble the case’s material.

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44 (Ref. IW503704)

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503704_Front

Arguably, one of the more sought-after models in the collection will be the Dune-coloured dial variant. Representing “Afternoon” in the colour theme, these Dune dials are complemented nicely with an 18-carat white gold case, gold-plated hands, and gold-plated Arabic hour indices. I’m glad the brand didn’t choose 18-carat Armor Gold® for this model, as the dial would’ve blended in too much with the case.

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503701_Back

All four models are powered by the IWC-manufactured 52616 calibre movement, which is made up of 386 components. IWC Schaffhausen has improved the escapement of this movement so that it offers better protection against magnetic fields. The brand also states in regard to this movement that “the automatic Pellaton winding system features components made of virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic, while the oscillating mass is made of solid gold.” The 52616 movement, with its dual barrels, is able to deliver a staggering power reserve of 7 days!

Final Thoughts

IWC Schaffhausen’s latest Portugieser Perpetual Calendar collection gets a refreshing new look, staying in the theme of Portugieser’s “A Tribute to Infinity” for this year. With a new case giving a more elegant style, the dial also gets four new colours to complete the redesign of the Perpetual Calendar.

All four variants offer their own styling with the choice of colours; however, for me, there are two stand-out models. From the 18k Armor Gold® variants, the Obsidian dial is just incredibly beautiful. The deep black tones of the Obsidian dial are visually aesthetic in itself, but what the black also does is allow the surrounding elements to really come to life. Compared to the silver-plated dial, the gold-plated elements and 18k Armor Gold® case have a stark contrast against the black Obsidian dial.

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503702 – Dial construction

The second choice is the stunning Dune dial. This gorgeous dial reflects the “Afternoon” sun, and it’s a colour on this timepiece that I instantly fell in love with. Personally, I think IWC Schaffhausen should have retained the Rodhium-plated hour indices and hands as per the other 18-carat white gold variant. This would’ve allowed these dial elements to stand out better against the Dune-coloured dial, whereas now I feel like they blend in too much. Regardless, it’s safe to say that IWC Schaffhausen has served up some appetizing new Portguieser Perpetual Calendar timepieces.

Reference:  Ref. IW503701 (Silver-Plated Dial), Ref. IW503702 (Obsidian Black Dial), Ref. IW503703 (Horizon Blue Dial), Ref. IW503704 (Dune Dial)

Specification

  • Case: 44.4 mm x 14.9 mm thickness
  • Case Material: 18-carat white gold case or 18-carat 5N Armor Gold® case
  • Dial: Silver-plated dial with gold-plated hands and gold appliques, Obsidian dial with gold-plated hands and gold appliques, Horizon blue dial with rhodium-plated hands and appliques or Dune dial with gold-plated hands and gold appliques.
  • Crystal: Sapphire, double box-glass, antireflective coating on both sides
  • Water resistance: 50m (5 Bar)
  • Movement: IWC Schaffhausen in-house calibre 52616
  • Movement Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 7 days
  • Bracelet: Gradient light-blue calfskin strap from Santoni with an 18-carat white gold folding clasp (ref. IW503703), black alligator leather strap from Santoni with an 18-carat white gold folding clasp (ref. IW503704), black alligator leather strap from Santoni with an 18-carat 5N Armor Gold® folding clasp (ref. IW503702), brown alligator leather strap from Santoni with 18-carat 5N Armor Gold® folding clasp (ref. IW503701).

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $70,000 AUD (Ref. IW503701), $72,000 AUD (Ref. IW503703), $72,000 AUD (Ref. IW503704) and $70,000 AUD (Ref. IW503702)

Availability: Available through IWC boutiques or authorised dealers. For more information, head to IWC.com.au

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