The Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde combines the magic of a floating tourbillon with the logic of a date hand that reverts to its starting position and the power of a 7-day in-house calibre. In 2015, this exclusive timepiece is even more attractive to look at. The Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound with its delicate, flying “whirlwind” will remain a source of delight to connoisseurs of precision watchmaking.
To mark the 75th
anniversary of the Portugieser watch family, IWC has given the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde (Ref. 5046) an additional touch of luxury. The new arched-edge front glass makes the watch appear both slimmer and more elegant. The horns have also been ergonomically optimized to make the watch more comfort- able to wear on a slimmer wrist. Another new feature is the exclusive alligator leather strap by Santoni:a fitting accessory for the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde. The dial of the platinum version is silver plated while the red gold model is fitted with as late-coloureddial.Thereverse side of the watch with its see-through sapphire-glass back is also more attractive. The narrower and partly perforated solid red gold rotor with its “Probus Scafusia” relief engrav- ing provides a generous view of the IWC-manufactured 51900 calibre.
IWC’s Watchmaking Milestones
Moving clockwise round the dial of the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde, we encounter three milestones in IWC’s illustrious history: at “12 o’clock” is the minute tour- billonfirstunveiledin1993;next,at“3o’clock”,the7-day power reserve display of the in-house 50000-calibre family launched in 2000; and finally, between “6 o’clock” and “9 o’clock”, the retrograde date display created in 2010 exclusively for the Portugieser.
The tourbillon, which makes the “12” appear to come to life, gives the watch not only its name but also a touch of mystery. Set in a mirror-finished ring, it forms the visual centrepiece of the entire dial. The complication is mounted ononesideonlyandthereforeknownasa“flying”tourbillon. Thiscreatestheillusionthatthebalanceisfloatinginmid- air against the deep black background but also allows us to see the “whirlwind”, as its name translates literally, at work. Originally, the tourbillon was designed for use in pocket watches, where it offset the gravitational error inevitable in an oscillating system with a balance and spring, and the resulting deviation in rate. To achieve this, the balance, pallet and escape wheel are mounted in a tiny cage that rotates around its own axis once every minute. This filigree work of art consists of 82 parts and weighs 0.635 grams: a masterpiece of haute horlogerie, made in Schaffhausen.
Retrograde Display For An Unusual Sense Of Time
The second eponymous complication, namely the retro- grade date display, was clearly not intended to be hidden, as its uncompromising presence suggests: the semicircular arc from 1 to 31, which has a similar design to that of the railway-track-style chapter ring, takes up a full quarter of the dial. This unusual type of display not only gives the wearer a very special feel for time: unlike a classic date disc, it has the additional advantage that the tourbillon is not concealed by the date disc. Not least of all, the mo- ment at the end of each month when the large hand reverts instantaneously to its starting position is a remarkable event in itself. In months with fewer than 31 days or when the watch has not been worn for a while, the date display can be advanced rapidly using the crown until it jumps back to the 1st
of the month. Doing this does not involve resetting the time. Ontheright-handsideofthedial,the7-daypowerreserve display indicates how much energy remains in the IWC- manufactured 51900 calibre.