One of the most sophisticated watches in the world was presented by IWC at the SIHH 2015 in Geneva. The new Portugieser Grande Complication ref. 3776 brings together many of watchmaking’s most significant achievements in a massive yet elegant 45 mm case either in 18K red gold ref. IW377602 or platinum ref. IW377601 of which 250 pieces are available respectively. This new complication brings with it the perpetual calendar, which is mechanically programmed until 2499 and requires just three adjustments in what would normally be leap years —2100, 2200 and 2300— but are not. Further complications include the perpetual moon phase display, chronograph and minute repeater. When activated by the repeating slide, the latter chimes out the precise time in harmonious tones. A total of 20 functions are made possible by the interplay of 659 individual mechanical parts. Despite its complex construction and numerous controls, the case is water-resistant to 3 bar. Several design modifications further enhance the value of the model in the new collection.
The silver-plated dial, for example, no longer bears an engraving of the globe showing longitude and latitude. Because of this, it looks clearer and more composed. The dial features chrono-minute register with concentric moon phase indicator at 12, day indicator with concentric running seconds register at 9, month with concentric chrono-hour register at 6, year in four digit format at 7 and date indicator at 3 o'clock.
It took 50,000 hours to develop the highly complex minute repeater strike train for the Grande Complication and the Portugieser Minute Repeater. It is operated by an eye-catching repeating slide on the left-hand side of the case and chimes out the time in crystal-clear tones. The hours on the lower-pitched of the two gongs, followed by a double strike on both gongs for the quarters and finally a single strike on the higher-pitched gong for the minutes. Every gong is individually handmade and carefully tuned for pitch and tonal purity. The all-or-nothing piece, as it is known, ensures that the mechanism will never chime out an incomplete —and thus incorrect— series of acoustic tones even if the repeating slide is released too early.
The engraving on the back of the case now takes the form of a compass rose. Keeping the watch firmly attached to its Santoni alligator leather strap are newly designed ergonomic strap horns. The strap of the 18K red gold version is stitched with red gold thread while the strap of the exclusive platinum model is finished with a platinum thread. Powered by the automatic IWC in-house calibre, the watch provides a power reserve of 44 hours when fully wound.
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and quite elegantly. If you have a little bit over quarter of a million dollars laying around there and you are a true lover of grande complications, this watch is a must have.
Sticker Price $247,000 USD for 18K red gold and $283,000 USD for platinum. For more info on IWC Schaffhausen click here.