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In a minute: the IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph

Meet the high-horology model at the top of IWC’s Portugieser pyramid this year.

What it is:

It is the year of the Portugieser at IWC and the manufacture has made sure there is something among its 2020 novelties for every fan of its classic marine chronometer-inspired family. Aside from more accessible pieces such as the new 40mm Portugieser Automatic, there are also a few high-complication models. One of them is the watch you see here: the Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph. If it looks familiar, that is because the in-house movement 89900 that powers this timepiece made its debut in a Da Vinci case in 2017.

(Related: Horological highlights from Watches & Wonders 2020)

How it looks:

The first things that come to mind when you think of IWC are highly legible dive and pilot models or minimalist, dressier Portofino and Portugieser models, rather than quirky time displays. So, this timepiece, with its unusual layout, stands out. We love a good retrograde display (here, it shows the date, with the hand leaping back to 1 at the end of every month) and the architectural, flying tourbillon with a hacking mechanism that stops the balance wheel when the crown is pulled to set the time. The chronograph display is also uniquely unorthodox – the hour and minute chronograph registers share the same subdial at noon.

How it wears:

Measuring 43.5mm across and 16mm in height, the Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph isn’t small by any standards, but that is to be expected with such a complex movement. Even though its measurements are slightly smaller than those of its Da Vinci predecessor (44mm across and 17mm thick) on paper, it wears larger because of its longer lugs compared to the Da Vinci’s articulated ones. There are two variants: a silver-dialled version in platinum and a blue-dialled, boutique-exclusive version with a case made of IWC’s new Armor Gold – a variant of 5N red gold engineered to be five to ten times more wear-resistant than usual.

(Related: Samsung collaborates with Thom Browne for its new devices)

Movement: Automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve

Case: 43.5mm in Armor Gold or platinum

Price: $105,000 Swiss francs (S$153,246) for the Armor Gold model and 123,000 Swiss francs for the platinum; limited to 50 pieces each

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