Hands-On IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Watch Review
Besides a chronograph or GMT, there are only a very few mechanical complications one would “need”. Purists can debate whether a tourbillon is a complication, but it’s one of those examples of a complication that has little use today. It’s just there to admire and enjoy.
A perpetual calendar is somewhere in the middle. Having a calendar on your wrist that shows the day, date, month, leap-year, and moon phase, is simply pretty cool. It might come in handy, but it’s mainly there to show the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers who are able to program a calendar for the coming centuries.
Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42
The first word that comes to mind when putting this watch on the wrist is “impressive”. The fact that this 42mm diameter Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is made of 18ct rose gold definitely helps. The silver-plated dial with the applied rose gold numerals and hands look very clean. It would perhaps be a bit too clean were it not for the perpetual calendar on there as well. In the left sub-dial, you will find the weekdays and a small aperture for the leap-year indicator. On the right sub-dial, you’ll find the date. And the sub-dial at 6 o’clock shows the moonphase and the month. The long sleek rose gold hands are super elegant and have exactly the right length.
From a design point of view, I don’t think there’s anything that IWC could have done differently here that would make the dial any more attractive. The center of the subdials has snailing decoration, which is surrounded by a recessed track, printed with the weekdays, dates, and months).
Everything is done by the crown
As you can imagine, setting a perpetual calendar can be a tricky thing to do. Once you advance the date too far, you have to either wait (but that can be months, if you really messed it up) or send it back to the watchmaker to correct it. There are only a few perpetual calendars out there that can be set backward by the end-user (Ulysse Nardin’s GMT ± Perpetual comes to mind). The good thing is, that the calendar functions on this IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar are set with the crown. This means there are no extra micro pushers or correctors in the case band or between the lugs. You just need to operate the crown to set the time and the calendar. But again, be careful here. Make sure you take the time when doing this.
IWC Caliber 82650
Through the sapphire case back, it is possible to admire the beautiful-looking and self-winding IWC caliber 82650. It offers a power reserve of 60 hours and consists of no less than 326 components. As you can see in the picture above and in the video below, the decoration of IWC’s caliber 82650 is very nice. Côtes de Genève, perlage, beveled angles, sandblasting, and a beautifully decorated rotor all feature. It is a movement that makes full use of the case’s transparent case back!
As I wrote in the beginning, this movement is programmed for centuries to come. It only needs a small adjustment for 2100, 2200, 2300, the centurial years that skip the leap year. But don’t worry: I am sure your descendants will take care of that for you.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar on the wrist
This IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar looks amazing. Rose gold is a perfect fit for a watch of this caliber. Although most people would classify this as a dress watch, I think it’s a bit more versatile than that, depending on whether you feel comfortable wearing a massive chunk of gold for everyday activities. The watch is 42.4mm wide and 13.8mm thick, so while relatively modest, keep in mind that we’re not talking about a sports watch here. But, a large size suits the Portugieser, in my opinion.
The strap on this Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is stunning and made by Santoni. I am a huge fan of Santoni shoes and it’s about my only “sartorial” excess I plead guilty to. That and watches (of course). It also has a rose gold pin buckle signed IWC. But, all this comes at a certain price. As you’ve probably already guessed, it isn’t cheap. The retail price of the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is €32,900.