There are many fine timepieces in today’s luxury watch market. However some manage to leave a particularly lasting impression because of their unique presence, particularly memorable heft, mechanical excellence or some virtue that may not even be tangible. The IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar watch stands out because it scores big points in many of these categories at once.
The IWC Portuguese watch is classically refined, but its also undeniably large – some would argue such an expansive case calls out for complications. The Portuguese Perpetual makes full use of that expansive dial and the various calendar displays fit superbly, with pleasing harmony and easy legibility. As far as the feel factor, its hard not to love this amazing watch, with its deliciously massive 18K red gold case – everything about it radiates fine finishing quality and the unmistakable sense of real luxury. The sapphire back is superb too; there’s none of the all too common “itsy-bitsy movement in a big case” syndrome going on… this movement was MADE for the large case, and its intricate Pellaton winding system is a real treat for eyes and ears (due to the fascinating sound made by the clicks interacting with the winding wheel) In this version, the complications are exceedingly impressive; the perpetual calendar with full century indication is accompanied by a dual-hemisphere moon phase indicator that errs by just one day every 577 years.
As far as presence goes, the IWC Portuguese Perpetual watch strolls into a room like Jackie Gleason playing Minnesota Fats. With its commanding dimensions, richly colored gold, and elegant finish, the fact that you are seeing a spectacular watch is unquestioned, even if you might not be entirely sure what it is at first glance. Only slightly smaller, IWC’s Portuguese Perpetual Calendar II watch is equally appealing, and arguably the better selection for classicists. Because the moon phase display of the “II” lacks the dual-hemisphere moonphase display, the dial is slightly less technical in appearance; too, the option of getting it in white gold is good news for those who prefer more discretion in an IWC complicated watch.
On top of the many virtues outlined above, the IWC Perpetual Calendar watches come in at right around $30,000 – a figure which is an incredibly good value relative to the exceptional degree of watchmaking excellence these models contain.