Start Your 2021 Off Right With The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar

Start Your 2021 Off Right With The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar

Celebrate the new year and raise a glass to a long and happy life with these classic complications.

By Rhonda Riche

Happy New Year! Since ancient times, people have marked the new year by gathering together and making a lot of noise to chase away bad vibes. For 2021, let’s invite good fortune into our lives with a resolve to return to elegance with a classic Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42.

Developed by IWC’s former head-watchmaker Kurt Klaus in the 1980s, the perpetual calendar is one of the most legendary complications from the Schaffhausen-based luxury watchmaker. The intricate mechanical program automatically recognizes the different lengths of the months as well as the leap year and will continue running until 2100 without any adjustment needed. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 marks the first time that IWC’s engineers have integrated the calendar module with an in-house movement from the 82000 calibre family.

Although IWC launched this somewhat smaller version of the perpetual calendar at Watches & Wonders in April, these three 42.4mm wide and 13.8mm thick timepieces wear as comfortably as a cashmere sweater. And for those who prefer the classics, you can still opt for the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503406. Either way, we hope January 1st is the first day of a better era, and the time-honored traditions of IWC line up with those goals perfectly.

Here’s how to celebrate in style with IWC.

Dress Up

Previous generations used to do New Year’s Eve celebrations right. Look at pictures of your parents or grandparents getting out their best formal wear to ring out the old. And even if you’re watching the ball drop in Times Square at home, you can still use the occasion to dress up in your best suit or cocktail dress.

In fact, why not resolve to get a little more glamorous in 2021? The stainless steel, silver dialed Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 (ref. IW344203) is luxurious yet relaxed. We’re going to be spending a lot of time on zoom for the foreseeable future, so this timepiece, while complicated with displays for the date, day, month, leap year, and the perpetual moon phase, still counts as casual chic. Priced at $22,900, this elegant timepiece also comes on a supple black alligator leather strap by Santoni.

Well Rounded

Most New Year’s Eve festivities are full of symbolism. For example, many cultures celebrate by eating ring-shaped foods like donuts because they are thought to represent the calendar coming full circle.

And what could be rounder than the unforgettable Portugieser case? Or the day, date, and month sub-dials? Or the fullness of the moon on the moon phase indicator? These are the kinds of signifiers that have made IWC’s Perpetual Calendar instantly recognizable.

In the south, eating cornbread on New Year’s Day also represents good fortune because it represents gold. That’s where the 18k gold, silver dialed Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 (ref. IW344202) comes in.

These new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 are so well-built that you don’t need to rely on luck or superstition to ensure happier days. The rounded case and convex sapphire crystals on the front and back enclose the in-house, automatic 82650 Calibre with a frequency of 28800.0 vph (4.0 hz) and a 60-hour power reserve.

It also features IWC’s super-efficient Pellaton winding system constructed with ceramic components to reduce wear and tear. Priced at $32,900, the case is made of 5N rose gold. This shimmering hue is nicely complemented by a brown alligator leather strap by Santoni.

Make Plans

The moon is the original calendar. Our ancestors used it not only to mark the passage of time but also to plan the future and to navigate the seas. And setting goals is as much a New Year’s tradition as raising a glass of champagne when the clock strikes midnight.

The last of the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 is the blue-dialed Boutique Edition (ref. IW344205), and it has us feeling particularly optimistic about 2021.

Because of their smaller size, all of the 42s have a more simplified layout than previous Portugieser Perpetuals. And the most daring difference is the placement of the moon phase, which is on the same sub-dial as the months and has moved from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock. Moreover, the seconds sub-dial has been replaced with a central seconds hand. This rationalization results in a clean and easy-to-read dial.

When you factor in the Boutique Edition's blue dial, gold-plated hands, and 18-karat gold appliqués, the moon phase and the leap year indicator lend the watch a much more dramatic look. Priced at $32,900, the blue alligator leather strap by Santoni adds an extra element of surprise to this once-in-a-blue-moon beauty.

Embrace the New Normal

Speaking of classic styling, clocking in at 44.2mm is the platinum Portugieser Perpetual Calendar (ref. IW503406).

The display is wonderfully balanced and easy to operate – not that you should have to adjust the time and date if you wear it every day, but if you have to, the watch can be advanced simply by turning the crown. And this platinum features a mirror image moon phase display, depicting the moon as seen by observers in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Along with the perpetual moon phase, the watch displays the date, day, month, and year in four digits. Fortunately, the twin-barreled IWC-manufactured automatic 52615 Calibre keeps complications like the annual calendar and perpetual calendar from sapping the energy from the 168-hour power reserve. And if you keep it wound, it will take 577.5 years before you have to readjust the moon phase display by one day.

When it comes down to it, the greatest joy of a perpetual calendar watch is its focus on the future. And the long-lasting platinum case helps us picture many beautiful and shiny days to come. It also has a permanence that is reassuring when things feel a little unpredictable.

Priced at $53,300, the platinum Portugieser Perpetual Calendar (ref. IW503406) is presented on a black alligator leather strap by Santoni and is limited to 250 pieces.

Happy New Year from IWC Schaffhausen and Watchonista!

(Images by IWC Schaffhausen, Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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