IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde

Eliza Scarborough   |   08 - 08 - 2017


For Connoisseurs of Fine Watchmaking



To mark the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser watch family, IWC has given the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde an additional touch of luxury. The new arched-edge front glass makes the watch appear both slimmer and more elegant, and the horns have also been ergonomically optimised to make the watch more comfort­able to wear on a slimmer wrist. Another new feature is the exclusive alligator leather strap by Santoni. The dial of the platinum version is silver plated while the red gold model is fitted with a slate-coloured dial. The reverse side of the watch with its see-through sapphire-glass back is also more attractive, and the narrower and partly perforated solid red gold rotor with its ‘Probus Scafusia’ relief engrav­ing provides a generous view of the IWC-manufactured 51900 calibre.


Moving clockwise round the dial of the Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde, we encounter three milestones in IWC’s illustrious history, at ‘12 o’clock’ is the minute tour­billon first unveiled in 1993, next, at ‘3 o’clock’, the 7-day power reserve display of the in-house 50000-calibre family launched in 2000, and finally, between ‘6 and 9 o’clock’, the retrograde date display created in 2010 exclusively for the Portugieser. The tourbillon, which makes the ‘12’ appear to come to life, gives the watch not only its name but also a touch of mystery. The complication is mounted on one side only and therefore known as a ‘flying’ tourbillon, creating the illusion that the balance is floating in mid-air.


The second eponymous complication, namely the retro­grade date display, was clearly not intended to be hidden, as its uncompromising presence suggests, the semi-circular arc from 1 to 31, which has a similar design to that of the railway-track-style chapter ring, takes up a full quarter of the dial. This unusual type of display not only gives the wearer a very special feel for time, it also has the additional advantage that the tourbillon is not concealed by the date disc.