We’ve been waiting for this watch for a very long time. Well, in a sense I guess you could say we’ve been waiting for it for 10 years, but you know what I mean.
What we’re looking at right now is a one-of-a-kind timepiece — yes, a limited edition of one. The IWC Portugieser Hand Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary” Unique Piece for REVOLUTION is a remarkable and enormously gracious gesture on the part of the Schaffhausen watchmaking company in commemoration of our 10th anniversary in print.
What makes this watch even more special is that we will be auctioning it off in aid of a charity that’s very near to our hearts. On Tuesday 6 October, this unique timepiece will come up for sale in the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches auction, with all proceeds of the sale to go directly to Smile Asia, a charity that provides free surgery to children born with facial deformities.
Frankly, I can’t imagine a more meaningful way for us to acknowledge such an important milestone in our company history. It’s also incredibly symbolic that a watch which represents IWC’s forward-looking philosophy plays a key role in helping disadvantaged kids move towards a more hopeful future.
Some of you will remember — it wasn’t too long ago, after all — the limited series of 10 watches that IWC produced for REVOLUTION late last year. It was also a Portugieser, and it manifested through an eloquent cry straight from the heart of our co-founder and group editorial director Wei Koh, expressing admiration and desire for the Jubilee Portugieser that IWC released in 1993 upon the revival of this legendary collection.
The 10-piece IWC Portugieser Hand Wound Special Edition “REVOLUTION 10th Anniversary” ref. IW544001 was indeed a faithful homage to the 1993 watch, which was itself a faithful homage to many of the very first Portugieser watches produced by IWC. Narrow bezel, curved horns, arched crystal, slim “feuille” hands, Arabic hour numerals, minimalist dot minute indices, small seconds at six o’clock and — perhaps most importantly for IWC enthusiasts — the company’s full name inscribed in italic script just below the 12 o’clock mark.
A year ago, if you’d asked 10 IWC collectors what the original Portugieser timepiece looked like, you’d get 10 descriptions along the lines of the above-described attributes. If you asked 100 IWC collectors the same question, you’d get the same answers, and this is a scalable result, ladies and gentlemen.
Of course, that was before the 2015 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. That was before IWC presented its Portugieser Hand Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”. That was before our view of Portugieser history changed.
The 2015 version of the hand-wound Portugieser featured a dial that IWC conclusively stated was a hallmark of one of the early-batch Portugiesers. It had thickly painted Arabic numerals at every quarter, a chemin-de-fer minute track and a rather more confidently marked small seconds counter. They discovered it in their archives as they were leading up to the 75th anniversary of the first Portugieser watch, and it’s significant that this discovery took place in context of a watershed period for the company in general.
What is an anniversary to you? Is it a chance to look back and celebrate historical achievements? Or is it the point of ignition that drives you into the next great glorious era of progress?
Like most interesting questions, the answer is: a little bit of both. What’s more, I see the two REVOLUTION anniversary models of the Portugieser as reflecting these very two approaches.
The 10-piece REVOLUTION Portugieser aesthetically represented everything about IWC that long-time collectors cherished and sought to preserve. It even housed the beautiful, traditional full-bridge manual-winding calibre 98200 with two days of power reserve, a variation of the historic caliber 98, which was itself derived from the old pocket watch Jones movements of IWC.
The IWC Portugieser Hand Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary” Unique Piece for REVOLUTION is everything that we can look forward to in the Schaffhausen company. It has a robust, high-performance movement with an exceptional power reserve, the calibre 59215. It may not be as romantic or as aesthetically refined as the movements in the 98 family, but it definitely has the edge in terms of industrial strength.
Like the dial variation of the 2015 Portugieser, this technically focused and performance-oriented side of IWC isn’t something new — it’s something that has been part of the company for a long time. But it’s definitely coming into greater prominence recently, especially with the manufacture’s renewed emphasis on production autonomy as shown by its new in-house calibres.
Hold these two watches up side by side, and you’ll see what I mean. Both the 10-piece Portugieser and the unique Portugieser are completely and without question watches that embody the IWC spirit and philosophy. The fact that they are so similar and yet so different allows us to look forward to an exceptional range of IWC watches in the years to come.
It’s not necessarily the first thing you think about when you lay eyes on the unique timepiece, but then again the most important things aren’t always the things that stand out the most.
The dial of the unique REVOLUTION Portugieser is a one-of-a-kind combination of black dial and ecru accents that sets it apart from the models presented in January. An engraving of the words “10th ANNIVERSARY REVOLUTION” on the movement further distinguishes the watch — as does the “UNIQUE PIECE” engraving on the rear of the case.
We don’t know who this watch is going to end up with; in fact we might never know. But whoever you are, you’re going to end up with a pretty amazing watch; you’re also going to make a lot of people (including yourself) really happy.
PORTUGIESER HAND-WOUND EIGHT DAYS EDITION “75TH ANNIVERSARY” UNIQUE PIECE FOR REVOLUTION REF. IW510208
FEATURES Mechanical movement • Power reserve display on reverse side • Date display • Small hacking seconds • Glucydur® beryllium alloy indexless balance with high-precision adjustment screws on balance rim • Breguet overcoil hairspring • Movement with special engraving “10th ANNIVERSARY REVOLUTION”
MOVEMENT IWC-manufactured calibre 59215 • Manual winding • 28,800vph (4Hz) • 30 jewels • Eight-day (192h) power reserve
WATCH Case in 18-carat red gold • Case diameter 43mm • Case height 12mm • Black dial • Black alligator leather strap by Santoni • Pin buckle in 18-carat red gold • Sapphire dial crystal, arched edge, antireflective coating on both sides • Sapphire caseback crystal • Water-resistant to 3 bar
SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG IMPORTANT WATCHES AUCTION 6TH OCTOBER 2015
The Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary” Unique Piece for REVOLUTION will be presented for sale as Lot 2292 in the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches Auction on Tuesday 6th October 2015.
A public preview of the timepieces to be presented for sale, including the IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary” Unique Piece for REVOLUTION, will be held in Hall 3 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from Friday 2nd October 2015 to Monday 5th October 2015.
Viewing hours are as follows:
2nd October 2015 — 1000h–1730h
3rd October 2015 — 1000h–2000h
4th October 2015 — 1000h–2000h
5th October 2015 — 1000h–1830h
The Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches Auction Autumn 2015 opens on the morning of Tuesday 6th October 2015 at 1030h Hong Kong time (UTC+08:00), and the bidding for Lot 2292 is expected to begin at approximately 1630h (UTC+08:00).
Interested buyers may bid at the live auction in Hong Kong, via telephone, or online at www.sothebys.com. Registration for online bidding will close 24 hours before the auction commences. For more information on the auction, visit the Sotheby’s website here.
All proceeds from the sale will go towards Smile Asia, an international alliance of charities that provide free surgery to children with facial deformities. By default, all proceeds raised in Hong Kong will be expended in China through Beam International Foundation Ltd, a member of Smile Asia.