How do you silence your critics? You make something great. That’s exactly what IWC Schaffhausen did with the reboot of its new Portugieser line this past January. While some were saying that IWC had forgotten its roots, the Teutonic brand went back to them, releasing a quiver of watches from one of its seminal collections. There were lovely hand-wound pieces that hearkened to the original watches made for Portuguese clients in the 1930s; there were chronographs; there was even a new world timer. But the watch that perhaps best captured the modern IWC was the Portugieser Annual Calendar, which looked both backward at nostalgia and forward at the future of the brand.
The entire Portugieser collection released at 2015’s SIHH watch fair was a bold move toward greater independence for the brand, with new in-house movements that promise to trickle down into IWC’s other watch families. In the Annual Calendar, the complication made its debut in an innovative fashion. Arranged at 12:00, the day, date and month displays that are the hallmark of this type of watch are arranged in the “American” style — month, date, day — in an homage to IWC’s New England-born founder, F.A. Jones. They only require correction in February of leap years. Aesthetically, the Portugieser Annual Calendar follows the classic lines of this most renowned IWC watch family with gently curved lugs, a domed crystal and topped with beautiful silver-plated or dark blue sunburst dials.
It’s a fitting watch to lead the aptly named International Watch Company into a new era: American-style date display in a watch named (in German) for an Iberian nation built in Switzerland.
Movement: Self-winding mechanical calibre 52850
Case: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30m
Functions: Time, day, date, month
Strap: Alligator leather