For a long time, the old IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar has been one of my favourite perpetual calendar watches. I love the way it looks, how the function is laid out and how the watch feels on the wrist (big and chunky). I think they could have run with it forever. But, its four subdial layout with a clever year indicator is quite complicated looking, and the watch itself was massive measuring in at over 44mm in diameter and nearly 15mm thick.
IWC hasn’t discontinued the Portuguese, sorry, Portugieser from the range, but it has given us a more classically styled perpetual calendar dress watch. Gone is the fourth subdial, now the new one has only three in the conventional 3,6,9 layout. Gone too are the year indicator and the power reserve indicator, so it won’t show you what year it is or how much juice is left in the tank.
It does, however, offer a pleasingly simple and contemporary design. This watch displays the date, days and months using three subdials, with two new displays residing within the subdials. At 6 O’clock you’ll find a moonphase, and at 9 O’clock there is a tiny cutout for a leap year indicator which comes in the form of a red letter ‘L’ when there’s a leap year. IWC’s classic numerals and leaf-style hands make a comeback too and tie in with the open and unfussy dial to create a pleasing appearance.
This watch is smaller than the other Portugieser Perpetual Calendar watch that I mentioned earlier. It comes in at 42.4mm x 13.8mm in size, which immediately makes it more approachable and forgiving for people with smaller wrists. Part of the reason for this downsizing is the calibre, the automatic-winding 82650 in the new Perpetual Calendar is smaller than the 52615 in the other Portugieser Perpetual Calendar watch, but it sacrifices its power reserve to do this. The 52615 has a monstrous 168 hours (1 week) of autonomy, but the 82650 only has a 60-hour power reserve. Nevertheless, it’s been finished immaculately and is on display through the caseback, where you can see for yourself that the 82650 is a smaller calibre (it doesn’t stretch to the outer edge of the case like the 52165.
Now, throughout this article, I’ve continuously compared the two watches and hinted that the old Perpetual Calendar was being discontinued. That was a deliberate misleading on my part. You’ll be pleased to know that this new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is not a replacement, but will instead sit side-by-side with the older one.
Pricing for the stainless steel version of the watch comes in at $22,900, while the red gold models will cost $32,900, and they come in IWC’s Armour Gold, which is a proprietary blend of metals that is more resistant to scratches than regular gold.