Engineered to Intrigue
Escorted into a polished and tidy suite up at The Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. IWC’s regional associates were on hand to unveil before us media members a stunning piece of with more than just the usual twists and turns. It is a complications that is known among horologists and critiques as one of the IWC’s juggernaut in-house complications, the Constant Force Tourbillon. As we were carefully taken through an informative session of the complication’s origin, we were soon shown the trinkets that lay hidden in a crisp, mysterious case. Unlocking the box, the IWC gentleman set before us the Portugieser stripped down in its many big components – the dial and case all separated to demonstrate to us how one could customize this Portugieser Constant Force Tourbillon.
When we inspected the timepiece even closer, there was no mistaking that the double moon phase display could be completed in varying combos depending on the would-be customer’s taste. This customizable watch concept, with different case materials, dial and strap colours , is further enhanced with different options for a personal engraving on the case back.Underneath this somewhat bespoke timepiece is the heart of the IWC special, the tourbillon itself. A product of 10 years of immense scrutiny and remastering, the current result is seen and felt in a highly complex constant force mechanism integrated in a tourbillon. The constant-force mechanism ensures that the escapement delivers an absolutely even supply of power and delivers unprecedented precision making the watch’s rate extremely precise.
The frequency of the constant-force tourbillon has purposely been set at 2.5 Hz to enable the system to wind the balance spring every second. Further discussion and research on our part revealed how the mechanism is a form of Swiss clubtooth lever escapement. To set it further apart from the norm, it is all made more difficult by the fact that the constant force mechanism is situated between the escape wheel and the fourth wheel, right in front of the balance, and has a direct influence on the latter’s oscillations. As a result, the permitted tolerances are extremely small – in some cases as little as one thousandth of a millimetre.
The constant-force lever and cam are manufactured using the LIGA process combined with X-ray exposure. This timepiece is crafted in red gold or platinum and comes in four dial colour options, ardoise, black, silver or blue. These can then be mixed and matched with Santoni-made strap, also available in black, dark brown or blue, with stitching colours either in red gold or platinum for the outer portion and orange for the inner side of this intriguing IWC masterclass.