The Portuguese Minute Repeater, with its ability to make the time audible with great accuracy, is already a true horological work of art in its own right. However, the skeletonized limited edition of this orchestra on the wrist makes a further quantum leap forwards – it even displays the source of the tones. This horological solitaire is also available in platinum.
The tones of the Portuguese Minute Repeater are produced in a dark place. It is not normally accessible, even to an inquisitive eye. For this complicated mechanism, assembled from 250 individual parts, operates in seclusion beneath the dial for the pure pleasure of its wearer, for whom it transforms the time into tones with great accuracy in response to a simple movement of the slide. The repeating mechanism was invented at a time without electric light or luminous hands. The achievement by the watchmakers of an earlier age, who first succeeded in transforming the time indicated by the hands of a watch into a complicated series of movements by wheels, racks and levers, and finally into hammer strokes on gongs, continues to command high respect.
Only a few master watchmakers today possess this degree of proficiency. Yet the fascination of the Minute Repeater still prevails, even if its original raison d’être no longer applies. In the meantime, IWC has taken yet another decisive step forward with the Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette. For it now combines acoustic with visual delight: It makes the most spectacular mechanism in the field of the grandes complications visible and readily appreciated.
Admittedly, the Portuguese Minute Repeater made a positive contribution to this project in the sense that, with its case diameter of 42 mm, it approaches the size of a pocket watch. So there really is something to see. Moreover, the complete repeating mechanism is accommodated directly under the dial, and it is not hidden from view by a calendar module of any kind. The critical conceptual step was thus to configure the technical universe of the minute repeater as an animated dial, which is scarcely disturbed by the presence of the two slender hands.
To achieve total transparency, the dial itself was pared down to a narrow graduated ring at the edge of the case, and the repeating mechanism exposed as much as possible. The bridges with their jewel bearings were reduced to a minimal, functionally necessary supporting structure. This skeletonization, which continues as far as the underlying 95911calibre pocket watch movement, is not envisaged as artistic decoration.
Rather the aesthetics of precision and complex mechanics are showcased in a previously unseen fashion behind the two coated sapphire glasses on the front and rear. The Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette exposes everything. But for only a privileged few. After two strictly limited editions of 50 watches each in rose gold and white gold, the platinum variant in a limited edition of 25 watches crowns this horological work of art in a manner of speaking.
Model: Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette in platinum Ref. IW524104
Skeletonized mechanical movement, minute repeater, small seconds with stop function, Breguet balance spring, limited to 25 pieces
Vibrations : 18,000/h / 2.5 Hz
Jewels : 54
Power reserve : 43 h
Winding : Hand-wound
Material : Platinum
Glass : Sapphire, convex, antireflective coating
Diameter : 43 mm
Height : 12.3 mm