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All wound up

Before a mechanical watch movement can start moving, it needs an energy source to drive it. That energy source is the mainspring. And while there are some who enjoy engaging with the machine, lovingly winding it by hand, others take pleasure in the automatic mechanism, which will keep the watch running indefinitely, simply from the movements of the wearer's arm.

Experiences

51011 Calibre

Photos — Christian Coigny and Hans-Ruedi Rohrer Date — 1 April, 2010

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Experience - 51011 Calibre - Hero
—In 2000, after five years of development, IWC unveiled the Portuguese Automatic with the 5000 calibre, a movement that had been designed and produced in its own workshops
Portuguese Automatic

—The IWC manufactured 51011 calibre integrates the finest features ever to grace an automatic movement

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It’s no accident that this calibre has a gold medal

—Kurt Klaus, the legendary watchmaker who further improved this movement

Also rightly called the big IWC calibre. Manufactured in-house at the factory in Schaffhausen, it resulted from the first movement in the 5000-calibre family for a limited series of Portuguese watches in 2000. It also marked the revival of the Pellaton pawl-winding system at IWC. The version of the 51011 illustrated here, featuring circular graining, nickel plating and Geneva stripes decoration, is the driving force behind the Portuguese Automatic with small seconds, date and power reserve display.

Explore More Articles
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Ask watchmakers, and one thing is soon clear: their favourite complication is the tourbillon.

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Pellaton's ingenious automatic meets state-of-the-art engineering

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For an IWC watch to run accurately, the oscillations of the balance require careful adjustment.

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Balance of power

A mechanical watch continues to show the correct time even as the tension in the mainspring diminishes. Making this possible is a mechanism that has been gradually improved for over 300 years: the escapement.

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All wound up

Before a mechanical watch movement can start moving, it needs an energy source to drive it. That energy source is the mainspring. And while there are some who enjoy engaging with the machine, lovingly winding it by hand, others take pleasure in the automatic mechanism, which will keep the watch running indefinitely, simply from the movements of the wearer's arm.