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Experiences

IWC’s New
Proprietary 52000-Calibre
Family

Date2015-01-19T05:30:00

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IWC 75 Years Portugieser

In 2015, IWC Schaffhausen will embark on a concerted campaign to develop more of its own movements. In the years ahead, this will result in the launch of three new calibre families, all made in Schaffhausen. The new movements, developed and produced in-house, will feature numerous technical improvements. Apart from these new elements, IWC’s calibres will undergo a design overhaul to enhance their aesthetic appeal. First out of the blocks is the newly developed 52000-calibre family, which is found in four models in the new Portugieser collection.

01. Maximum precision

Modern balance with Breguet spring generating a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour

02. 7-day power reserve

Two barrels build up an impressive 7-day power reserve

03. Highly efficient pellation automatic winding system

Highly efficient, bidirectional pawl-winding system

Automatic wheel and pawls made of ceramic for minimum wear and tear

04. Wear-resistant ceramic

The rotor bearing is made of extremely hard, white wear-resistant ceramic

05. Aesthetic enhancements

Rotor with 18-carat red gold medallion

Perpetual calendar models with exquisite blued screws and solid red gold rotor

06. Design modifications

The design and finish of the new calibre family have been enhanced

The slimmer proportions of the rotor provide a generous view of the new movement

The new IWC-manufactured calibres: beautiful, large and precise

The following animation provides an in-depth presentation of the technical innovations and attractive design of the movement in the new calibre family

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01

Maximum Precision

Modern balance with Breguet spring generating a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour

02

7‑day Power Reserve

Two barrels build up an impressive 7‑day power reserve

03

Highly efficient Pellaton Automatic Winding System

Highly efficient, bidirectional pawl‑winding system

Automatic wheel and pawls made of ceramic for minimum wear and tear

04

Wear‑resistant Ceramic

The rotor bearing is made of extremely hard, white wear‑resistant ceramic

05

Aesthetic Enhancements

Rotor with 18‑carat red gold medallion

Perpetual calendar models with exquisite blued screws and solid red gold rotor

06

Design Modifications

The design and finish of the new calibre family have been enhanced

The slimmer proportions of the rotor provide a generous view of the new movement

Technical improvements for maximum precision

The IWC-manufactured movements in the new 52000-calibre family feature numerous technical upgrades. The indexless balance has an increased frequency of 4 hertz (28,800 beats per hour). Combined with a Breguet spring bent into shape using traditional methods, this guarantees maximum precision. The new family of movements is equipped with bidirectional Pellaton winding and two barrels. The latter supply the watches with a 7-day power reserve and drive energy-sapping complications such as the new annual calendar and the perpetual calendar.

IWC 52850 calibre
—IWC’s proprietary 52850 calibre has two barrels to provide the new function in the Portugieser Annual Calendar (Ref. 5035) with the energy it needs but still has plenty in store for the 7-day power reserve.

Another innovation in this particular drive is the material. The winding pawls and the automatic wheel are made of black ceramic, and the rotor bearing of white ceramic; or to be more precise, zirconium oxide. The use of these extremely hard high-tech materials has made the automatic winding mechanism practically free of wear and tear. Nevertheless, ceramics are very difficult to process and machine, so using them to make parts is unusual in the watch industry and further consolidates IWC’s role as a pioneer and materials innovator.

Enhancing the movement design

The 52000-calibre family also sets new aesthetic standards. The design and finish of the movements in the new calibre family have undergone another significant enhancement. The proportions of the rotor and the inset gold “Probus Scafusia” medallion are significantly less dominant. This provides a generous view through the transparent sapphire-glass back and into the watches’ inner workings. The improved Pellaton winding system with practically wear-free components made of black and white ceramic can also be seen quite clearly.

The calibres from the 52000 family chosen for Portugieser models with a perpetual calendar feature an engraved rotor made of solid 18-carat red gold. These also have blued screws – for many watch connoisseurs a sine qua non in an exquisitely made in-house movement. Together, the decorative circular graining and Geneva stripes, the interplay of red jewels, blue screws and black ceramic elements, and the red gold of the rotor convey an overall impression of quality thoroughly in keeping with an in-house movement such as this.

IWC 52815 calibre
—The new IWC-manufactured 52610 and 52615 (pictured) calibres with blued screws and various types of decorative finishing are the driving force behind the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar with single moon (Ref. 5033) and double moon (Ref. 5034), respectively. The engraved rotor is made of solid 18-carat red gold.

Calibre production with a long tradition

The focus on greater autonomy in the manufacture of movements and pride in its own watchmaking capabilities are nothing new in Schaffhausen. In an IWC catalogue published as early as 1895, we read: “The production of original watch movements closely follows the rules of watchmaking and the laws of mathematics, systematically applied by the very best master watchmakers. With the exception of the dials, hands and springs, the vast majority of the parts are manufactured in our factory.”

The quest for independence and large-scale vertical integration has been deeply rooted at IWC since the company’s earliest years under F. A. Jones. Then, as now, the Schaffhausen-based company chose not to produce every single part down to the last cog, but focused especially on movements and complications. For many years now, some of haute horlogerie’s most outstanding achievements, such as perpetual calendars, tourbillons, minute repeaters and moon phase displays have been produced in the company’s own workshops.

The decoration of watch movements, too, has a long history in Schaffhausen. Even the first F. A. Jones calibres featured engravings and decorative elements. The reason for this lies in the then common practice among American watchmakers of making uncased movements the focus of their window displays. By doing so, they gave buyers a chance to familiarize themselves with the watch’s complex internal workings, even if they never actually saw the movement in the finished product.

IWC Jones Calibre
—A calibre named after IWC’s founder, F. A. Jones, around 1875, with intricate engraving and decorative finishing.

Despite elaborate decorative elements, the movements in the new 52000-calibre family retain their technical character. IWC Schaffhausen thus remains true to the engineering ethos for which company founder F. A. Jones laid the cornerstone with production methods that, even back then, represented the state of the art.

IWC 52010 calibre
—From this year on, the Portugieser Automatic (Ref. 5007) will also be powered by the IWC-manufactured 52 movements. The Pellaton winding system has been fitted with further components made of wear-resistant ceramic; and instead of one there are now two barrels, which build up an impressive 7-day power reserve.

Discover the new 2015 Portugieser collection

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Portugieser Collection
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IWC celebrates the 75th anniversary of an icon
Explore More Articles
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Sketch
Putting eternity on your wrist

During his time as head watchmaker at IWC, Kurt Klaus translated the Gregorian calendar with all its many irregularities into a mechanical program that will continue running perfectly until 2499 with virtually no corrections from outside.

Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon
The constant is the force

IWC's constant-force mechanism ensures that the escapement delivers an absolutely even supply of power and delivers unprecedented precision.

breguet_spring
Increased precision
down to the overcoil

In some IWC calibres, the balance rim oscillates to and fro on a Breguet spring. The terminal coil is painstaking shaped by hand and plays a significant role in ensuring that the balance oscillates with perfect regularity, thus increasing the watch's precision.

IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar
IWC Annual Calendar:
The New Small Eternity

The new IWC Annual Calendar with the 52850 in-house movement reduces the calendar problem to a single manual adjustment at the end of February. And that‘s it.

IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde
Where time flies

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

IWC 52010 calibre
Pellaton's ingenious automatic meets state-of-the-art engineering

A matter of adjustment

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

Unruhreif_Spirale.jpg
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.