Hands-On With The Replica IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. 5035

few years ago, when I was still in banking, I noticed that IWC became the new Rolex for many colleagues. Where the Rolex Submariners, Datejusts, Day-Dates and – of course – Daytonas were part of the appearance of many colleagues for many years, there was a clear shift going on to IWC replica watches. My explanation for this would be that IWC changed its direction a bit from being a manufacturer of tool watches to being the manufacturer of watches for a wide(r) audience. Understandable. At that time I also  decided to buy an IWC; an Ingenieur ref. 3227-01. Based on the heritage of a pure tool watch, but with the finish and elegance of a modern wearable mechanical timepiece.

A watch I wore a lot and I loved the finish on the case and bracelet as well as the in-house caliber 80110 movement. However, at some point I did a trade-up for another watch and had to let a couple of cheap replica watches go, including this IWC Ingenieur. Up to this day, there are two IWC collections that I really prefer over all others; the Ingenieur and the Portugieser. The Ingenieur for the reasons mentioned above, and the Portugieser mainly for its aesthetics. What is not to like about the design of the IWC Portugieser?

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75th Anniversary of the Portugieser

This year, IWC celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser watch. A name that wasn’t used before 1993 though, when IWC resurrected the Portugieser collection. You have to know, that back in the day, a lot of brands (including IWC) only used a reference number to indicate a particular watch. Using collection and model names is something that wasn’t very common in the first half of the 20th century. The IWC Portugieser goes back to 1940, when two importers from Lisbon, Portugal, requested a large pocket watch sized wristwatch for their clients.

IWC created such a watch, with a very unusual 41,5mm diameter for that time, when the average mens Fake Rolex watches had a diameter between 30 and 35 mmm. The reason for the Portuguese business men to request a wristwatch with a large diameter was that pocket watches had a better accuracy due to the larger movement, and thus larger balance. IWC used their hunter style pocket watches caliber 74 and 98 for this new project to ensure accuracy for the wristwatch. The first “Portugieser” watch was actually referred to as ‘325’ and was in production from 1939 till 1981 in different sub versions. The first version came with the mentioned caliber 74 movement (in production till 1951) and not long after its introduction, in 1944, there was a second version with caliber 98. This 325-2 reference was in production till 1971. A third version of the 325, was in production from 1977 till 1980 and was referred to as the “German edition” and IWC only produced 57 of those. In total, IWC made 690 reference 325 fake watches for sale.

IWC did a wonderful on-line book on the Portugieser collection that consists of 164 pages that is well-worth reading. You can read it here.

The IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. 5035

As I’ve wrote before, IWC resurrected the Portugieser watch in 1993. It was actually Kurt Klaus that proposed the relaunch of the Portugieser watch after he discovered an original 1940s piece on the wrist of a colleague. Then CEO of IWC, the legendary Günter Blümlein (also one of the few people involved in the resurrection of the A. Lange & Söhne manufacture) decided to give it a go and in 1993, IWC introduced a watch called “Portugieser” that shows a huge resemblance with the reference 325. From then on, IWC made the Portugieser to a separate collection and made a number of variations. The masses will probably know the Portugieser Chronograph (ref. 3714) best, using the appearance of the classic Portugieser timepiece with a Valjoux 7750 based chronograph movement inside. Another well-known Portugieser is the “Automatic 7-Days” (ref. 5007).

However today, we are looking at the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. 3035. A piece that was introduced during the SIHH last January. To be brutally honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic when I laid my eyes on it for the first time when I was in Geneva. The apertures for the day, date and month were very “present” and turning the watch up side down, it looked like the watch was smiling at you. However, in the flesh that was something that I quickly forgot about again. The watch looks beautiful on the wrist and I think it is nice to have all functions at hand (in one view) when it concerns an annual calendar. I also recently had the Moser & Cie Endeavor Perpetual Calendar for a review in my possession and it only shows the date and has an arrow for the month indicator. A pity in my opinion. Same for the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Annual Calendar that I reviewed a while ago, that doesn’t show the month.

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The dial of the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar

The dial of the reference 3035 that I have here has a nice dark blue tone and a “sonnenschliff” (sun burst) finish. The two sub dials look familiar and have the same functionality as the ones on the Portugieser Automatic 7-Days ref. 5007. The main difference on first sight between the classic 5007 and this 5035 are the three apertures on the upper half of the dial. Of course, the date aperture on the 5007 was located at 6 o’clock and that became obsolete with the three annual calendar apertures on the 5035. The IWC logo moved from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock instead. The beautiful applied Roman numerals stayed, as well as the very sleek leaf shaped hands. The art of finish and aesthetics is something IWC masters, especially with the Portugieser collection there seems to be so much focus on these aspects.

IWC Copy Watches

However, there is one thing that is a bit disturbing to me. The way the month, date and day (in that order) are indicated on the dial. I never write down a date like that, August 9 Sunday (see image above). I’d say Sunday 9th of August. Of course, it is clear what is being meant, no discussion or confusion possible, but I’d rather see it in a different order.

IWC Calibre 52850

The price tag of €21.700,- Euro for a stainless steel copy IWC watch is a hefty upgrade from the Portugieser Automatic 7-Days (€12.900,- Euro). However, this can be explained due to the additional Annual Calendar complication of course. Inside IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar ref. 5035 is calibre 52850. It features the IWC patented Pellaton self-winding system and has a power reserve of 7-days. At 9 o’clock there is a small seconds indicator (hacking) and on 3 o’clock there is a power reserve indicator. The annual calendar indicates, as written above, the day, date and month. The movement has an indexless balance (Glucydur beryllium alloy) with high-precision adjustment screws on the balance rim. The big rotor has an 18 carat gold medallion.

In rose gold, the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar 5035 has a list price of €32.000,- Euro. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar ref. 5034 is available starting at €37.900,- Euro. Besides correctly changing from February to March without interference and a year indicator, the Perpetual Calendar also indicates the Moon phases. The Perpetual Calendar is only available in gold (perhaps with the exception of a stainless steel boutique special like they did for a Paris boutique a few years ago) so the step from €32.000,- Euro to €37.900,- Euro is something that gives food for thought as well.

The huge pocket Replica Watches UK sized calibre 52850 movement is a feast for the eyes and despite the big rotor, everything is easy to observe. It almost appears that the movement diameter doesn’t differ much from the case size (44.2mm).

 IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar 5035 on the wrist

As expected, the 5035 has a lot of wrist presence. The 44.2mm diameter case in shiny polished stainless steel is unmistakably IWC and immediately draws the attention of other watch fans. It is surely a talking piece among enthusiasts. The alligator leather strap is of topnotch quality and the folding clasp makes it easy to adjust it for the correct wrist size. Officially, I’d say the Portugieser is a dress watch, including the chronograph watches (perhaps even including the Yacht-Club models). However, since I left the banking industry a couple of years ago – and especially during summer – the days I am in business attire are very scarce. Shirt and jeans and during summer days, a polo and jeans. The IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar 5035 (but I guess any Portugieser) will do fine with that as well. For sports or more active events I won’t suggest to wear a piece like this, but mainly because of the leather strap. The watch is probably up to it, but it would hurt too much to see the beautifully finished case getting scratched.

The setting of the calendar is being done with the crown. In its first position, you can correct the calendar. However, you can also advance the date with the time setting in position 2 of course. Setting the correct date on the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar is very easy, but always needs to be done with care. Once you advance a day too far, you can’t turn it back. You can only advance. It is not a Perpetual Calendar, so if a mistake is made in terms of multiple days or even months, you can just start over again. With a Perpetual Calendar, that is more problematic as it is programmed till a certain year.

cheap copy iwc watchesAnyway, setting the time and date on this reference 5035 is easy and you are quickly done and ready to go. I noticed that this watch is an easy timepiece to go with and to grab for daily wear. Do I need an annual calendar? Of course not, but I can imagine that for many people the (almost) monthly correction of the date can be an annoying thing. Not sure if that alone justifies the price tag on this replica Rolex watches for that group of people, but a mechanical complication is always awesome to have on your watch and an annual (or perpetual) calendar is one of those functions that is useful.

There is little to criticize about this IWC Portugieser, except for the specific order of the three calendar apertures. It is an awesome looking watch and this would actually be the one I would go for. There is another stainless steel 5035 version, with a silver-plated dial, but this one just speaks to me more.

Reviewing the New Replica Tissot PR 516 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

It’s always a thrilling feeling to be wearing a watch that few others have. It’s even more so when it’s the only example of that watch in the entire United States. The latest version of the Tissot PRS 516 Automatic won’t be available at U.S. retailers until the fall, but I was granted the opportunity to give this auto racing-inspired chronograph a hands-on review in its natural habitat: at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Brickyard 400, one of the biggest NASCAR races of the year.

I joined Tissot in Indianapolis’s “Racing Capital of the World” on the occasion of a marketing milestone for the Swiss brand, as it celebrated 10 years of its partnership with racecar driver Danica Patrick, one of the world’s most recognizable female athletes and, not coincidentally, a participant in the weekend’s big race. (The newest limited-edition Tissot Danica Patrick replica rolex watches — the first with a COSC-certified mechanical movement — was unveiled at a launch event at Indianapolis’s Reis-Nichols Jewelers and can be seen on our Instagram page.) Below is a shot of myself and Danica posing with our respective wristwear at the launch event. (I’m sure she got to keep hers, however.)

WatchTime's Mark Bernardo & Danica Patrick wearing Tissot Watches

 

Tissot PRS 516 - soldier

As for the new Tissot watch on my own wrist (Tissot’s product photo pictured above), it also boasts some “firsts.” The movement in this PR 516 is a new, self-winding caliber made for Tissot by its sister firm in the Swatch Group, movement-making giant ETA. Dubbed the ETA A05.H31, it holds an impressive 60 hours of power reserve. The black ceramic bezel (which features, as does any racing replica omega for men worthy of the name, a tachymeter scale for timing laps) is also new to the Tissot PRS 516 collection, the first model of which made its debut way back in 1965.

 

Tissot PR 516 on wrist - IMS flags

Tissot PR516 on tire

Despite the definitive modern touches, devotees of the original Tissot PRS 516 will appreciate how much of its design elements remain in place, particularly the distinctive holes in the strap, which were inspired, Tissot says, by the holes in a racecar’s steering wheel. (A famous advertisement for the original Tissot PRS 516 depicted a driver’s hands on a steering wheel.) Another detail from the original model is the use of “floating” hour indices, applied to the inside of the sapphire crystal, under which the central red chronograph hand sweeps. The chronograph pushers are designed to resemble a car engine’s pistons.

Tissot PRS 516 - pushers CU

The case is made of 316L stainless steel, mostly round but with sloping lugs for greater wrist comfort (Tissot refers to the case — as viewed from the side — as “banana shaped”) and also has a see-through caseback through which to enjoy the view of the movement, whose rotor is shaped like a steering wheel and is emblazoned with a Tissot logo. Beneath the rotor, you’ll get a glimpse of the plates and bridges decorated with perlage. All in all, a very impressive engine for this price point, particularly considering it also includes a chronograph.

 

Tissot PRS 516 - front-back

 

From an aesthetics standpoint, I immediately noted the delightfully restrained use of red for certain elements on the PR 516 — for the chronograph hands and some indices on the subdials (30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock), for the number “516” above the date window at 6 o’clock, for the “racing stripes” on the piston-like chrono pushers, for the contrast stitching on the black, calfskin leather strap, and — perhaps most subtly of all — a very thin red stripe bordering the bottom edge of bezel, visible only on the side (as seen in the product photo below). Other subtle touches of quality include the light, striped pattern on the main dial and the use of white numerals on black background for the date indication, helping it blend seamlessly into the dial. Legibility was excellent in just about all conditions, except for a short stretch at about 8:40, when the white luminescent-treated hour and minutes hands overlap both the white border of the small seconds subdial and each other, causing the hour hand to be obscured and giving one a moment’s pause in trying to figure out where it is.

Tissot PRS 516 - IMS - rail

Tissot PRS 516 - side

Using the chronograph is easy and fun, especially in a circumstance that offers so many ideal opportunities to use it — i.e., timing the lap times of Danica and other drivers in both the Brickyard 400 race as well as the previous day’s qualifiers, and timing my own lap around the Speedway’s famous oval track at 130 mph in the passenger seat of an official NASCAR pace car. (Side note for those not steeped in auto racing lore: “Brickyard” is the nickname of the racetrack, which was actually paved with bricks when it was first built in 1909. Today, only a small strip of bricks remain, at the finish line. It is customary for the winner of the Brickyard race to “kiss the bricks” in celebration of the victory.) The screwed-down grooved crown is a bit small but relatively easy to operate, and the flat-headed pushers require a light but firm touch to start, stop, and reset. There is an inset, quick-set date corrector on the other side of the case, which is easily accessed by the tip of a pen.

Tissot PRS 516 - IMS - wrist

The leather strap feels nice and snug on the wrist and the holes give it a perfectly sporty look. I wouldn’t wear it with a tuxedo, but it’s certainly suitable for most casual occasions. Despite the suffocating heat and humidity at the Brickyard during the weekend of my trip, this “ventilated” strap never felt stifling or overheated. The watch fastens securely with a folding, push-button steel clasp that is quite professionally executed and sports an attractive matte finish.

The new Tissot PRS 516 will land at U.S. retailers this fall and will be priced at a very attractive $2,150 — a price range at which, I would submit, it is difficult to find a mechanical chronograph at this level of quality. It’s enough to make you want to kiss the bricks — or maybe even your favorite breitling replica watches retailer.