THE BIG INTERVIEW: Christoph Grainger-Herr On Swiss Luxury UK Replica IWC Watches’ 45m Year Horizon

In the ever-evolving landscape of luxury watchmaking, the task of revitalising an iconic timepiece can be a delicate balancing act. When it came time for IWC to reimagine their legendary Portugieser, the brand’s CEO, Chris Grainger-Herr, approached the challenge with a measured hand, determined to preserve the essential characteristics that have defined this high quality replica watches since its inception 85 years ago.

The Portugieser’s origins can be traced back to the 1930s, when a group of UK AAA fake watches importers from Portugal responded to appeals from ship’s captains for a large and precise wristwatch. This idea, ran counter to the prevailing trend for small, simple timepieces and part of the Portugieser’s enduring allure lies in its relative scarcity.

Records indicate that no more than 250 pieces of the first series were originally sold, although additional cases were produced up until 1958. The perfect replica watches then fell into relative obscurity until the 1970s, when a mere 57 ‘Portuguese’ watches (as the model was known until its 2015 rebranding) were created, primarily for the German market. It wasn’t until IWC’s 125th anniversary in 1993 that the decision was made to fully revive the model, with the introduction of the Reference 5441 Jubilee Portuguese.

This relaunch led to a series of variations on the theme, including the addition of a chronograph with vertically-arranged sub-dials, which many consider to be the quintessential Portugieser. The latest iteration of the Portugieser chrono, unveiled at Watches and Wonders, showcases IWC’s delicate approach to modernisation. The new models feature a trio of intriguing dial colours – ‘Dune’ for steel, ‘Horizon blue’ for white gold, and the striking ‘Obsidian black’ for top IWC copy watches’ proprietary Armor Gold – each intended to evoke a different stage of the day.

The time-only Portugieser has been reinterpreted in a pair of self-winding models with extensively re-engineered cases, measuring either 40mm or 42mm in diameter. These slimmer cases feature a ‘double box’ sapphire crystal, providing a clear view of the dials, which are treated with 15 coats of clear lacquer.

The Portugieser’s open design has also lent itself well to the incorporation of complications, as evidenced by the updated Perpetual Calendar model. This replica watches wholesale, which has been revamped for the first time in 20 years, is now available in white gold with Horizon or Dune dials, or in IWC’s proprietary Armor Gold with an Obsidian or silver-plated dial.

There is also a Portugieser Tourbillon Day and Night in Obsidian black and Armor Gold.

The true crown jewel of the 2024 Portugieser collection is the mind-boggling Eternal Calendar, which incorporates a perpetual calendar that accounts for the intricate Gregorian calendar system where every year divisible by four is a leap year – except for those that are exactly divisible by 100.

However, those become leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400 –. To accommodate this complex rule, Swiss made IWC super clone watches‘ engineers have ingeniously incorporated a special “400-year gear” that enables the mechanism to automatically skip three leap years over the course of four centuries, with the next occurrence of this phenomenon being in the year 2100.

The true marvel of the Eternal Calendar, however, lies in its moonphase display, which is claimed to deviate from the actual lunar cycle by only one day after an astonishing 45 million years.

To achieve this level of precision, 1:1 2024 IWC replica watches’ team of mathematical geniuses employed a specialised computer programme to simulate over 22 trillion combinations of wheel sizes and tooth counts, ultimately arriving at a three-part gear train that not only operates at the correct speed but also occupies a remarkably compact space.

The remarkable, platinum-cased Portugieser Eternal Calendar stands as a testament to the watchmaking industry’s relentless pursuit of horological excellence, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of timekeeping.

Out of the main watch families within the brand, which one would you say is the essence of IWC?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: It’s a question of perspective. But if you actually just look at the design continuity of the collections then it has to be the Portugieser, which has been in continuous production since 1939. It’s the only line where you can take the original piece and put it next to the new version (here the Automatic 40), and see complete continuity.

You don’t have that with the Pilot – yes, it goes back to a Mark 11 from 1948 and a Big Pilot from 1940, but there is more variation. The same goes for the Aquatimer and the Portofino.

Really the Portugieser is the one that’s always been at the heart of it. On the occasion of the company’s 125th anniversary, IWC decided to bring the special large cheap replica IWC Portugieser watches back to life with a new limited edition.

A special feature was the view of the movement through a transparent sapphire-glass back. The Calibre 9828 in the modern Portugieser was based on the original pocket watch Calibre 98.

I think in terms of where we are as a watchmaker, the Portugiuser is the backbone. You could argue today that in some Western markets, we are mainly known for sports Pilot’s watches, but globally that’s not the picture, it is more balanced and we are well known for our classic best fake watches in Asia.

But what about you as the CEO of IWC? What do you see the heart of the brand?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: For me, I would say the heart of the brand is definitely the Portugieser – although on a personal level, my heart evolves over time. You know, I started off wearing an Aquatimer back in the day, then I had a long Portofino stint before I changed to Pilots, which I had never worn before but then wore for quite a long time. And then last year I put on the Ingenieur 40 and I haven’t taken it off. Now I need to get my hands on a Portuguiser and let’s see what happens.

Which one do you particularly want to road test?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: I started off really loving the Horizon blue Perpetual Calendar during development, but then I discovered the Dune Perpetual, almost by accident. I tried that on and now I really like the Dune colourway – especially in the PPC. It’s so balanced with this very deep but very subtle colour, it has a very light print but great structure with the subdials and it just does so much without being in your face at all.

What about the obsidian and gold variant?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: It is beautiful but I am not personally a big gold wearer. I love steel and ceramic but I’ve just not had a lot of contact with gold over the years.

We haven’t really seen the Portugieser take centre stage for a while. Why is 2024 the right year?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Actually, the last Portugieser launch was 2020. It was done remotely during the start of covid. Watches and Wonders was cancelled that year and we all changed our strategy, thinking that people would want to walk around digital versions of what we would have physically done in Geneva.

But you don’t think they did?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: At the time, we were saying how great it was and that people would never return to physical shows. But looking back, this is something that didn’t last very long. Zoom, Clubhouse and so on, you know there were things that seemed a fantastic idea at the time.

We went along with everything because it was unprecedented and we all needed a distraction. Joe Wickes and his exercise classes in the morning with millions of followers on YouTube… just imagine if we had another lockdown and people were told to stand in front of the telly doing an exercise class! Nobody would do it. We’d all be, ‘You know what, I’m good thanks sitting on my sofa bingeing Netflix’.

So, that’s how you spent lockdown?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Actually, we were in the office nearly all of the time. I think I had maybe two home office days. That was it. Because we are a manufacturing business we kept going for the majority of the time. It was quite good in Switzerland in terms of the restrictions, we didn’t have the erratic lockdowns that some other countries had.

Let’s talk about the Eternal Calendar. It had to be launched in a leap year, didn’t it? Did you plan it that way?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Absolutely. We had long planned to reveal it to the replica watches for sale press on the 29th of February – and luckily, they were free! It’s an amazing watch. I often think that the conversation moves very quickly from the questions around a humble mechanical timepiece to thinking, ‘Oh, my God, the calendar is running out in 3999’. It is the very practical and the highly philosophical colliding, which I think is fascinating.

When you look at these kinds of products, they bring you in touch with your own mortality. It makes you ask How long is time? What is time? Is time absolute or relative? How big is the universe? Why are we here? Are there other people out there and are we all just living in a big glass bubble being watched?

This is the zoo theory and I recently learnt about it. It’s where people ask what if our universe is a big bubble, with more intelligent species looking at us from the outside, but avoiding contact so that we don’t notice them. The leap year is one of those funny things where we come into contact with a concept that we don’t otherwise consider.

But how can we know that the Eternal Calendar mechanism will really work for 400 years – never mind 45 million years? Surely it can only ever be a concept because the 1:1 quality fake watches is going to have to go in for servicing every now again where it will be stopped, stripped down and parts replaced?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Yes, of course the idea of it running continuously is theoretical, but we have obviously tested the theory. I mean, you can just set this watch to 2099 right now, and you can see what happens in 2100. So, you can test it and prove the theory. And, of course, we can observe the gears for a year and see the leap year gear move accurately by just short of one degree.

And the gear is capable of working for four centuries?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Yes. The 400-year gear sits on top of the calendar’s four-year wheel. It is designed with impressive efficiency and technical elegance with only eight parts. CNC machining would not be precise enough to make these gears, so we used the LIGA process. This allows our gears to be highly precise and have minimal friction.

LIGA involves lithography, electroplating and moulding. The parts are not machined but rather ‘grown’ through this unique process in the lab. The Portugieser Eternal Calendar will display the leap year correctly until at least 3999. This limitation is not due to our calendar. It comes from the fact that we don’t know yet if 4000 will be a leap year. It has not been officially decided yet.

And 45 million years accuracy for the moonphase?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: This is the Brian Cox moment [physicist Professor Brian Cox collaborated on the new Portugeiser collection] where we look at it and say, ‘well, 45 million years is an awfully long time’. But there was 80 million years between the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus, and if you think life on Earth has existed for 3.8 billion years, then 45 million years is not so much really.

The Eternal Calendar is really impressive. There can’t be anything bigger than this that we will see this year can there?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: [Laughing] This is always the way. We show you 17 new products and a world-record-breaking innovation and you say ‘what else have you got?’ No, you can check behind the work benches. This is the big news for 2024 for sure.

When you look at these kinds of products, they bring you in touch with your own mortality. It makes you ask How long is time? What is time? Is time absolute or relative? How big is the universe? Why are we here? Are there other people out there and are we all just living in a big glass bubble being watched?

This is the zoo theory and I recently learnt about it. It’s where people ask what if our universe is a big bubble, with more intelligent species looking at us from the outside, but avoiding contact so that we don’t notice them. The leap year is one of those funny things where we come into contact with a concept that we don’t otherwise consider.

So, if the world is still here in 45 million years, the Eternal Calendar will be too? And running accurately?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: Well we have the added problem of making sure that the moon doesn’t behave badly. So we’ll have to check from time to time because of all of these obit problems.

You know, as I learned from Brian, the prevailing winds in the mountains will alter the Earth’s orbit over time. So, depending on how the weather goes, we’ll have to make some minor adjustments.

As for where we will be living, in terms of habitable places, you only really have Mars, there’s not much else. The other planets are not so good in terms of life. But I don’t dismiss mankind’s ingenuity. Humans have only started asking questions about space in the past 5,000 years, they have only started to work stuff out in the past 500 years, and only really started to find some good answers with Einstein in 1904.

Yet in less than 100 years we managed to conquer human spaceflight. So in another 100,000 years, a million, 10 million… we are certainly going to make it to Mars and beyond.

Looking closer to home, after the craziness of covid and lockdown watch brands are having to work a lot harder this year to actually sell replica watches site. What is IWC doing?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: I think the underlying fundamentals have not changed and we’ve seen a very good development in the process leading into covid, where I think customers generally have become incredibly knowledgeable about what is behind brands in watchmaking in innovation.

And it’s motivated everybody to come out with a very strong focus on product innovation and on the reality of what we are doing. There was a moment I think, where it really centred on good watchmaking and how good the DNA legacy of the brand is.

I see this in all of the upgrades at IWC – not just to movements and products, but to the facility in Schaffhausen, the manufacturing centre that we opened in 2018. All of the steps we made with Calibres 69, 82 and 52, as well as with the product finishing and the things you saw in the Ingenieur for the first time last year, and the things you’re now seeing in the Portugueser of this year.

We are also more open with factory visits and the boutiques also serve as platforms for the human relationship element of our brand.

I think we are now facing a customer who is thinking thoroughly about the choices he or she makes and that is great for everybody. People have a completely different appreciation of the background story and what goes into these products and what we are and what we are not.

And I think this is a huge opportunity for us to showcase our products and watchmaking, as well as the infinite passion that goes into these mechanisms. Through this, we are able to show that we have a product that is designed to outlast most things.

Do you think that IWC has ever been tempted to take its customers for granted?

Christoph Grainger-Herr: No. We try to always stay in touch with the customer, to always be transparent and open, and to let people take part in the stories that make the brand what it is. We are not about mystery or being an obvious status symbol. We are about people and when I look at our customers they are people who appreciate design, mechanics and engineering content, they are interested in what goes into fake watches paypal. And that matches the IWC philosophy, we are all about confident understatement.

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