IWC Refined Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years: Celebrating The Super Blue Blood Moon In A Spectacle Of Superlatives
Astronomical showdown on the night sky: three rare celestial spectacles, with the moon as the main protagonist, will occur on the evening of January 31, 2018, forming a so-called super blue blood moon.
The lunar “menage à trois” will be observable in the western part of North America, Alaska, and the Hawaiian Islands as well as in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.
According to NASA, this full moon is special for three reasons: first, it’s a super moon, meaning a time when the moon is closer to earth in its orbit and about 14 percent brighter than usual. While this celestial body’s average distance is 238,000 miles (382,900 km) from earth, its orbit isn’t perfectly circular, so that distance varies a small amount. Its perigee on January 31 is the closest of the year.
Secondly, it’s also the second full moon in January 2018, making it what is commonly referred to as a “blue moon.”
Although impressive because the full moon appears even larger and more luminously, these two phenomena do not raise astronomers’ pulse rate very often by themselves since they are not so rare.
It’s what happens next: this super blue moon will pass through the earth’s shadow and give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse.
And that’s not all! While the moon is in the earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish color, which earns the phenomenon a third title: blood moon (see Blood Moons, Lunar Tetrads, And The Andreas Strehler Sauterelle À Lune Perpétuelle).
Whereas lunar eclipses occur up to three times a year, this trifecta of celestial events is pretty special: the next one won’t happen until 2037.
Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years
In light of this extraordinary and rare astronomical treat, I decided to take a closer look at the new IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years, which was introduced as part of the Jubilee Collection at the 2018 SIHH.
To be honest, this celestial spectacle comes just in time for the introduction of this watch, which is probably my favorite moon phase timepiece of 2018 so far (even though the year has just started and more is certainly to be expected).
First, I love moon phase displays in general since they combine sophisticated watchmaking technology and design with Lady Luna’s unique charisma.
The beloved satellite orbits around earth in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.9 seconds, to be precise in astronomical and horological terms. Beautifying the sky every night with its pale light, it has inspired humankind and the arts from time immemorial.
Second, I love the Portofino line, which is my favorite of IWC’s impressive range of legendary watch families because it has an understated yet very strong character.
For more than 30 years, this classic dress watch has held a firm place in the manufacturer’s collection, providing proof that a consistent and harmonious design pays off in the long run.
Associated with and themed around the jet set’s carefree “dolce vita” lifestyle of the 1960s and ’70s, it evokes images of warm summer nights in the idyllic setting of the eponymous port city nestled on Liguria’s picturesque coast.
Adding a moon phase to the lovely setting of the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days timepiece in 2017 seemed a smart idea and proved to be a winning formula. The red gold version of this year’s limited Jubilee Edition – the only gold watch in the entire 2018 Portofino lineup and quite prominent with a sizable diameter of 45 mm – sports an intense blue dial with a lacquered finish, which is per se the perfect hue in which to stage a moon phase.
There are also two other versions in stainless steel, one of which is equipped with a blue dial and another with a white dial. All of them are fitted with an alligator leather strap from Santoni.
In all three timepieces, the crescent-shaped moon phase indication takes center stage at 12 o’clock. Matching the gold Jubilee Collection case, the hands are gold and the moon and stars likewise have a gold finish that works very well with the overall color scheme.
Another lovely detail is the date indication with a blue backdrop. Positioned at 3 o’clock, it is very discreet but clearly readable. By contrast, the subsidiary seconds are quite prominent size-wise as befits a true Portofino timepiece.
Not to be missed is the power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. Although it is discreetly designed, its scale reveals the technical prowess of Caliber 59000, which boasts a generous power reserve of a full eight days.
As a side note, IWC explained that it could theoretically run for nine days, but limiting it mechanically helps the movement maintain as constant a torque as possible in order to enhance its precision.
Speaking of precision: it is the index-less 4 Hertz balance combined with the characteristically bent Breguet hairspring that contributes to the exceptional accuracy of caliber family 9000.
This tried-and-tested classic has been enhanced with a moon phase module. As is common knowledge among watch aficionados, the classic moon phase mechanism’s gearing has rounded to 29.5 days. Accordingly, most moon phase modules have a gear train with 59 teeth for two sets of 29.5 days.
In this movement, a more complex technology with larger moon phase wheels and a higher number of teeth reduces the deviation period to only one day in 122 years.
We do not know yet if a super blue blood moon will also take place in 2140 – 122 years from now – but in case it does, the Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years will be the perfect timepiece with which to watch the spectacle, preferably in the beautiful city of Portofino.
For more information, please visit www.iwc.com/us/en/watch-collections/jubilee-collection/iw516407-portofino-hand-wound-moon-phase-edition-150-years.
Quick Facts IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years
Case: 45 x 13.2 mm, red gold
Movement: manual-winding Caliber 59800, 4Hz/28,000 vph frequency, power reserve of 192 hours (8 days)
Functions: hours, minutes, small hacking seconds; date, power reserve display
Limitation: 150 pieces in red gold with blue dial, 350 pieces in stainless steel with white dial, 350 pieces in stainless steel with blue dial
Price: $13,400 in steel, $23,600 in red gold