But when 80 members of the international press gathered in a lecture theatre in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, late last year, the buzz in the room suggested that what we were about to see was something pretty special. Step forward the new Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia, the most exclusive and complicated watch ever created by IWC.
Summed up by Georges Kern, the brand CEO: “The Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia is a universal work of art and the result of ten years’ research by a team of engineers, watchmakers and scientists. They have succeeded in combining solar time and sidereal time on a single dial. From the front, this fascinating masterpiece is a classical Portuguese watch, from the reverse side an astronomical instrument and, on the inside, a milestone in the art of haute horlogerie.”
It was a decade ago when IWC decided to create something unique, with the culmination of those discussions being the decision to combine watchmaking and cosmology in a way never seen before. On Earth, time is measured by the length of the average solar day ie, the average time between the sun’s passage over a given meridian; almost exactly 24 hours. But for astronomers, what counts is the sidereal day, the reference for which is a distant star perpendicular to an observation point at the beginning and the end of a set period ie, the time taken for Earth to complete one rotation around its own axis, which, taking into account its arc around the sun, takes approximately 23 hours 56 minutes and four seconds.
Incorporating sidereal time into watches is nothing new, but what makes this watch stand out from others showing sidereal time is the number of complications in the piece: a perpetual calendar, twilight/sunrise/sunset indicator, astronomical module and, the pièce de résistance, a constant force tourbillon.
For more see qpmagazine.com