5240 IWC Portuguese Minute Repeater
Discretion is something of a lost art to much of modern watchmaking. In many ways, a relatively thin, time-only minute repeater could be said to be the antithesis of an orange RM or rainbow Daytona. There’s nothing wrong with outward flamboyance, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see something so understated yet so technical. Very few, even in a room of enthusiasts, would clock this. Hidden depths are sexy. So are minute repeaters. IWC masterfully paired both in the ref. 5240 Portuguese Minute Repeater.
Introduced in 1995, the 5240 took the 42mm Portuguese Anniversary case and somehow fit inside the minute repeating system from the 1993 Il Destriero Scafusia Grande Comp. IWC’s team of crack watchmakers modified much of the 34-piece Comp repeater system to fit this 11mm profile. On the outside, it’s a white gold 42mm Portuguese, except that the petite seconds have moved from 6 to 9. The only other giveaway is the left hand slide, glaringly tantalizing if you know. I quite like that IWC retained the classic longhand signature and feuille hands, they’re perfectly judged for this dial.
A minute repeater requires the skills of both an engineer and musician, one to design and one to tune. The movement here is from a pocket watch base that IWC has used for many decades, the calibre 95. This repeater evolution, the calibre 95290, is twice as tall and has over twice the functional jewels. Once activated, its hour hammer taps out a perfect B flat, its minute hammer E flat. The white gold shown here was produced in just 150 examples, an 18k alloy chosen for its acoustic properties. The whole watch is very no-nonsense, but there’s a beauty in that. What else do you expect from zee German side of Switzerland?
The white gold case here displays a light level of surface wear consistent with occasional wear since its 2007 production. Otherwise, it’s perfect. It comes without box/papers from a well-regarded retailer in Ghent, Belgium.
Find this 5240 here from Mr Watchley for 26850 EUR.