IWC Portugieser Chronograph Watch With Display Case Back
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph is one of the most recognizable watches in the industry. It’s clean and clear display is often taken for granted, but it is a masterpiece of dial design, with particular attention paid to the spacing and layout of all information. Now fitted with an in-house caliber, the Portugieser is ready to be the go-to watch of the next generation.
In recent years we’ve seen the fashion watch industry move over to exceptionally pared-back designs. The success and proliferation of brands such as Daniel Wellington, Olivia Burton, and Ted Baker may not seem all that relevant to readers of Fratello Magazine, but lest we forget the massive effect the high-volume sales of the fashion industry can have on Haute Horlogerie, even if it can take decades to manifest.
Nowadays, as a lover of fine watches, it is more likely a €1,000,000 Richard Mille is on your radar than a €50 Fossil Watch. But we are the minority. The next generation of fine watch collectors is still taking its first tentative steps into the hobby. Many of them will begin with a fashion watch. And likely, many of them will be deeply affected by the fashion watch landscape that will, whether they like it or not, influence their adult opinions.
One such classic that stands to benefit from the patent ubiquity of clean dials, is the IWC Portugieser. And the brand is clearly doubling down on the future of this model by outfitting it with a brand spanking new in-house movement. For a brand like IWC operating at a luxury price point, an in-house (or, at the very least, proprietary caliber) is a must these days. These value-conscious youngsters are making their feelings felt. As a result, the industry is responding appropriately.
This release has done more to change my opinion…
Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of IWC. I love the brand’s Aquatimer diving watches. But the models for which the company is perhaps better known have always missed the mark for me. I have to admit, though, that this release has done more to change my opinion than any in the Portugieser line so far.
An excellently designed rotor weight elevates an otherwise unremarkable movement. Beneath the rotor, through the four cut-outs, it’s true that there is little other than anticipatedly good-quality finishing to get excited about. But the design of the rotor is simultaneously elegant and industrial and seems, in a weird way, to encapsulate the style code of the Portugieser line in a pinch.
This movement is from the 69000 family (caliber 69355). It is visible through the sapphire display case back of the new 41mm by 13.1mm Portugieser. Pleasingly, this is an integrated design with a column-wheel control component. Thankfully, the watch has automatic winding as the 46-hour power reserve is a little thin by today’s standards. There are six different references available, all on alligator leather straps. There are four models in stainless steel and two in 18-karat rose gold.
The steel models’ dial options are either silver-plated with gold indices (Ref. IW371604), silver-plated dial with blue hands and appliqués (IW371605), blue (IW371606), or black (IW371609). The gold cases are fitted with either a slate-colored dial (IW371610) or a silver-plated alternative (IW371611). Prices vary due to taxes, but in the Netherlands, this one (in steel) will set you back €7,950. The rose gold versions are priced at €17,700 in the Netherlands. Learn more at IWC’s official website.