INTRODUCING: The New IWC Portugieser Automatic 42

by Mario C

For this year’s Watches & Wonders, IWC has chosen to capture the essence of time, via the changing nature of light across the day in a “Tribute To Eternity”, kicking off with the new Portugieser Automatic 42 Collection with a 7-Day Power Reserve

Dinah Washington once said, “What a difference a Day Makes.” For Watches and Wonders 2024, the Richemont brand has represented this difference through four new Portugeiser Auto 7-Day Power Reserve models and two updated references. These new models pay tribute to IWC’s 2024 Watches & Wonders theme: “A Tribute To Eternity”, by blending their timeless designs with the changing colour of the light across the day. From the light, silvery “Morning Dew”, the blueness of the horizon at midday with ‘Horizon Blue”, how the light dances with soft golden tones in the late afternoon like sand on a “Dune” and then as evening turns into night, with the golden sunset turning into an “Obsidian Black”

The new Portugieser 42mm collection. Morning Dew, Horizon Blue, Dune and Obsidian

Before we delve into the above, let me set the scene here: In the 21st century, the landscape of the horological world has witnessed significant shifts in attitudes towards wristwatches. One notable trend has been the resurgence of integrated bracelet sports watches, reminiscent of the beloved designs of the 1970s. Once considered icons of their era, they have experienced a cultural renaissance as of late, surging in popularity and often overshadowing all other designs.

Updated references in Silver and Blue

However, IWC Schaffhausen has chosen a different approach. Rather than fighting fire with fire, the renowned Swiss brand seeks to upend this trend by further refining and updating one of its most defiantly popular timepieces.

Enter the timeless elegance of the Portugieser collection. Though considered one of the ultimate dress watches of the modern day, its 1930s origins – particularly its rebellious Bauhaus design in the face of Art Deco –  is where the lineup began to cement its legacy. This is where the Tribute To Eternity starts to play a role, and as for Watches and Wonders 2024, IWC takes that sentiment and utilises it to celebrate the passage of time, dedicating four of the six models and dial colours to the four sequences of a day.

Starting with the reference IW501702, (Morning Dew) the stainless steel case mixed with the silver-plated dial and blue hands and indices is representative of the morning light, and the way the dew on the ground reflects in it. Matching this, a blue alligator strap completes the aesthetic of Morning Dew.

Morning Dew with the silver dial and blue hands and indices

Moving onto midday, the reference IW501708 (Horizon Blue) showcases a beautiful blue sunray-finished dial that captures the horizon on a crystal clear blue day. The dial is encased by an 18-carat White Gold case, a dial-matching light blue calfskin strap, and an 18-carat white gold folding clasp.

Horizon Blue in 18-carat white gold and the light blue sunray dial

Heading into the afternoon, reference IW501705 (Dune) showcases a sand-coloured dial matched with gold-plated hands and gold appliques in a stainless steel case with a black alligator leather strap and stainless steel folding clasp. This colour encapsulates the way the late afternoon light looks, being a little reminiscent of a sand dune.

Last but not least, reference W501707 (Obsidian) captures the night. With an 18-carat Rose Gold case surrounding the black Obsidian dial offset by gold-plated hands and gold appliques, it perfectly captures the golden hour at dusk as evening turn into night.

The other two models, Refs. IW501701 and IW501704 come with a silver dial and gold hands as well as the classic blue dial, respectively. On the blue dial, a stainless steel bracelet completes a sportier look.

All standing a signature 42mm by 13mm thick, these new references serve as updates to the already outstanding Portugieser collection, sporting a redesigned case construction characterized by a slender side profile, making them appear lighter and more refined. On the dial is the signature box sapphire crystal, which is duplicated on the case back to ensure an unobstructed view of both the outer and inner workings of the watch. While all six of the timepieces have undergone the same meticulous development and manufacturing process, four make their debut as standout models.

IWC has been meticulous in crafting these new pieces and dials colours. Firstly, the brass bases are either treated with a sunburst finish (like on the Horizon Blue) or given a finely blasted surface, as can be seen in the dial of the Morning Dew, before the colour is applied. To add depth, 15 layers of lacquer, it is then fine-ground and polished to a high gloss finish, which gives off the stunning effect of each of the pieces.

The subdials are milled into both the brass base and the lacquer layer, giving it a three-dimensional effect, which is further emphasised by the printing, which is carried out in a special procedure and adds to the sensation of depth. To top this off, each of the appliques are hand hand-mounted on the dial and placed meticulously to complete the look and depth of each piece.

Each of the numerals is applied to the lacquer dial

Alongside its balanced dial design, the Portugeiser Auto 7-Day Power Reserve comes with a 9 o’clock small seconds subdial as well as a 3 o’clock power reserve indicator, where the user can dynamically track the whopping weeklong power reserve, courtesy of the IWC Cal. 52011 automatic movement. Equipped with both ceramic components and the Pellaton winding system, all the inner workings can be seen from the improved display case back, which has also been redesigned to offer a wider view of the movement.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear to me that IWC Schaffhausen stands apart with the release of these new Portugieser Auto 7-Day Power Reserve models, honouring its heritage of elegant rebelliousness whilst applying modern innovations. With this unveiling at Watches and Wonders 2024, the brand reaffirms its commitment to timeless design and excellent craftsmanship.

So while integrated bracelet sports watches may dominate the current zeitgeist, IWC  ensures that the Portugieser will continue to captivate us collectors and aficionados alike, offering a compelling alternative within the ever-evolving world of horology. While these dressier models are ones that I would normally go for, my conservative wrist size, unfortunately, restrains me from ever pulling the trigger on one of these models. However, if you’re like me, perhaps the duo of Portugieser Auto 40mm models also released by IWC are more your style…

References:

  • IW501702 (Morning Dew)
  • IW501708 (Horizon Blue)
  • IW501705 (Dune)
  • W501707 (Obsidian)
  • IW501701 (Silver-Plated dial)
  • IW501704 (Blue dial)

Specifications

  • Size: 42mm diameter, 13mm thickness
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel (IW501702/IW501705/IW501701/IW501704), 18kt White Gold (IW501708), 18kt 5N Rose Gold (W501707)
  • Dial: Sunray Brushed Silver (IW501702/IW501701), Sunray Brushed Dark Blue (IW501704), Sunray Brushed Sand (IW501705), Sunray Brushed Light Blue (IW501708), Black (W501707)
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal, double box, antireflective coating on both sides
  • Water Resistance: 50 Meters (5 BAR)
  • Movement: IWC Calibre 52011 Automatic MovementBeat Rate: 4Hz/28,800bph
  • Power Reserve: 168h/7 Days
  • Bracelet/Strap: Light Blue Calfskin with 18kt White Gold Folding Clasp (IW501708), Black Alligator with 18kt 5N Rose Gold Folding Clasp (W501707), Black Alligator with Stainless Steel Folding Clasp (IW501701/IW501705), Blue Alligator with Stainless Steel Folding Clasp (IW501702), Stainless Steel Bracelet (IW501704)

Australian Recommended Retail Pricing: 

  • IW501702 (Morning Dew) – AU $20,000
  • IW501708 (Horizon Blue) – AU $40,000
  • IW501705 (Dune) – AU $20,000
  • W501707 (Obsidian) – AU $38,000
  • IW501701 (Silver-Plated dial) – AU $20,000
  • IW501704 (Blue dial) – AU $21,500

Prices set out are recommended Retail Prices (incl. all applicable taxes). Price recommendations are indicative and subject to change

Availability: Head to IWC.com for local store availability

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