The word “iconic” is often thrown about the watch industry. However, there are only a handful of watches that can actually lay claim to the moniker. And the IWC Portugieser is one of them.
All thanks to a pair of Portuguese business men.
Sometime in the late 1930’s the merchants from Lisbon approached IWC with a request for a wristwatch that could keep time as accurately as the marine chronometers of the day. Luckily for us, the Schaffhausen manufacturer were more than happy to oblige.
Veering away from the then popular style of Art Deco, the designers at IWC looked to the school of Bauhaus. Focusing on the function of the new wristwatch and creating a design with styling cues taken from more traditional pocket watches. Its dial was clean and open, with only Arabic numerals and a railway-track style chapter ring surrounding the face, and a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. While inside a pocket watch calibre commanded the precision which had been so purposely requested.
In 1939 the Portugieser was born. Except it was known as the Reference 325. With the actual Portugieser name coming many many years later.
While the name may have changed throughout the years, its original styling has not. And IWC have just released a brand-new version of the Portugieser.
A time only model, which for the past few years, and despite the design origins of the Portugieser, has been somewhat missing from the collection.
Smaller and more compact than the more complicated chronographs that have conquered the collection in recent years, the case of the Portugieser Automatic 40 measures just 40.4 mm across and 12.4 mm high. And is available in both stainless steel and 18 carat red gold.
Available in 4 different colour variants, the Portugieser Automatic 40 features either a silver-plated or blue dial, with specific options for blue, rhodium-plated, or gold-plated hands and applied Arabic numerals. With each dial also bearing all the same iconic trademarks that have come to represent the Portugieser line. From the well-proportioned applied Arabic numerals and elegant leaf style hands, to the railway-track style chapter ring and an otherwise clean dial except for the logo at 12 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
Inside, beats the in-house IWC manufacture calibre 82200. With 60-hour power reserve and Pellaton winding system made with hardwearing ceramic components. All of which are nicely visible through a sapphire crystal display back. While either a blue, black, or brown alligator Santoni alligator leather strap keeps it all in place on the wrist.
With its compact case, emblematic design, and in-house movement, it’s safe to say that the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 is sure to be every bit as iconic as the original.