IWC Portugieser Chronograph (reference 371609) Review

by Andy Green
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Introduction

Clipping shut the deployant buckle of the just-refreshed IWC Portugieser Chronograph; it’s easy to see why this is one of the brand’s most popular watches, in Australia at least. It’s dressy, but still offers a healthy dose of sports functionality.

What makes this new reference, announced back in February, even better the movement beating away inside. For the first time, it’s an IWC-manufactured calibre, and while it can’t be seen on the wrist, or make much of a difference to daily wear, it still feels like a significant step up.

The Dial and Hands 

The face of the Portugieser Chronograph is refreshingly familiar, thanks to that iconic combination of applied Arabic numerals and leaf (or feuille) shaped hands. The chronograph layout puts a minutes register at the top and a running seconds display at six. I’m more familiar with the white-dialled version of the Portugieser so was happy to give the black a try. And boy, is this dial black. The colour is incredibly deep and dynamic; if you catch it on the right angle, it takes on a blue-ish sheen around the edges. I must say that, because of the dark dial and the slender, highly polished hands and hour markers, legibility was a bit of an issue at times. Still, the overall beauty made me forget about that fact almost immediately. 

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 371609

The Case and Strap 

At 41mm, this watch is sized just right. The steel case sits well on the wrist, flush and, even though it is on the larger side for a dressy style like this, it looks right and is very comfortable. The polished surfaces, slim filigree bezel and refined chronograph pushers match the dressy dial of the Portugieser well, as does the strap. Now, usually, I’m a fan of swapping stock straps out, but for me, the IWC Portugieser is a watch that belongs on an alligator strap. It just works. The newly-designed double folding clasp is comfortable and secure too, with some nice detail to it.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 371609
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 371609

The Movement

Here’s where things get interesting. Up until now, this chronograph has relied on third-party movements. Classic and reliable, but lacking that something special. Well, the Portugieser Chronograph has finally been given an in-house upgrade in the form of the Calibre 69355, which brings with it a range of incremental mechanical improvements, but most importantly for me — a pretty view through the clear caseback. Every time I took this watch off, I took a few extra moments to stop and stare. Now, it’s worth noting that IWC offers other in-house versions of the Portugieser Chronograph, but they’re slightly larger (and more expensive) models using the 89000 series movement. For most people, this movement will offer the best of both worlds. 

IWC-manufactured 69355 Calibre

Final Thoughts

The IWC Portugieser Chronograph was already a watch that did pretty much everything right. Balanced, refined and offering substantial value. There wasn’t too much that IWC could do to improve it … except add an in-house movement. And now that they’ve done that, it’s one of the best in class dressy chronos out there.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 371609
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 371609

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Specification:

Case Diameter: 41mm
Dial: Black dial
Case: Stainless Steel case, Sapphire glass, convex, anti-reflective coating on both sides
Movement: IWC-manufactured 69355 Calibre
Power Reserve: Approximately 46 hours
Functions: Chronograph with minutes and seconds, small hacking seconds
Water Resistance: 3 ATM / 30 meters

Australian Retail Pricing : $11,500.00

Availability : Now

Local Authorised Dealers :

  • Brisbane – Hardy Brothers and The Hour Glass
  • Melbourne – IWC Boutique, Kennedy ,Watches of Switzerland and Anton Jewellery
  • Sydney – IWC Boutique, Gregory Jewellers , Swiss Concept, Watches of Switzerland and The Hour Glass
  • Perth – Kennedy Crown and Watches of Switzerland
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