The Portofino has been IWC’s elegant round watch proponent since 1984. Clean, sober dials and a range of case sizes have made the Portofino an attractive unisex option, while its classical 1950s looks have earned the collection the much sought-after distinction of being timeless. Since its introduction, the Portofino Chronograph brings a dash of vintage sportiness to the collection with its pronounced piston-style pushers and balanced, uncluttered dial. The latest IWC Portofino Chronograph 39, which could easily be confused with the models we covered last year, has been treated to an upgrade and now comes with a manufacture movement, a sapphire caseback and a quick-change strap system for additional versatility, all without this reference IW391502 losing an iota of its elegant, sporty personality.
Revisited over the years, recent manifestations of the Portofino Chronograph include the downsized, more compact 39mm (from 42mm) version of the two-register chronograph in 2021 with black, silver and green dials. Although this 2022 model looks identical, there are some important changes.
Obviously, the diameter of the stainless steel case has remained fixed at 39mm, but the height has increased ever so slightly from 12.7mm to 13mm, as the caseback now features a sapphire crystal. With its slim bezel, piston pushers and straight lugs, the slightly retro look is underscored with polished finishings throughout, and water-resistance has increased from 30 to 50m.
Again, the silver-plated dial is identical in colour to last year’s reference IW391406 but the new IWC Portofino Chronograph 39 reference IW391502 has exchanged the gold-plated indices, hands and appliqués for rhodium-plated hands and indices, creating a more soothing, understated and monochromatic silver look. The Roman numerals at XII and VI are truncated to accommodate the two recessed and snailed counters (30-minutes elapsed times at noon and small seconds at 6 o’clock), and the slim, straight baton markers are applied to the silver-plated dial. Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands and a needle-thin central seconds hand add a refined touch to the chronograph.
The big news here is the upgrade to a manufacture, integrated column-wheel chronograph movement, replacing the Valjoux-based, modified calibre 79530 powering the previous Portofino Chronograph 39. Incidentally, as many of you know, this movement was also used to power the Portugieser Chronograph 3714 for over two decades. A member of IWC’s calibre 69000 movement family launched in 2016 – and also fitted inside the updated Portugieser Chronograph 3716 of 2020 – the robust new calibre has a classic column-wheel design, and the energy is obtained from a bidirectional pawl-winding system similar to the Pellaton mechanism. Beating at a frequency of 28,800vph/4Hz, the ValFleurier-produced movement delivers a power reserve of 46 hours. Its openworked rotor, Geneva waves and circular graining are visible through the sapphire caseback.
Last but not least, the new Chronograph 39 now features the brand’s integrated quick-change system. This means that the beige calfskin strap accompanying the watch can be swapped for a host of other straps (not a metal bracelet, I’m afraid).
Availability & Price
The new IWC Portofino Chronograph 39 reference IW391502 is a regular member of the collection and retails for EUR 7,350. For more information, please visit iwc.com.