The Portugieser family by IWC needs little to no introduction anymore, being one of the most acclaimed collections of the Schaffhausen-based brand. A nautical-inspired watch born in the 1930s following the request of two Portuguese merchants and sailing enthusiasts, it has become a classic that hardly changed over the years. Today, IWC introduces new versions of the Portugieser Automatic and the Portugieser Chronograph, two of the most popular models in the collection, which not only look rather appealing but also perfectly match the nautical background of this family of watches, with so-called “panda blue” dials.
The combination of silvery-white dial and blue accents is amongst the most classic style you can find on an IWC Portugieser – if not the most emblematic combination. Adding a stronger nautical touch to these already nautical-related watches, this colour schema has a strong appeal and has been found on most of the members of the Portugieser family – the classic Automatic 7-day, the recently updated Chronograph reference 3716, the more compact Automatic 40 or even the sportier Yacht-Club. And there’s even been a Bucherer Blue edition of the Chronograph with even more inclusion of blue. In the same vein, so-called panda dials with contrasting sub-counters have long been present in the brand’s portfolio.
Today, the brand is taking both concepts and mixes them to give birth to these panda blue editions, based on the all-time classic Portugieser Automatic reference 5007 and the Portugieser Chronograph 3716. With a bit more boldness but also a reinforced contrast helping legibility, both watches have a polished lacquer finish over their white dial – thus being different from the classic silvery-white dial with metallic effect, and thus closer to the watches of the 150th-anniversary collection – and come with blue Arabic numerals and leaf-shaped hands, as well as deep blue sub-counters with azurage finishing. And yes, there’s certainly a slight inspiration from marine deck observation watches to be seen here.
The IWC Portugieser Automatic Blue Panda IW500715
The “big boy” of the Portugieser collection, the Automatic version is mostly characterized by its combination of a large case with ultra-powerful movement – it’s the pendant to the Big Pilot’s Watch, just dressed in nautical attire. The case here measures 42.3mm in diameter, with a height of 14.1mm. Inside, and filling the case to the max, is the in-house calibre 52010 with its wide rotor with Pellaton winding system and a 168-hour power reserve (corresponding to 7 days) that can be controlled with the gauge on the dial side.
While this new panda blue edition could feel at first like a simple evolution of the classic IW500705 model (silver dial, blue accents), it actually has a substantially different dial that has a glossy surface and, of course, deep blue contrasting counters for the power reserve and running seconds. Time is read thanks to classic Portugieser numerals and a railroad minute track. Complementing the blue dial is a rather formal alligator strap in blue, closed by a folding clasp. This IWC Portugieser Automatic Blue Panda IW500715 is part of the permanent collection and will retail for EUR 13,300 (the same price as other steel versions).
Quick facts: 42.3mm x 14.1mm – steel case, sapphire crystals, 30m water-resistant – lacquered white dial, blue counters – in-house automatic calibre 52010, 4Hz frequency, 7-day power reserve – alligator strap on folding clasp – reference IW500715 – EUR 13,300
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Blue Panda IW371620
Second in this new sub-collection is this panda blue take on the classic Portugieser Chronograph 3716. The cornerstone of the collection, as well as the most accessible model in the family, this watch has been around with almost no modifications for almost 25 years. Updated in 2020 with a new manufacture movement, thus becoming the 3716 (but visually identical to its predecessor, the 3714), it measures a reasonable 41mm x 13.1mm and is characterized by its vertical display.
Inside is the ValFleurier-made calibre 69355, an automatic integrated movement with column wheel, now visible under the sapphire caseback. Again, this new panda blue version seems close to the existing silver-plated model with blue accents (reference IW371605) but actually has a glossy white lacquered dial with different colour and surface. The other update concerns the strap. As of now, we’ve seen the Portugieser Chronograph worn on alligator straps, on a steel bracelet or even on eco-friendly straps. It’s here mounted on a blue textured rubber strap with a pin buckle, adding to the sportiness of this edition. It’s also part of the permanent collection and retails for EUR 8,950 (the same price as other classic steel models).
Quick facts: 41mm x 13.1mm – steel case, sapphire crystals, 30m water-resistant – lacquered white dial, blue counters – manufacture automatic column-wheel calibre 69355, 4Hz frequency, 46h power reserve – blue rubber strap on pin buckle – reference IW371620 – EUR 8,950
Both watches are now available from the brand and retailers. For more details, please visit www.iwc.com.