The Portugieser (no longer referred to as Portuguese or Portugaise) is probably IWC’s most emblematic collection. With a history dating back to the late 1930s with the reference 325, this nautical-inspired and elegant watch has been equipped with all possible complications. However, over the last couple of years, there have been no time-only models in the collection – somewhat surprising given that this format was the origin of the model. Well, those days are over as IWC introduces a new, compact, daily-oriented and ultra-clean version of its nautical icon, with a neatly organised dial with small seconds. Let’s have a look at the new IWC Portugieser Automatic 40.
No need to beat around the bush… This new version features all the classic traits of the IWC Portugieser family. Even without the logo on its dial, it would be recognizable as such. A thin bezel, a large dial with a railroad minute track, the signature applied Arabic numerals, the leaf-shaped hands, etc… Up to this point, the watch ticks all the hallmark traits of a Portugieser. However, it marks a significant departure from one of the range’s key elements: the oversized case. This IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 is indeed more compact, more reasonable and more oriented for daily use. Still, visually speaking, this doesn’t show.
The case of this IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 measures 40.4mm in diameter and 12.4mm height. Nice proportions with a good presence, not too formal, not too sporty either – overall a casual, elegant watch The case could have been a tad thinner, but the diameter/height ratio is pleasant and on the smaller side for a modern IWC watch. The execution of the case is traditional, with polished top surfaces and brushed casebands. The crown is a simple push-pull affair and the water-resistance is 30m.
Seen on my 16.5cm wrist, the lugs appear to be rather long but are indeed well designed and sufficiently curved to hug the wrist. It is worn on alligator straps (note: the watches here were prototypes with faux-alligator for export reasons) secured by a thin butterfly folding clasp on steel models. The 18k rose gold watch has a Santoni strap with pin buckle.
For its official launch, the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 will be available in four all-time classic versions. Three models are cased in stainless steel and one in gold:
- steel, silver-plated dial combined with gold-plated hands/indexes and black strap (ref. IW358303)
- steel, silver-plated dial combined with blued hands/indexes and blue strap (ref. IW358304)
- steel, blue sunray-brushed dial combined with rhodium-plated hands/indexes and black strap (ref. IW358305)
- 18k 5N gold, silver-plated dial combined with gold-plated hands and solid gold indexes and Santoni brown strap (ref. IW358306)
The dial of this Portugieser Automatic 40 is, as mentioned, completely in line with the collection’s DNA leaving no doubts about its filiation. The dial is clean, uncluttered, ultra-legible and elegant at the same time. Even though it only displays the time, with central H-M and small seconds, it is relatively lively in the metal. It gives the watch elegance and dynamism, making it more casual than a tuxedo-ready model, even in its gold edition.
Under the sapphire caseback is IWC’s latest “entry-level” automatic manufacture movement, the Calibre 82200. This modern base movement has been developed as a replacement to ETA and Sellita and offers multiple improvements over these outsourced engines. The winding is done by the brand’s Pellaton system, the power reserve is comfortable at 60 hours, and the movement measures 30mm in diameter, making it better adapted to contemporary sized watches. It is also quite pleasantly designed with opened bridges that reveal most parts. The decoration, if industrial, is well executed.
This compact and elegant IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 will be priced at CHF 7,500 or EUR 7,150 in steel and CHF 17,200 or EUR 16,900 in 5N gold. More details at www.iwc.com.