Monochrome Watches
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IWC Reintroduces the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante – And It Rocks, And It’s Steel…

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition Boutique Munich and Rue de la Paix

Following its launch in 1995, the IWC Portugieser Chrono­graph Rattrapante (Ref. 3712) quickly gained the status of icon. For a start it was a Portugieser (which alone makes this watch totally emblematic of the Schaffhausen-based manufacture) plus it also featured quite a special split-second chronograph complication. Yes, it is a rattrapante but that’s not what made it special per se. It’s special because at the time it was a simple and accessible rattrapante, which was very cool. Unfortunately, this watch was discontinued in 2006… Until earlier this year that, when it was revived in a gold limited edition for Milano. Today that model is joined by two siblings, this time in stainless steel – which is really cool. Presenting the “new” Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Boutique Editions, one for Munich and the other for the Rue de la Paix / Paris.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante 1995 Ref. 3712

The original, the 1995 IWC Portugieser Chrono­graph Rattrapante (Ref. 3712)

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The original IWC Portugieser Chrono­graph Rattrapante was launched in 1995 under the Reference 3712. Immediately applauded by collectors for its look – a rather conservative evolution of the Portugieser, with the same iconic design and a great discretion, even with its highly complex movement – this watch entered the pantheon of the icons mainly for its movement. While the concept of a split-seconds chronograph usually means huge complexity in the development and manufacturing process, here, it is different. It is based on module developed by Richard Habring, at that time employee of the Schaffhausen-based manufacture. This movement, the Doppelchronograph, made accessible a complication that is usually extremely costly and hard to produce, by having a simplified module adaptable one external movements. The Calibre 76240 is in fact based on a Valjoux 7760 (the hand-wound version of the 7750) with an additional split-seconds module. The rattrapante function is activated by the pusher at 10. Today, in addition to the earlier gold Milano Boutique Edition with blue telemeter dial showed here, two steel versions are joining the catalogue.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition Boutique Munich Ref. IW371217

The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition Boutique Munich Ref. IW371217

Then again, collectors will have to be fast, as we’re talking about two limited versions, both of 250 pieces, made exclusively for the Paris and Munich boutiques. Whatever, there’s another opportunity to get your hands on a very special watch. Technically and visually, the best is that everything that made the 1995 edition so desirable has been kept. The diameter of the steel case is 40.9mm (same as the standard chronograph), the bezel is still almost absent, for a super-wide dial opening, the inner flange still features a second track (and nothing more) and the dial has the exact same super-balanced, super-clean layout – 30-minute counter at 12, small second at 6, central second and rattrapante hand, and no date (yes, that’s fine, don’t change it). Technically, the IWC Portugieser Chrono­graph Rattrapante retains is movement, the Valjoux / Habring based Calibre 76240 – and here again, that’s fine. No need for a manufacture movement that will cost three times more and won’t do much more. This movement is a workhorse and a real split-seconds at the same time. Good and reliable.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition Boutique Rue de la Paix Ref. IW371216 - 2

The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition Boutique Rue de la Paix Ref. IW371216

As said, two versions of the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante will be offered. The first one, reserved for the Parisian boutique, has a nice dial with grey base and black sub-dials. The hands as well as the indexes are all silver-colored, thus giving an extremely monochromatic look, rather understated and reminiscent of the good-old IWC production. The second edition, made for the Munich boutique only, shows a striking blue dial, matching sub-counters, silver-colored hands, to the exception of two hands related to the chronograph functions – the rattrapante and the 30-minute. Indexes and tracks are again silver, making it quite cold again, and not too demonstrative.

These two editions are simply good (and I mean it in the best possible way). They are referring to these not-that-old-days of IWC, when watches were maybe a bit more simple and still extremely restrained. That’s a great opportunity that you shouldn’t miss out.

Both editions of the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante feature a dedicated engraving on the caseback – icons or landmarks from the respective cities (Munich’s cathedral and Paris / Place Vendôme’s Colonne). The Edition “Boutique Rue de la Paix” will be available from December 2016 in the IWC boutique Rue de la Paix in Paris, and the Edition “Boutique Munich” is expected to be available from spring 2017 in the IWC boutique Munich. Prices not yet reveled. Watch enthusiasts can already register their interest in purchasing the watch via the IWC Concierge Service ([email protected]).

5 responses

  1. Hi Brice,
    thanks for sharing. Despite I respect Portugieser heritage I’m not a big fan of the watch. However I believe that such an iconic piece would deserve a manufacture caliber rather than an outsourced one (even if a workhorse of good quality).

    Just my two cents,

  2. ‘a rather conservative evolution of the Portugieser Chrono­graph’ – actually the Portugieser Chronograph (3714) was introduced 3 years later (1998 vs 1995) than the Chrono-Rattrapante (3712).

  3. Very nice looking watches but a Valjoux 7750 based movement at this price point would be an automatic ‘ think I’ll pass ‘ from my perspective .

  4. Paris edition is a perfect daily watch with meaningful Latin phrase. Subdued elegance…

  5. Criticism of the calibre is completely misplaced and really only demonstrates ignorance. The base design was transformed by Richard Habring into somthing very special indeed. The whole thing is rebuilt and re-made, it’s not simply some module simply bolted on a ready-made ebauche. I have this movement in my much-loved Doppelchrongraph 3713 and it never ceases to give pleasure.

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