SIHH 2015: IWC Portuguese Hand-Wound 8 Days – 75th Anniversary Edition
IWC chose to use the 75th anniversary of the Portuguese line to introduce a model that takes its styling directly from the original model. Let us take a look at the modern reinterpretation of the Schaffhausen maker’s most venerable lines.
IWC is without question one of the most prestigious brands. The current identity of the brand is a balance between the heritage and style of traditional watchmaking versus the progression of technology in the industry. The Portuguese Hand-Wound 8 Days (Ref. IWC510205 in stainless steel and IWC510206 presented in red gold) is equal measures of history and technology.
Throwback Thursday (or any day really)
The legacy of the Portuguese (or Portugieser in German) model 325 runs throughout the ‘DNA’ of International Watch Co. Its oversized case, housing a not at all disguised pocket watch movement became the template for a number of models. Sitting atop the movement was a simple, elegant dial designed for easy legibility.
75 years later the 5102 models revisit the notion of simple elegance with 43mm cases and dials boiled down to the absolute essential for quick reading: Arabic numerals at 12, 3 and 9 and clear railroad graduations around the dial. Seconds (which now hack… we’ll get to that in a second) sit at 6 as they did on the original. Now a date window counts out the month in an aperture at the very bottom of the dial.
8 Days a Week
Manually wound movements are a bit of a paradox. They are absolutely NOT modern. In fact they sit in opposition to modernity; there isn’t anything necessarily convenient about them and the ‘tricks’ that make them work have been seen and done for the past 100 or so years with out much variation. The paradox is that while they don’t fit the bill as cutting edge for 2015, they fit any true watch collector’s lifestyle perfectly. More so than any other type of modern day movement they force the owner into a relationship with the watch because of the need for regular winding.
The manufacture caliber 59215 movement needs to be wound, but it is by no means a needy movement. The 192-hour power reserve means that you can easily keep the 5102 in rotation with several other watches without concern for setting because the reserve has run flat. Speaking of reserve, the sapphire display on the rear of the watch has an 8-day readout to keep track of winding duties. And speaking of setting – unlike the pocket watch movements of yore, the 59215 will hack to allow for precise setting.
Unlimited Tradition, but Limited Editions
2015 will see IWC renew the Portuguese line-up. The Portuguese line has survived 75 years to celebrate its jubilee this year. While the line has lasted, the celebration will not. The Hand Wound 8-days Portuguese models are quite limited in numbers: stainless steel is limited to 750 pieces worldwide and red gold is restricted to 175 pieces. When they are gone you will have to wait until the year 2040 for the line’s centennial editions; don’t think of it as a quarter of a century away, think of it as 1,142 winding cycles.
This IWC looks like a watch that is worthy of IWC name and though this watch won’t be cheap I hope I can buy one.