Introducing IWC Portugieser Watches
Tuesday - 11 August 2020
In alliance with our love for classic Swiss Haute Horlogerie, Jura Watches now embarks on a new partnership with a premium watchmaker whose heritage spans over 150 years. IWC Schaffhausen is a Maison that incorporates age-old manufacturing techniques into modern design concepts. Weaving the old with the new in this way produces masterpieces like the loyal Portugieser.
Some of our new lines will include timepieces from this iconic family, including the IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph collection and the Portugieser Automatic collection. The Portugieser, whether you’re familiar with it or not, will likely appeal to your tastes in one way or another, since its design was engineered to appeal to devotees of both the straightforward timekeeper and complications alike.
Where it all began
Portugal is home to many a great explorer and navigator. But this elite breed of watch wasn’t inspired by the likes of Fernão de Magalhães or Vasco da Gama. Instead, the IWC Portugieser collection harkens back to the 1930s when the manufacturer went by the name of International Watch Company. Rodrigues and Teixeira – two businessmen - set out on a quest to develop a stainless steel wristwatch that housed a movement capable of equalling the precision of a marine chronometer.
Of course, this was no mean feat. The timepiece had to balance an easily readable display with a meticulous engine that would falter under no circumstances. The answer was, in fact, a pocket watch movement, housed inside a very large 43mm case. For its time, the Portugieser watch was considered huge compared to Art Deco wristwatches measuring 33mm or under. It was considered the precursor to the now popular oversized wristwatch.
Some characteristics played on the large surface of the dial, enhancing it in a way that no other manufacturer had dared to do before. The thin bezel, for example, opened up a vast display, accompanied by simple Arabic numerals and elegant leaf-shaped hands. During the 1980s the popularity of the Portugieser declined until it made the ultimate comeback in 1993. Its design was revived to mark the Maison’s 125th anniversary and collectors have never looked back since.
It’s not hard to see why the IWC Portugieser remains such a popular design. The caseback of each watch now offers a transparent lens to admire the work of an in-house movement from either the 89000 or 69000 calibre families, and the addition of minute repeaters and tourbillons now adds a complexity to this already very wearable collection. With case sizes coming in between 40mm and 45mm, you can find a size that suits anything from the slender wrist to a broader width without any difficulty.
What does the Portugieser range offer?
IWC Schaffhausen has extended the Portugieser line once again this year, offering wearers a very compact 41mm self-winding design, a new take on the ever-popular Portugieser Chronograph in a range of vivid dial shades, and a very comfortably-sized 42mm Perpetual calendar. There’s also the new Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, a Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph and a Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon to choose from.
The instantly recognisable look of the Portugieser watch is based on the style of the earlier deck watches made by IWC Schaffhausen for the British Royal Navy during the 1930s. Combine this very distinct aesthetic with the qualities of a marine watch and what you get is a timepiece that remains very much in a calibre of its own in terms of uniqueness.
Let's take a more in-depth look at the range…
To start with, from the Portugieser Chronograph line, there’s a choice between a 41mm stainless steel case and an 18ct 5N Rose gold case – both water-resistant to 30 meters. The steel versions offer a silver-plated dial with either rose gold appliques (ref: IW371604) or classic blued steel hands to complement a blue leather strap (ref: IW371605). Onto the coloured dials of the steel models, and you have a choice between a dramatic blue (ref: IW371606) or a classic black (ref: IW371609). The 69355 Calibre is the engine built behind the dial, which offers a useful 46-hour power reserve and boasts captivating Côtes de Genève, perlage to its surface – a finishing touch that can be admired through the watch’s rear-view window. The rose gold model ref: IW371611 will appeal to collectors with a preference for luxurious designs. An alluring rose gold bodywork surrounds a silver-plated dial pierced by a striking blue chronograph second hand. The sub-counters placed at 12 and 6 o’clock depicting the 30-minute and 60-second features balance one another out beautifully inside a detailed minute and second scale running around the edge of the dial.
The 42.3mm IWC Portugieser automatic watches are simpler in design but lack nothing when it comes to matching the performance and functionality of the chronograph iterations. These automatic models come in the choice of a stainless steel case with silver-plated dial (rose gold hands ref: IW500704 or blued steel hands ref: IW500705) or an 18ct 5N rose gold case with rose gold appliques ref: IW500701. The sub-counters in these versions are placed at the East and West side of the dial, offering a small seconds scale at 9 o’clock and a power reserve scale at the third hour location. The latter gives a clear indication of the remaining energy reserves of the in-house designed Calibre 52010, which again, can be viewed through a transparent caseback. This movement offers an astounding 7-day power reserve, lending itself to a variety of uses when it comes to business or travel needs.
Despite the design of the Portugieser changing very little since it first found its way onto the wrists of the style-oriented gentleman, it remains as contemporary and as wearable as ever. Even the standard version in its simplest of form is fitted with an unfaltering calibre that’s worth every penny as a companion to share life’s twists and turns with. As a genuine UK stockist of IWC Schaffhausen watches, a full range can now be viewed here at Jura Watches, complete with a detailed spec guide on everything you need to know before securing yourself a beloved model from the range.