IWC Portugieser Chronograph IW371604 Review
Wednesday - 09 September 2020
There are so many reasons to fall in love with the IWC Portugieser Chronograph reference IW371604. Its pared-back design reflects the confidence of the company. IWC Schaffhausen need not be over adventurous nor flamboyant with its designs. The beauty of each timepiece from the iconic Portugieser collection lies within its simplicity and a universally loved design that balances both form and function.
At the time of the Portugieser’s birth, there was only one movement capable of meeting the standards envisioned by two businessmen, Rodrigues and Teixeira. They desired a watch with marine chronometer accuracy but required the timepiece to mirror the size of a pocket watch. It resulted in a timepiece that was relatively large for its time, measuring a 43mm diameter. The reference 325.
Skip to half a century later and the Portugieser watch that the world has come to know and love today was relaunched in 1995. IWC reimagined the design of the watch to fit the wrist of the modern-day gentleman. Perhaps a businessman, an entrepreneur possibly? But above all, a watch enthusiast. Collectors of the famous Portugieser watch love its refined, elegant look. Its unwavering precision and crisp, clean aesthetic impart sophistication on the wrist. Mechanically, the Portugieser has gone through some recent changes. The company switched its third party movements over to an in-house built one. The IWC Portugieser Chronograph reference IW371604 is powered by the Calibre 69335. This fact alone instantly makes the watch an appealing choice when shopping for the best chronographs on the market (especially from an affordability point of view).
If you’ve been researching IWC’s independently manufactured movements, then everything you have been reading up on is true. Beneath a beautifully crafted rotor and through four cut-outs is an exceptionally clear view into the high-quality finishes undergone by the company’s expert team of craftsmen. It promises automatic winding, a 46-hour power reserve and a column-wheel mechanism. Cotes de Genève and Perlage decoration show off all the finest components of the engine, sourcing the energy it needs from a pawl winding system that moves bidirectionally.
Onto the surface of the watch, and the IWC Portugieser Chronograph offers all the highlights you’d expect from a pedigree belong to this flagship collection. A silver-plated dial sets the bi-compax chronograph counters off nicely. These sub-dials sit in a north-south layout. Of course, with a dial format like this, the IWC name is moved to 3 o’clock, mirrored by the “Chronograph Automatic” lettering at 9 o’clock.
Edging towards a design that can easily pair with formal attire or something extra special in the evening, the dial of the Portugieser Chronograph IW371604 is adorned with rose gold detailing. There are very few changes made to the watch when compared to its former 3714 model, and that’s a good thing for those who adore the balanced proportions and clarity it offers. The case of the watch has grown a very mere 0.1mm while the company lettering has reduced ever-so-slightly. To the untrained eye, this may make no difference whatsoever, but IWC aficionados will no doubt notice these small modifications. It is only presumed that Schaffhausen-based experts had a more symmetrical idea in mind when developing the design of the dial, which again, goes without the date window for the same reasons.
Portugieser watches are known and loved for the quality of their beautifully crafted leather straps. Securing this IW371604 model to the wrist, you will notice yet another subtle design change. The clasp is thinner and now offers a triple folding mechanism, enabling it to sit central to the strap no matter how tight the band is worn. If your wrist is on the slender side, this is good news for you. Courtesy of the watch’s minimal bezel (another noticeable design characteristic of the Portugieser line), the stainless steel case of this watch looks larger than it really is. The 41mm model is lightweight on the wrist and water-resistant to 30 meters.
IWC Schaffhausen’s attitude to the almost completely unchanged Portugieser Chronograph watch is admirable. It’s music to the ears of those who have spent years collecting the many different iterations from the line. The model is, without any doubt, a go-to timepiece for all eventualities. Clearly marked details on the 30-minute scale at 1 o’clock and the crisp markers around the seconds scale at the edge of the dial make measuring elapsed time via the blued central chronograph hand a breeze.
This is yet another cult collector’s addition. Priced at £7050, this Portugieser Chronograph is available to order here. Alternatively, you can give one of our specialist watch team members a call on 01335 453453 who will be more than happy to talk you through the features of this Portugieser in more detail.