In 1939 when two Portuguese merchants approached IWC about making a wristwatch with the same levels of accuracy usually seen in marine chronometer pocket watches, they had no idea it would be the beginning of a legend and the birth of one of IWC’s most popular collections. With a new slightly revised design, IWC have launched an updated version of their Portugieser Chronograph Classic – which we first saw back in 2013 (Ref. IW3904). The updates are few and subtle but they have culminated in a watch that accentuates the classic styling fans of the Portugieser love. Comparing new with old, the removal of the 1/5th of a second markings from the railway-track style chapter ring and the omission of the red accents from the chronograph markings have made for a cleaner looking dial that bolsters the family connection. Coupled with the now slightly slimmer feuille (leaf) hands and applied Arabic numerals, there is no doubting to which collection the Chronograph Classic belongs – especially when it sits beside its aperture-heavy brother, the Portugieser Annual Calendar. The 42mm case with a thickness of 14.5mm is largely unchanged, and is available in either stainless steel or 18k red gold. The stainless steel has two… Read More
One of the last people I saw before I left Australia for SIHH in January was James Marsden. He was on television, in dusty dungarees, with a vest, boots and a cowboy hat. His face was etched with pain. He’d just been shot by Ed Harris. Again. The television show is Westworld, the character is Teddy, and my wife and I remain obsessed with both. We’d binged our way through the first season in a matter of days, and then, a 27-hour flight and a broken night of sleep later, there I was with that very same character (Teddy) in real life. Reassuringly for you, dear reader, my interview questions extend well beyond his role on the incredible series, quickly focusing on watches. We also discuss how his obsession with timepieces began, and how he’s now seeking to pass the passion on to his son. But given the circumstances, the conversation does have to start with Westworld. T+T: This is freaking me out. The last time I saw you was only a day or so ago. You were having a hard time in the Wild West… JM: So is it freaking you out that I’m here and alive and there are no bullet… Read More
The buzzword is ‘pivot’. And at this year’s first major watch fair, SIHH in Geneva in January, IWC ‘pivoted’ in a big way with just about everything they did. The booth was fitted out to emulate a vast Florentine dome, the watches were Engineered for Women and, rather than safe sport-watch territory, the controls were very much set to ‘dress’. And in this single, boldly different territory, they did impress. These are the four watches that Felix and I couldn’t get out of our heads, now with extra-smoking fire effects and dance moves. Prepare yourself for Da Vinci (and some dramatic Felix voiceover effects)…
For years IWC has staked its claim as being one of the biggest, baddest and most masculine of the major Swiss brands. Recently though, we’ve sensed a change in the wind. In 2014 they released the delicate Portofino, and last year their more petite pilot had women firmly in its sights. That’s set to continue for 2017, with the latest evolution of the historic Da Vinci collection very much conceived with the female wrist in mind. The core of the collection is a range of eight 36mm references, three with moonphase complications. These models with their smaller size, optional diamonds and numerous colourful straps are intended purely for female customers. Things get a little more ambiguous with the two 40mm versions – including this one, the Da Vinci Automatic. I’d comfortably wear it, but I could also easily imagine my partner purloining for the day/week/rest of my natural life. It’s quite simple, with handsome rose gold hands and applied Arabic numerals. So far so good. But hold the watch in your hands and the party trick becomes apparent. The lugs aren’t just unusual and distinctive, they’re articulated. This means the Da Vinci is supremely comfortable on the wrist, whether it be large or small…. Read More
James Marsden, a face you will recognise from at least one of your favourite films (guys: Zoolander, girls: The Notebook, me: Westworld), describes the moment he surprised/scared IWC’s Creative Director, Christian Knoop, the night before. “I was chatting with Christian and I told him can you please make a perpetual calendar with a split-seconds chrono in a 43mm case. Please?” Knoop’s expression must have been somewhat like mine, read, the open-mouthed emoji with red cheeks. “His mouth was agape, he was like ‘How do you know about the 89630 movement in my new perpetual calendar?’ And I was like, it’s because I’m obsessed. They made a perpetual calendar with a chrono in the older Da Vinci, I think it was 2004 or something, and they’ve brought that back now and I just love a chrono movement with a perpetual calendar. He was like… ‘How do you know this, actor guy?” T+T: When did you get your first good watch? James Marsden: An IWC was the first really special watch I was given when we wrapped the last season of a show… Ally McBeal in 2002… It was given by David E. Kelley… It was the first upper tier nice watch I’ve ever owned. It was… Read More
Well, Christian and Evelyn have arrived at their destination and no, it’s not some Bond-villain-esque lair or a high-stakes diamond heist. Instead it’s something far more relatable and no-less stressful – a school reunion. Thankfully Christian’s fear of social inadequacy is unfounded, thanks in no small part to the Portugieser Hand-Wound on his wrist. We’ve had fun with this illustrated three-part microstory (here are parts one and two in case you missed), and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.
In addition to both festive and jolly, ’tis also the season for SIHH pre-releases. Today’s contribution comes courtesy of IWC, who appear to be following up their Portugieser and Pilot years with a Da Vinci-focused line-up – which is what makes the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘Sharks’ even more intriguing. The clue is in the name, but it’s the hammerhead sharks on the caseback that seal the deal. This monochrome take on the Aquatimer (we genuinely thought the picture was black and white when we first saw it) takes for its inspiration the cool grey colour of these apex predators. IWC has partnered with Hollywood-turned-underwater photographer Michael Muller on this watch, each one coming with a book chronicling his years of experience capturing this dangerous fish. IWC inform us (perhaps with the merest whiff of wry humour) that the book is “presented in a striking iron cage, guaranteed to protect against shark bites.” The watch receives no such protection, but given its 44mm steel sturdiness, we’re not sure it needs it. IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘Sharks’ Australian pricing The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘Sharks’, limited to 500 pieces, $16,000