When you’ve been around for 150 years you can afford to take the long view when it comes to the vagaries of fashion and trends, and start to take some perspective. Perhaps this is why IWC’s celebratory anniversary collection is jam-packed full of classics, like this Portugieser. A round gold watch in the classic style, with a beautifully simple dial design — Arabic numerals and leaf hands look the business, especially on the rich white lacquer dial that is a hallmark of the “150 years” limited editions. The only thing that bucks convention is the size — at 43mm, the case is a little on the large size for traditional tastes, but even then it fits into the narrative of the Portugieser, originally conceived as a pocket watch movement in a wristwatch. Really, though, what all this means is a watch that’s simple, and simply stunning. IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” Australian pricing and availability IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years”, limited to 250 pieces, $27,100
Few things are as tactile and pleasing as manually winding a watch, and I’ve got to say the levels of satisfaction achieved in watching the power reserve indicator on this plus-sized Portofino are pretty intense. On one level it’s because there’s a lot of winding to be had, thanks to the eight days of power, but partially I think the joy is simply because this large 45mm red gold watch just feels great — heavy, substantial and downright powerful. At its heart, the Portofino is a dressy watch. Simple, refined, with a curvaceous case inspired by the pocket watches of yore. But the Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase is no diminutive dress option. It’s as bold as a Big Pilot, but still somehow delicate. The expansive dial looks wonderful in shimmering slate grey — a colour that pairs exceptionally well with the red gold hands, markers and case, and manages to encompass the diverse displays of moonphase, sub-seconds, date and power reserve without looking cluttered or busy. No mean feat. For me, though, what I like most about this watch isn’t visible from the front – it’s the big, beating heart of the watch, the mighty Calibre 59800, which makes the… Read More
The story in a second: The sportiest member of the Portugieser family is busy living its best life. IWC’s Portugieser family is, large diameter aside, a fairly dressy affair. Classic style, leaf hands, all that jazz. It’s the classic business watch. Except, of course, for the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, a watch that is business casual at best. The Yacht Club Chronograph is a timepiece in tune with its fun side, the sort of watch that can transition seamlessly from business to party. And looks great doing it. The dial Slate grey, which is the formal name of this dial, hardly sounds exciting. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. This dial is rich in detail and generally stunning. While the base of the dial is a rich slate sunburst, it’s all the other rich details that take it to the next level. The applied golden Arabic numerals, the printed white railroad chapter with luminous dots every hour, the deep black chronograph registers, and the classic leaf-shaped hands, which are — unusually for a Portugieser — filled with luminous material. I’m also quite partial to that red chronograph seconds hand, though I’d happily do without the ‘Yacht… Read More
Forget Bond, Bourne and Ethan Hunt, the greatest spy in the history of the silver screen is English, Johnny English. A secret agent of incomparable style, questionable grace and entirely accidental lethality, played to perfection by the thinking man’s action star Rowan Atkinson. In October, English will return to the screen for the third time, in Johnny English Strikes Again, which sees English once again assume the role of England’s last hope (and only available option), called out of retirement to tackle a cyberterrorist threat. Of course, English is decked out with all the spy essentials: the rocket-equipped car (Jag, natch), the suit, and, of course, the watch. And what timepiece is capable of matching English’s demanding standards at the bar and in the field? Well, none other than IWC — in this case the particularly stylish IWC Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince”, on a steel bracelet. It’s a superb choice: 40mm, with a glorious blue sunburst dial. And while you can fault Johnny English for many things, his choice of watch isn’t one of them. See him in action below …
Now, IWC is a brand I’ve always admired from afar, but haven’t had substantial personal experience with until last month. The timing worked out well, and I happened to be in the UK at the time of the Goodwood 76th Members’ Meet — an event I’d been dying to attend. Luckily for me, IWC Schaffhausen is the Official Timing Partner of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting and was kind enough to invite me along. Of course, I couldn’t attend such an event without some form of chronograph — and naturally an IWC. I ended up choosing the IWC Spitfire Chronograph on bracelet for my travels. The meet – Goodwood 76th Members’ Meeting As I arrived at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, filled with excitement, I was hit by an icy chill. I was seriously underprepared for the unusually cold March day and was feeling the sort of cold I’d never felt before. Lucky for me, IWC had a strong presence at the meet and hosted guests within their multi-level trackside marquee. It was there I sought refuge from the snow, drank copious cups of coffee, and mingled with other guests. One particular guest, who I bumped into as I was leaving the gents, had taken… Read More
IWC fans rejoice – the Schaffhausen-based brand has finally found an Australian home, in the heart of Melbourne. Designed by IWC’s own architects, the boutique is located at 360 Collins Street, the city’s premier luxury shopping street, already home to many fine watch brands. But the really exciting news for fans is that the boutique means that Australia is finally in the game for those elusive boutique-only editions, and hard-to-find high-end pieces. For example, it will be the only place you’ll be able to get your hands on the super-hot 150th anniversary Big Pilot Big Date when it arrives later in the year. Until then, here are three hot watches in-store right now. Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition ‘Tribute to Mark XI’ Ever since this watch dropped late last year — with its nigh on perfect mix of old and new — we’ve been dying to get our hands on one. Looks like we know where to go now. Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound From the simple to the complex, the large, clean palette of the Portugieser is the perfect canvas for IWC’s gorgeous tourbillon. Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Most people typically think of the Ingenieur as a sportier collection, but… Read More
For over 30 years the Portofino has been amongst IWC’s dressiest offerings, with a rounded Lépine-inspired case, and elegant, elongated Roman numerals. So it comes as no surprise that the line has a prominent place in IWC’s 150th anniversary collection. And while there’s simpler offerings, such as the Automatic and the Chronograph, our eyes (and hearts) were drawn to the more complex Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition “150 Years”. Looking at the watch its easy to see why. 45mm of rich red gold protecting the calibre 59800, with moon phase and power reserve, all topped off with that deep, deep blue dial, with gold details (like that oh-so-romantic moon). It might not be a dress watch in the typical, diminutive sense, but there’s no denying its a showstopper. IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition “150 Years” Australian pricing and availability IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition “150 Years in red gold, limited to 150 pieces, $34,200.
Designing a collection as wide and as important as IWC’s jubilee collection must represent quite the challenge. It needs to be new and innovative, but also remain true to the brand’s deepest roots. I think, by and large, that IWC have done a fine job. Not only does the diverse, 27-watch collection have a clear, unifying theme, thanks to the richly lacquered white and blue dials, but the selection of models is a good balance of their greatest hits and historically significant models. The Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” fits into both camps quite neatly. The important reference has enjoyed ever-increasing popularity since it first made its way back into the IWC catalogue in the early ’90s. And just quietly, I think this limited edition hand-wound Portugieser is one of the most attractive takes on the model ever released. Hands down. It’s got everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Offered in either steel (1000 pieces) or red gold (250 pieces) versions — both with white dials — the watch is effortlessly, unashamedly classic. The black printed sans-serif Arabic numerals, railroad-style minute track, seconds dial and IWC logo are crisply printed, and given plenty of space on the… Read More