HANDS-ON: The IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715 is handsome and powerful

HANDS-ON: The IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715 is handsome and powerful

Zach Blass

I recently tackled the new IWC Portugieser Chronograph IW371620, a solid summer watch that brings the youthful summer vibes to a classic and storied collection and manufacture. But a chronograph is not always everyone’s flavour. Unless you are dead-set on using a mechanical and analogue timekeeper for timing cars on the racetrack, or more realistically boiling pasta to ensure it is perfectly al dente, the recently unveiled IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715 may be more your speed.

 

 

A known favourite of actor Simu Liu, the IWC Portugieser in its clean dual-register format is a sure winner in the oversized dress watch category. My larger wristed friends often tell me they feel dressier watches are too small or too formal. Well if that is the case for you, or you enjoy handsome and elegant watches with very long power reserves, then it is worth digging into the IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715.

The case

The larger 42.3mm stainless-steel case, 14.1mm thick, definitely skews towards a sportier size. But its handsome and lume-less aesthetic will leave onlookers wondering whether or not the watch is cased in stainless-steel, white gold, or platinum. The entire front of the case is mirror polished, putting forth a more, well…. polished look forward. This maintains the dockside elegance aura the Portugieser collection was born from. The case flanks, however, are richly brushed across from lug-to-lug – which for the record is just a hair above 50mm, so the IW500715 is more wearable than you might expect.

The dial

IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW500715

The dial of the IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715, like the IW371620, has a porcelain-like look. White lacquered, the dial takes up a lot of real estate – the polished bezel not so much sloped, and more so cupping the dial with the metal heading straight down. This causes the watch to look larger than it actually is, but, in actuality, is a design choice to maintain the legibility factor this collection requires. Hints of blue create a youthful balance to the dial, with two registers, a central handset, and applied indices all executed in blue. At 9′ is a running seconds register, and at 3′ a power reserve register, like a gas tank, conveys how fully wound the watch is. Symmetrically splitting the registers at the 6′ position is a black on white date complication, and, at 12′, IWC Schaffhausen branding also in black. I cannot help but wonder if it would look better were the date and logo branding in blue to match the other accents of the dial, but it is definitely not a deal breaker.

The strap

In line with a dressy timepiece, which is only 30 metres water-resistant, the IWC Portugeiser IW500715 is appropriately outfitted on a blue alligator leather strap with a case-matching IWC deployment clasp. Definitely hard to beat this factory pairing, but should you want to explore more options, factory or otherwise, the lug width is 22mm.

The movement

IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW500715

Inside the watch, beneath a sapphire exhibition caseback, is the automatic IWC-manufacutred calibre 52010. I really like the fact that the calibre takes up the entire caseback, further justifying its size as well as making it feel like the calibre was born bespoke for this watch. It is nicely, albeit industrially, decorated, with circular Côtes de Genève and perlage, but watch aficionados will be more impressed with its technical side – offering a full week of power reserve (168 hours) on a full wind. And, considering it is an automatic, so long as you wear the watch once a week you will rarely have to wind and set the watch (aside from adjusting the calendar complication at the end of a necessary month).

The verdict

IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW500715

Overall, the IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715’s large diameter may deter some with its 42.3mm size. But, with a lug-to-lug of around 50mm or so the average wrist will be able to tame this handsome white and blue beaut that offers a full week of power reserve. The addition of lume and a more water-resistant case would definitely make this watch have more appeal to the mainstream, but for those who know, or at the very least appreciate its dressier considerations, will surely be happy with the IW500715.

IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715 pricing and availability:

IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW500715

The IWC Portugieser Automatic IW500715 is available now for purchase via IWC Boutiques, IWC e-commerce, and authorized dealers. Price: A$18,800, US$13,100

Brand IWC
Model Portugieser Automatic IW500715
Case Dimensions 42.3mm (D) x 14.1mm (T)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 30m
Dial White lacquer with blue accents
Crystal Sapphire crystal and case back with anti-reflective treatment
Strap Blue alligator leather strap with deployant clasp (lug width 22mm)
Movement Automatic IWC manufactured calibre 52010
Power Reserve 168 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve
Availability Now
Price A$18,800, US$13,100