Credit where credit is due. There may well be global turmoil the likes of which we’ve never seen before, but IWC has taken all in their stride and released a brace of new watches in 2020 that are set to stun. Though quietly, and with the kind of confidence that doesn’t require theatrics. It is, overall, a formidable display of power. And, in a fashion similar to what we’ve seen in previous years, the Schaffhausen outfit has singled out an entire model range for a complete makeover – 2020 is all about the Portugieser.
Last year it was the watchmaker’s Pilot collection that got the special treatment. This year, it’s the brand’s iconic Portugieser collection – that CEO Chris Grainger-Herr refers to as the “heart” of IWC – that’s getting a complete refresh, including some brand-new models. There’s quite a bit to get through with this range review, so if you’re a fan of the International Watch Company, put the kettle on and put your feet up and enjoy.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph
Undoubtedly the collection’s most popular model, the Portugieser Chronograph is just one of those watches that has stood the test of time – IWC got the formula so right first try, they’ve just stuck with it. Sure, it’s received incremental improvements over the years, but ultimately, it’s a watch that’s moved forward in a slow evolution of design language as opposed to revolutions. However, February 2020 did see the introduction of the chrono’s biggest evolution in 22 years. For the first time in the regular production Chronograph’s history, it has been equipped with a manufacture calibre movement – Calibre 69355. And now the Swiss watchmaker has released three new iterations.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371615
The first is this gorgeous stainless steel example with simply stunning, radially brushed sunburst forest green dial and complementing black alligator leather strap. What. A. Looker. In fact, this is probably our pick of the bunch from the new chrono releases. We cannot wait to see it in the metal.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371616
In a dial colour not too dissimilar from the IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition “Lewis Hamilton”, the second new Portugieser chrono in steel is this rapturous, radially brushed burgundy dial. Also equipped with a black alligator leather strap, this is perhaps the most extroverted interpretation of the iconic model in recent memory.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371614 Boutique Edition
Lastly, this solid 18k 5N gold Portugieser chrono, when combined with its handsome radially brushed, navy blue dial and complementing blue alligator leather band, is a very good-looking watch indeed. As the name would suggest, this beauty’s a boutique-only exclusive … which is a bit curious given the current state of affairs but, hey, they can’t stay closed forever, right?
IWC Portugieser Automatic
IWC’s popular time-only variant of the Portugieser is receiving a real shake-up this year, with an entirely novel model, the Portugieser Automatic 40, spearheading the cache of new releases. This newer, smaller 40mm timepiece brings with it the classic Portugieser small seconds sub-dial located at six o’clock, and will be available in three different iterations. Power will be derived from IWC’s Calibre 82200, which offers up self-winding and 60 hours of power reserve. The Swiss watchmaker’s much-loved, larger Portugieser Automatic “7-Day” has also scored two new examples, of which one will be steel and the other solid 18k 5N gold. These 42mm watches will utilise the classic self-winding Calibre 52010, which offers up a whopping seven days of power reserve and power reserve complication.
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 Ref. IW358303
Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated handset and numerals and a black alligator leather band … need we say more? How about a sapphire crystal caseback to show off the expertly finished Calibre 82200? IWC are really onto something with this new 40mm Portugieser; there looks to be a palpable sense of classicism and proportionality about it. We cannot wait to see this one in person. Things are heating up in the world of the dress watch.
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 Ref. IW358304
If gold on the dial of a dress watch isn’t your thing, if you prefer more restraint and subdued elegance, then this Automatic 40 is the pick of the bunch. It may well have the same silver dial, but now it’s paired with a blued steel handset and numerals that make it cooler than the cucumber in your G&T. And it’s got a matching blue alligator leather strap to boot.
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 Ref. IW358305
We should have seen this coming – it wouldn’t be a new watch release in 2020 without the obligatory blue dial variant, right? Cynicism aside, this radially brushed, Aegean blue sunburst dial looks nothing short of mesmerising. It’s very hard to make a blue dial look inimitable these days, but IWC looks to have done exactly that. Kudos.
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 Ref. IW358306
Rounding out the new 40mm Portugieser Automatic range, this solid 18k 5N gold model sports the same silver-plated dial as its steel counterparts. However, when combined with its solid red gold case, gold-plated handset and numerals and brown alligator leather strap crafted by Santoni, this watch presents as a distinctly luxurious item. Once it’s released, expect to see a fair few of these floating around a Riviera near you.
IWC Portugieser Automatic Ref. IW500714
The quintessential Portugieser 5007 you see before you is the latest stainless steel edition. Featuring the same shade of burgundy as the new Automatic Chronograph model, it’s no doubt a good-looking watch, though, when combined with its sizeable 42mm case, it amps up the wrist presence.
IWC Portugieser Automatic Ref. IW500713 Boutique Edition
Last of the Portugieser Automatic novelties for 2020 is this sumptuous-looking solid 18k 5N gold example with radially brushed, navy blue sunburst dial. It’s another boutique-only exclusive, and with its matching blue alligator leather strap by Santoni, it’s one hell of a looker.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar
The Portugieser’s Perpetual Calendar collection is also scoring a new and exciting addition to the highly complicated family. Called the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42, this latest timepiece, as the name would suggest, measures in at a svelte 42.4mm across. Make no mistake: this watch’s release is important. For starters, the slim wristed among us have often complained that the regular ’Gieser QP, which measures in at 44.2mm across, is just too big. This new smaller profile seeks to rectify that issue. The other notable takeaway from this novelty is the movement. For the first time, the highly desirable complication has been mated to IWC’s manufacture Calibre 82000-series. Designated Calibre 82650, this self-winding movement offers up 60 hours of power reserve, and can be admired by owners, thanks to a sapphire crystal display caseback. The smaller QP will be made available in three distinct iterations upon its release, in two different metals. The regular 44.2mm Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is also scoring a new boutique-only exclusive.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Ref. IW344203
Stainless steel Perpetual Calendars are just plain cool. This newer, smaller Portugieser QP, replete with its silver-plated dial, gold-plated handset and numerals and black Santoni alligator leather band, has got the lot for anyone who wasn’t born with wrists like “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Ref. IW344202
A steel QP may well be a cool thing, but if sticking with horological tradition is more your speed, then this precious metal iteration is the one to have. Finished in a solid 18k red gold case, the silver-plated dial, when combined with the gold-plated numerals and handset and brown alligator leather strap by Santoni, gives this timepiece genuine sophistication.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Ref. IW344205 Boutique Edition
Completing the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 trilogy is this Boutique Edition. Like the rest of the boutique-exclusive pieces, that means solid 18k 5N gold case, radially brushed, sunburst navy blue dial and blue alligator leather strap by Santoni. It looks drop-dead gorgeous, but just because it’s the smaller QP, don’t for a second think that it’ll command a small price tag, the value is all under hood, though not out of sight thanks to that clear caseback.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503312 Boutique Edition
Well, it’s another boutique exclusive, so suffice it to say – I’m sure you’re all patently aware of what this watch offers. There is one difference with this Boutique Edition compared to the others. This timepiece features IWC’s 18k Armor Gold, which, according to IWC, is “five to ten times as wear-resistant as conventional 5N gold”. There’s nothing new about the movement in this hard-as-nails QP, it’s still using the herculean manufacture Calibre 52610. That means self-winding, 54 jewels and a whopping seven days of power reserve.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club And Yacht Club Chronograph
Those with a nautical disposition should sit up and pay attention now, because the all-new Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide has got a very impressive trick up its sleeve. Featuring a completely novel tide indication, this Yacht Club has a sub-dial at the six o’clock position that enables wearers to observe the expected times for the next high and low tide. The dual moonphase at 12 o’clock now features the ability to display spring and neap tides, which will further enhance the wearer’s ability to understand the tide’s strength. IWC has also launched the third generation of the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide Ref. IW344001
Powered by the deeply impressive manufacture Calibre 82835, the new Moon & Tide Portugieser is actually the first watch to utilise the recently created tide complication. The 44.6mm case is hewn from solid 18k red gold, and when contrasted with a radially brushed, navy blue sunburst dial, gold-plated hands, 18k gold appliques and a navy rubber strap with inlay, it makes for a watch that would look right at home in Port Hercules.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Ref. IW390701
The all stainless steel Yacht Club Chronograph with sunburst navy blue dial is, judging from the photos, a very good-looking thing. The 44.6mm case is 14.4mm thick and plays host to the in-house Calibre 89361. The impressive self-winding movement offers a flyback-chronograph complication, 38 jewels and 68 hours of power reserve.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Ref. IW390702
While technically identical to its blue brethren, the white dial iteration of the Yacht Club Chrono presents a distinctly unique appearance thanks to small changes, like a blued steel handset and numerals. We’d be happy with any of these watches, but the S/S white dial is probably our pick of the bunch.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Ref. IW390703
Last but certainly not least, this two-tone variant of the Portugieser Yacht Club Chrono definitely gives off a yacht/country club vibe. The stainless steel and 18k red gold blend is a handsome combination and it definitely suits the timepiece’s luxury sensibilities.
IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph & Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon
Finally, IWC’s swan song to its 2020 Portugieser novelties are two new highly complicated, precious metal timepieces. The first is the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph. Available in either solid 18k Armor Gold or 950 Platinum, this expression of Haute Horology offers up some truly unbelievable features, including self-winding, flying hacking minute tourbillon, flyback chronograph and retrograde date display. All this technicality is shrouded in a 43mm case that measures in at a substantial 16mm thick. But, when you consider the sheer engineering on offer, the girth is more than acceptable. The second new highly complicated model is the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. Also being released in 18k Armor Gold and 950 Platinum, this QP tourbillon looks the absolute business. Just like the Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph, though, it’s not a watch for the faint of wrist, measuring a substantial 45mm across and 15.3mm thick. These timepieces showcase why IWC are one of the best watchmakers in the game.
IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Ref. IW394005 Boutique Edition
While benefitting from added toughness and wear resistance, the 18k Armor Gold used for this Tourbillon Rétrograde Chrono gives nothing away in terms of aesthetics. Combine the brilliant red glow from the hard-wearing precious metal with a radially brushed, sunburst navy blue dial, gold-plated handset, 18k gold appliques and a matching navy alligator leather band, and there’s no denying that this is a stunning timepiece.
IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Ref. IW394006
Thanks to the comparatively under-the-radar appearance of platinum when compared to Armor Gold, this iteration of the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph, despite no doubt costing more than the Boutique Edition, is the far more subtle member of the duo. Factor in the silver-plated dial, rhodium-plated handset and numerals and dark navy blue alligator leather band, and this watch quietly screams haute horology flex.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Ref. IW504504 Boutique Edition
Offering a very similar appearance to that of its complicated Boutique Edition counterpart, the Portugieser QP Tourbillion is another very, very handsome timepiece. The flying minute tourbillon at 12 o’clock would also be awesome to behold on the wrist.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Ref. IW504505
Just like the platinum Tourbillon Rétrograde Chrono, this QP tourbillon defintely goes about its business in a far more restrained manner than the Boutique Edition. However, while the looks are innocuous, the movement is nothing short of a tour de force.