A playful yet respectful new colour for the IWC Portugieser Chronograph A playful yet respectful new colour for the IWC Portugieser Chronograph

A playful yet respectful new colour for the IWC Portugieser Chronograph

Buffy Acacia

Let’s be honest. When people attend a watch fair as huge as Watches & Wonders, they’re most excited about new watches and not so much new colour schemes. There is an exception to this, and that’s when the colours are just too nice to ignore. Of the new IWC Portugieser Chronograph collection, we got our hands on the Horizon Blue model. Not only is it a joy to stare at, but it matches the watch’s sensibilities perfectly.

The dial

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Dial 1

The Portugieser has its origins in the late 1930s, but ever since its resurgence and upswing of popularity in the ‘90s it has encompassed sophistication, charm, and performance. The Chronograph model in particular embodies a utilitarian spirit, wrapped in a body of suaveness. The dial’s layout reflects this with a spot-on balance between negative space and detail, from the applied numerals to the intricate track of the chapter ring. The dots which serve as the minute track also add to the watch’s bubbly personality, and the subdials at 12 and 6 echo the design of vintage stopwatches. Not that this is an overly sporty design, indeed the chronograph is almost built for small tasks like cooking and parking meters things to a single 30-minute counter at 12.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Dial 2

The three new colour variants for the IWC Portugieser Chronograph are a sandy Dune, Obsidian Black, and the Horizon Blue which we’ve got here. The pale shade of blue is quite dynamic thanks to its coarse sunburst brushing, exploring both the lightest and darkest tones it has to offer depending on where the shadow is cast. It’s a refreshing change from navy blue dials, while still feeling traditional enough to suit the restrained aesthetic of the Portugieser line.

The case

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Case 1

There really isn’t much resemblance between the original IWC Portuguese from 1939 and the Porgugieser Chronograph, except for the case diameter. It was 41.5mm, which was enormous for the time, and this watch is actually slightly smaller at 41mm. That said, it’s still quite a sizeable presence for what could easily be considered a dress watch. The delicate dial details and super-slender bezel makes for a very wide-looking dial, but it never feels intrusive. All of the surfaces are polished from the front, and the case almost seems to dissolve on the wrist. From the side, the brushed surface reveals a more structured portion. It’s here that you can even see the slightest hint of a yellow lustre from the 18k white gold.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Case 2

Although the wrist presence is quite large, its comfort is assured with a 13.1mm thickness and a 47.9mm lug-to-lug length. The pushers are also quite petite with visible stalks, further staying into dress watch territory. The water resistance is only 30 metres, which should be enough for the casual-to-formal wear scenarios it was designed for.

The movement

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Caseback 1

The calibre 69355 which powers the Portugieser Chronograph is part of IWC’s 69000 family of in-house chronograph movements, which they began producing in 2016. It’s a true manufacture calibre, with a 46-hour power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate for a smooth seconds sweep. The column wheel, which gives the pushers their signature ‘click’ feel, is visible from the sapphire display caseback, as is extensive perlage finishing and Côtes de Genève circling the central plate. A skeletonised winding rotor keeps the power reserve topped up, and does its best to not obstruct the view of the movement.

The strap

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Strap

For an added taste of luxury, the 18k gold references of the Portugieser Chronographs are paired with fairly special straps. They’re manufactured by Santoni, who are a prolific shoe manufacturer from Italy. This blue calfskin strap features an orange backing and stitching along its edges, with an 18k gold pin buckle to match the case. The lug width is 20mm, so if you ever want to experiment with aftermarket straps, you will have plenty of options.

The verdict

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Horizon Blue Verdict

Although the other models of IWC Portugieser have been getting a lot of love recently, the Chronograph has never properly broken free of its navy, silver, and sunburst black colour schemes. New colours will definitely inject some life into the range, and the ones they’ve chosen are still refined enough to not seem out of place. Horizon Blue is likely to be a huge success, branching out from generic blues without rocking the boat too much.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph collection pricing and availability

The new IWC Portugieser Chronograph collection is unlimited and will be available from IWC boutiques and retailers. Price: A$30,000

Brand IWC
Model Portugieser Chronograph
Reference Number IW371626
Case Dimensions 41mm (D) x 13.1mm (T) x 47.9mm (LTL)
Case Material 18k white gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Horizon blue
Strap Calfskin strap made by Santoni, 18k white gold pin buckle
Movement 69355, automatic
Power Reserve 46 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
Availability Available now
Price A$30,000