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IWC Schaffhausen - The Return Of The Portugieser

IWC Schaffhausen The Return Of The Portugieser

The debut edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva (previously SIHH) marks the big return of the IWC Portugieser, five years after the last full release of this collection.

In the first (and fully digital) edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen scores big by putting the Portugieser collection back in the spotlight. The Portugieser is the most emblematic and prestigious collection of IWC Schaffhausen, and 2020 is the year of its big comeback, since the last time IWC released a full collection of Portugieser timepieces was in 2015.

The origins of the Portugieser lie in the 1930s, when two Portuguese merchants who asked the Schaffhausen manufacture to create a wristwatch with the precision of a pocket watch. The result was the famed reference 325, the proto-Portugieser, as it were. In 1993, on the occasion of the brand’s 125th anniversary, IWC relaunched the reference 325 under the name “Portugieser” — thus marking the official beginnings of this successful collection.

Over the years, the Portugieser (also known at different points in time as the anglicized “Portuguese”) has housed some of IWC’s most exceptional complications, from the signature perpetual calendar developed by Kurt Klaus to the groundbreaking constant-force tourbillon of the Sidérale Scafusia. The last full collection of Portugieser novelties from IWC, in 2015, focused on legacy models, technical developments and high-prestige mechanisms such as the minute repeater. This year, IWC brings something completely new to the Portugieser. 

THE SPORTING SIDE

The Portugieser models geared towards those with active lifestyles include the Yacht Club timepieces, which are dedicated to maritime sports. In line with this robust lifestyle, the models have a diameter of 44.6mm, which brings a substantial presence on the wrist. The flagship of the 2020 collection is undoubtedly the creation of a new complication: a tide indicator. Present on the Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide model, the indication of the next high and low tide (at the 6 o'clock subdial) is not only a brand new complication at the Manufacture, it is also a very rare complication within the watch industry. Indeed, only Ulysse Nardin, known for its expertise in esoteric calendar complications, offers modern watches with such a complication. Powered by the IWC in-house cal. 82835, an automatic movement water-resistant to 30m, this timepiece contains the emblematic double moon phase display of IWC (at the 12 o'clock subdial), enhanced to indicate spring and autumn tides as well as to provide an indication of the intensity of the coming tides, the tides being linked to the movements of the moon.

The Return Of The Portugieser

Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide, and Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph © IWC Schaffhausen

In the Yacht Club category, IWC also offers three new chronographs, created in materials adapted to the aquatic environment: two full stainless steel versions, as well as a leisure-chic steel-and-gold combination. These flyback chronographs are powered by the highly established IWC cal. 89361, renowned for its chronograph legibility (elapsed hours and minutes are displayed in a single totaliser at 12 o'clock).

THE COMPLICATIONS

Although 2015 showed us that high complication has an enduring place in the Portugieser collection, 2020 brings its share of novelty and proves that IWC is not simply resting on its laurels. The Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph and the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon are representing IWC’s ongoing commitment to traditional horological complication while also showcasing the manufacture’s willingness to explore new technologies. This can be seen in particular in the Diamond Shell treatment of the tourbillon's anchor and escape wheel, which reduces friction and thus improves the transfer of energy within the movement.

The Return Of The Portugieser

Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronographe and Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon © IWC Schaffhausen

The Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph, housing the cal. 89900, combines the eponymous rotating escapement with a retrograde date display and a chronograph, while the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon, containing the cal. 51950, displays its functions in typical IWC fashion — prioritising clarity and modernity. Each of these models is available in two versions, in limited editions of 50 pieces each: one in platinum and one in 18-carat Armor Gold® (boutique edition). This type of red gold is a new material offering much greater resistance than traditional red gold alloys, thanks to its improved microstructure. With this new type of gold, introduced at IWC for the first time last year under the name "hard gold" on the Grande Montre d'Aviateur Tourbillon à Force Constante Edition "Le Petit Prince", IWC is boosting the customer experience by offering gold timepieces that can be worn without fear of damage.

The Return Of The Portugieser

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 and Portugieser Perpetual Calendar © IWC Schaffhausen

As for the chronographs, available in several colours, it is interesting to note that their legibility has been improved upon. Not only does their streamlined dial make reading easier, but their unique flange with a graduated scale in quarters of a second allows for an even more accurate reading of the times measured.

The Return Of The Portugieser

Portugieser Chronograph © IWC Schaffhausen

IN THE CLASSIC REALM

An iconic watch in an iconic collection — the Portugieser Automatic is essential to any full release of the IWC flagship. In addition to two colourful models with a case identical in size to the most recent Portugieser Automatic launched in 2018 (42.3 mm), one of which is a boutique edition, IWC now offers 40.4 mm cases. Available in four versions, three in stainless steel and one in red gold, the Portugieser Automatic 40 retains its traditional small seconds (with hacking function for precision setting) at 6 o'clock. The steel models feature a new butterfly folding clasp.

The Return Of The Portugieser

Portugieser Automatic 40 and Portugieser Automatic © IWC Schaffhausen

With this host of novelties, IWC Schaffhausen offers something for every taste and every lifestyle. No matter who you are, you'll be delighted with the new IWC Portugieser releases.

All the novelties are available in 3D thanks to augmented reality. It is therefore possible to scan them on your mobile phone and put them in 3D on your table at home! Moreover, you can discover IWC's Watches & Wonders stand in 3D and 360°. To enjoy this, you just have to click on the following button:

 

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With a clear emphasis on technology and development, IWC Schaffhausen has been manufacturing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. Its philosophy, based on a passion for watchmaking, aims to maintain a spirit of indefatigable initiative and impeccable craftsmanship.

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