At the beginning of the week, I have published the press release of the new IWC Portugieser Chronograph with in-house calibre. Two days later I drove to Munchen, to the IWC Boutique to see them live. This historic collection does look good in the new chronograph version and I decided to share with you some pictures and impressions.
Review IWC Portugieser Chronograph
IWC Schaffhausen launched 6 new models of the well known Portugieser Chronograph. The novelty consists in the use of in-house movement 69355 instead of the modified ETA Valjoux 7750. For those familiar with the brand and particular with this model, the manufacture movement is not a big surprise. Moreover quite expected. IWC used previously the calibre 69355 in the IW371601 (blue dial) and IW371602 (white dial) – the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition “150 Years”. These two references were launched at SIHH 2018 together with other anniversary pieces.
Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph all six of them. But other than the dial colour variations there are no other differences (of course, there are the four steel and two gold versions). I focused mainly on the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371605, the white dial with blue accents as one of the most classic versions (more a bit of a favourite).
An elegant classic
Decades of Portugieser has established the model as an elegant but slightly sporty watch with roots in the nautical side of the watchmaking. The brushed case band makes a great contrast with the polished bezel and see-through caseback.
The crown and pushers are well integrated into the 41 mm steel or gold case. The polished “mushroom” pushers have nice and firm feedback. It is a pleasure to use the chrono. Definitively an improvement over the classical versions with modified Valjoux.
The IWC specific crown is decorated with embedded IWC logo. I found that without a bit of fingernail it is difficult to get the crown in the setting position. The fingertips do not have enough grip. The winding imposes no problems, being smooth, effortless.
The watch is fitted with a solid deployant clasp. The brushed buckle is decorated with the IWC logo medallion. A nice view for the back of the wrist. The watch sits comfortably on the wrist.
The caseback is fixed with 4 screws. The watch offers 3bar water-resistance (visible also as engraving detail on the caseback). The 13.1 mm height is just slightly bigger as the older closed case version, in order to accommodate the sapphire crystal.
The Portugieser dial
The IWC Portugieser is one of the most recognisable timepieces. Not only from IWC but also between the classic timepieces. The model gained respect for its simple look and excellent visibility – the main requirements that led to the born of the Portugieser.
The clean dial is adorned with applied numerals as hour indexes. The minutes’ register uses a set of recessed dots in the colour scheme of the watch. Rest of the decorations are printed, including the sloped inner bezel featuring the seconds’ register.
The small seconds and the chronograph 30 minutes counter uses two vertical placed recessed sub-dials with circular guilloche pattern.
Between the models, the variations are just purely cosmetic.
Above is visible the gold case IW371611 that shares the same dial with the steel Ref. IW371604. These two references have the same dial decoration, including the blued chronograph central seconds’ hand and 30 minutes’ counter hand.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371609 with black dial is adorned with rhodium-plated hands and appliques. The recessed circular pattern is kept. The blue dial Ref. IW371606 shares the decoration with the black dial version.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Ref. IW371610 features a slate-coloured dial. The contrast with the black sub-dials is lovely.
IW371610 offers, in my opinion, the best spectacle of the sunray adorned dial.
IWC manufacture calibre 69355
IWC Schaffhausen made the right choice when decided to go with an in-house movement for the chrono Portugieser. Many voices expressed the opinion that the statute and price of the historic pieces deserved a manufacture movement.
The Calibre 69355 is part of the IWC’s 69000-family. The mechanical automatic chronograph movements do not feature a chrono hour totalizer nor a date complication.
The 46 hours power reserve is depleted by a 28,800 vph / 4 Hz escapement visible through the skeletonised rotor weight and the “aperture” of the top bridge.
The chronograph mechanism is partly visible too – the column wheel. You can easily observe the hand made perlage, circular Cotes de Geneve and the brushing.
The Calibre 69355 is nicely decorated. Not breathtaking, but for the price, one can not expect thousands of hours spent on finishes. The decorations are nicely made, a combination of machined and hand finishing.
I am happy that IWC decided to go to an in-house calibre for this prominent collection. The new chronographs keep alive the heritage of the Portugieser family.
I was enchanted by the wrist feel and the lovely colour combinations available for the dials. Even if the silvered white dial with the golded accents is considered the “classic”, I was attracted by the blue accents. From the gold versions, the dark slated IW371610 is clearly a favourite. After some time spent with all the watches and some good thinking after it is hard to draw a single “winner”. All have a certain charm.
The Calibre 69355 offers a nice view on the back of the watch. I was satisfied by the movements behaviour: chrono feedback and ease of use. It is a good start of the new decade for the IWC and I am looking forward to what Watches & Wonders will bring. Since I have seen some prototypes, I am confident that you will be impressed.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Technical Specifications and Prices
- Mechanical movement
- stopwatch function with minutes and seconds
- small hacking seconds
- the see-through sapphire-glass back
- IWC manufacture calibre 69355
- Frequency: 28,800 vph / 4 Hz
- Jewels: 27
- Power reserve: 46 h
- Winding Automatic
- Ref. IW371604: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands and appliques, black alligator strap, 7.850 € (Germany), $7,950 (USA)
- Ref. IW371605: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, blue hands and appliques, blue alligator leather strap, 7.850 € (Germany), $7,950 (USA)
- Ref. IW371606: Stainless steel case, blue dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, black alligator strap, 7.850 € (Germany), $7,950 (USA)
- Ref. IW371609: Stainless steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, black alligator strap, 7.850 € (Germany), $7,950 (USA)
- Ref. IW371610: 18-carat 5N gold case, black dial, gold-plated hands, 18-carat gold appliques, black alligator strap by Santoni, 17.400 € (Germany), $17,800 (USA)
- Ref. IW371611: 18-carat 5N gold case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands, 18-carat gold appliques, brown alligator leather strap by Santoni, 17.400 € (Germany), $17,800 (USA)
- Glass: Sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
- Water-resistant: 3 bar
- Diameter: 41 mm
- Height: 13.1 mm