IWC Schaffhausen and Orlebar Brown have announced back in July their collaboration piece, the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown”. Due to the travelling and general restriction imposed by the infamous COVID19, I have seen the watch in the metal just at the end of August. Even if the summer is over, the “Orlebar Brown” Portugieser Yacht Club deserves to be presented – a lovely addition in the Portugieser Collection and a nice collaboration.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown”
I loved this watch from its digital launch. So I was very happy to finally get to see it at IWC Geneva Boutique during the Geneva Watch Days. The watch looks much better in the metal than the pictures reveal so if you are interested, I recommend to see it live.
Portugieser at heart, Portugieser in the look
The Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” is one of those more special Portugieser – while keeping the known general aspects, some details are personalised by the Orlebar Brown collaboration.
The watch comes in a large 44.6 mm stainless steel case. Its dimensions are not obvious, the Edition “Orlebar Brown” wearing, as all the Portugieser large pieces, smaller than expected.
The case is designed to fit comfortable a large variety of wrist sizes. The caseband integrates the inward bent lugs. Even the brushing is extended on the lugs’ sides for a homogenous look. The rest of the surfaces are mirror polished. The strap integration is realised without any empty spaces.
The IWC Probus Scafusia decorated crown is surrounded by a raised polished crown protection. The protection bump also integrates the chrono pushers. The pushers have a wide but relatively thin topper. The entire appearance is nicely designed. The case details are quite handsome.
One of the eye-catching details of the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” is the strap. The blue rubber strap with textile inlay looks charming and offer very comfortable wear. It contributes to the smaller wear of the elegantly-proportioned case.
The buckle bears the sign of the IWC and Orlebar Brown collaboration deeply engraved in the metal. This buckle offers a secure sit on the wrist and it is a nice combination for the watch and strap.
A dial inspired by sea and sailing
The IWC Yacht Club “Orlebar Brown” has a gorgeous dial combining bleu-marine, white and red. With a vertical layout, the watch has a handsome face. The 12 o’clock areal presents the 60 minutes and 12 hours chronograph totaliser. The stepped down sub-dial presents two registers: the minutes counter on a circular pattern with white and red printing; the hours’ counter is central with printing on a flat surface. The elements are well delimited and offer good legibility. The chronograph’s seconds indication is realised with a central red hand that runs against the white inner bezel with blue printing.
The time display uses central hours and minutes elongated leaf hands with skeletonised centre and SuperLuminova fill. The hours’ indexes have double representation: applied metal Arabic numeral with the Portugieser known font and short baton indexes with SuperLuminova fill – another rather familiar detail. The minutes use a white printed railtrack that can also serve as an indication for the central chrono hands for an ease in legibility.
The lower side of the dial, at 6 o’clock, presents the running seconds. The subdial is subtly recessed and it is decorated with a circular pattern in the same granulation as the one met at the chrono’s minutes’ counter. The indexes and numerals are printed in blue. The date is printed in black on a white background and can be easily observed via a windowed aperture, as part of the small seconds’ dial.
As additional decoration, the dial of the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” bears the name of the brand at 3 o’clock and the “Yacht Club” name at 9 o’clock. The Swiss-made marking is displayed at 6 o’clock as a break in the minute’s railtrack.
Calibre 89361 – a classic IWC movement
The Orlebar Brown Yacht Club is powered by the impressive Calibre 89361. This automatic movement powered by a 4Hz balance wheel offers an impressive set of features like the flyback chrono, hacking seconds, quick set date and a long power reserve of 68 hours due to its double barrel design and bi-directional winding.
Calibre 89361 is used in several IWC families for chronographs: Ingenieur, Da Vinci, Aquatimer, Pilot and, of course, Portugieser. The movement uses a double-clutch design with a vertical clutch for coupling and a column wheel for actuation. The combination of the two decreases the wear of the gear train with an increase of reliability over time. The system also helps the overall chronometry by decreasing the loss of amplitude by the chrono’s activation. Looking at the winding mechanism, I was wondering if this is the four pawl system patented by Jean-Francois Mojon and Norberto Perucchi fifteen years ago?
The movement does not particularly excel on the finishes side. Mostly industrial but fine and well-executed, the adornment of the Calibre 89361 deserves a look through the exhibition case back.
It has the looks, it has the brains
The IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” is a beautiful watch with a pleasant layout and nice colour scheme. The look can be overshadowed only by the technically impressive in-house movement, the Calibre 89361. The back offers a compelling view too.
Definitively, it has a sporty appearance. Regardless if worn as a daily driver, at the beach or by sailing, the watch offers comfortable wear even for smaller wrists. I have an 18cm/7inch wrist and I usually tend to stop at a diametre of 41-42mm. But I didn’t realise how big the watch actually is. So a strong point for a small wrist to give it a chance.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” Technical Specifications and Price
- Chronograph function with hours, minutes and seconds
- Hour and minute counters combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock
- Flyback function
- Date display
- Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
- Small hacking seconds
- 89361 Calibre
- IWC-manufactured movement
- Automatic, self-winding
- 68 hours Power Reserve
- Frequency 28800.0 vph (4.0 Hz)
- 299 Components
- 38 Jewels
- Côtes de Genève, perlage
- Stainless steel case
- Diameter 44.6 mm
- Height 14.3 mm
- Screw-in crown
- See-through sapphire glass back
- Water-resistance 6 bar