Here we are… The SIHH 2018 will open in a few hours, but we already have a few novelties to share. And for the first of the day, we have something that is certain to make some noise around the collecting community. Indeed, what you see here is a new, slightly redesigned (just a bit), mechanically upgraded (a lot) version of IWC’s most iconic modern watch, the Portugieser Chronograph. Please meet the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition 150 Years Ref. 3716, with new dial, new movement and sadly, in limited edition.
A few weeks ago, we introduced to you some of the Pre-SIHH 2018 novelties by IWC, including the Tribute to Pallweber and the Portugieser Constant Force. These watches, and all the watches you’ll see from IWC in the coming days, are part of a Jubilee collection that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the brand. The common point of all these watches (there’s close to 30 of them) is to be seen on the dials, which show a great lacquer, enamel-like finish. So, don’t be surprised to see it on the watch we’ll look at now. And what a watch… Let’s dive in.
One of the most iconic watches of IWC, it has remained in the collection since its introduction: the 1990s Portugieser Chronograph Automatic (the reference 3714), with its 41mm diameter case, its super-clean dial, its immediately recognizable design and a 7750-based movement keeping things relatively affordable. This watch is known by most watch enthusiasts and today, it changes – a lot on some points, just a few on others. But the truth is, this is what we wanted.
Where it doesn’t change much is in terms of design. The reasons why collectors loved this watch are still present. The case is the same, with the thin bezel and large dial opening, the same polished and brushed surfaces, the same layout for the dial, the same fonts, the same overall dimensions and the same hands… In fact, it is the very same watch, with the exception of the dial.
Indeed, as part of the jubilee collection, this new IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition 150 Years Ref. 3716 relies on the same lacquered dials as the rest of the collection. Two classical and elegant colours will be available: blue, paired with white printed numerals and rhodium plated hands (ref. IW371601) or white, paired with black printed numerals and blued hands (ref. IW371602). Both are limited to 2,000 pieces – and we expect them to be sold-out quite fast.
The lacquered dials are the result of a complex production process, as multiple layers, applied separately and polished, are necessary to obtain this superb milky and rich glossy effect. As a result, these dials look almost like enamel. The blue version is especially appealing in the metal, with a rich and shiny surface. One small difference compared to the classical 3714 are the numerals, not embossed but painted. As you can see, the traditional display, with a 30-minute counter at 12, a small second at 6 and no date, is still present. Yet, the movement is different.
Previously, the IWC Portugieser Chronograph used the calibre 79350, an automatic chronograph based on the 7750 architecture and hidden behind a plain caseback. For the Portugieser Chronograph Edition 150 Years Ref. 3716, IWC introduced a new movement, calibre 69355, this time visible through the caseback. This movement is based on the same integrated/column-wheel architecture used on the 2016 Ingenieur. The new chronograph movement has been designed and developed from the ground-up together with ValFleurier (Richemont Group production facilities), as the new entry-level chronograph of the brand. More details about the movement in this in-depth article.
It is a more noble architecture, with a column-wheel and integrated self-winding mechanism. It is built to be a relatively simple but robust movement. It ticks at 4Hz and boasts 46h of power reserve. The decoration, even if entirely industrial, is relatively pleasant. This movement also allows for the maintaining of an accessible price point.
To conclude, we have a quite drastic evolution of an iconic watch with this IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition 150 Years Ref. 3716, but mainly on the mechanical side. All in all, this is a good move, considering that many enthusiasts love the classic and restrained design of the Portugieser Chrono (and so do we). This ref. 3716 will be priced at EUR 8,100 vs. EUR 7,600 for the standard ref. 3714 – the EUR 500 increase of price feels totally justified by the addition of new lacquered dials and a new movement. More on www.iwc.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.