IWC is celebrating a major milestone this year and has been previewing pieces from the epic “150 Years” collection that are now presented in full at SIHH 2018. So far, we’ve seen some exceptionally complicated pieces, like the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years and the Portugieser Constant Force Tourbillon Edition 150 years, which highlight the company’s technical prowess. Today, however, we’re looking at something a little more modest, the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” (Ref. 5102).
As you may know already, I have something of a soft spot when it comes to the IWC Portugeiser, particularly hand-wound versions. I myself often wear a hand-wound Ref. 5454 in my regular rotation. There’s just something about that clean dial layout and the large(ish) but relatively thin case that really works in my opinion. Thankfully, IWC has not tried to do anything too clever with this special “150 Years” edition of its iconic hand-wound Portugieser, but has instead chosen to really focus on the appeal of its minimalist design.
Two versions are presented, one in an 18-carat red gold case and the other in stainless steel, both measuring 43mm x 12.2mm and both with contrasting polished and brushed surfaces. The former will be made in a limited edition of 250 pieces, while the latter will be produced in a limited run of 1,000 pieces.
Both models feature that distinctive white dial with lacquered finish that we have seen on other pieces that form part of this 150 Years collection, and are complemented by black printed Arabic numerals and a railway chapter ring for the minutes. Small seconds are shown on a slightly recessed subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock, whilst an aperture at 3 o’clock displays the date. Both the hour and minute hands, as well as the small seconds hand, are in blued steel and really contrast nicely against the white of the dial.
As we’ve discussed previously, these white lacquer, enamel-like dials are really quite special. Made using multiple layers of translucent lacquer, the dials are then flat-polished and brushed, before being imprinted several times to obtain a 3D effect on the indexes and tracks. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking it is made from enamel, although admittedly, nothing compares to the real thing.
Powering these limited-edition watches are the IWC-manufactured hand-wound 59215 calibre, which as the name suggests, offers an 8-day power reserve. In order to keep the dial as clean as possible, the power reserve display is on the back of the movement and is visible thanks to the sapphire caseback. Equipped with 30 jewels, a Breguet spring and oscillating at 28,800 v/ph, this movement is a simple yet elegant reminder of why we love IWC. As a final touch, there is a jubilee medallion in 18-carat gold on the back of the movement.
Both models are presented on a black alligator leather strap by Santoni and paired with a pin buckle matching the metal of the case. Pricing is set at EUR 18,900 for the gold version and EUR 9,900 for the steel version.
Given that there is not currently a simple hand-wound Portugeiser in the current IWC line-up (surprisingly, as there used to be some), I suspect that these limited editions will be quite popular with IWC collectors who value the minimalist aesthetic and pocket-watch style movement. iwc.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.