IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Boutique Edition

A Portuguese Take On The Portugieser: My Four Favorite IWC Releases

With IWC recently announcing an abundance of beautiful new Portugiesers during Watches and Wonders 2020, we here at Watchonista thought, who better to give their perspective on the new Portugiesers than our own Portuguesa? 

By Viviana Shanks

As many of you know, Portugal is bordered on the West by the Atlantic Ocean, making it a desirable destination for seafarers. Portuguese adventurers, like Vasco da Gama, were able to discover new maritime routes or even unknown lands. Being born in Northern Portugal, 20 minutes from the picturesque coastline of Povoa de Varzim, I've always been fascinated with the sea.

Navigation is, and always will be, in the Portuguese people’s blood, so when two Portuguese businessmen visited the IWC manufacture in Schaffhausen, they asked if it was possible to make a wristwatch as precise as a marine chronometer. Thus, the Portugieser was born with the stylish features of a pocket watch, paired with the high precision you would expect from a nautical instrument. The long, lean lines of the IWC Portugieser are instantly recognizable, and their large and extremely readable dial became an icon for the brand.

One of the Portugieser’s major innovations this year is that IWC equipped its entirely new collection with in-house movements inspired by the 52000 and 82000 caliber families and usually seen in the brand’s Pilot’s Watch or Da Vinci collections. Last but not least, the brand introduced a great selection of colored dials. All aboard!

Ahoy, Welcome aboard! 

Climbing aboard the novelty boat is the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40, marking the return of the small seconds at 6 o’clock. To commemorate the return, the brand reduced the size of its case, also making it more contemporary. It’s a welcome move. The timepiece is now more easily worn by and accessible to ladies. 

What strikes me the most about the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 is the blue sunburst dial. It catches the light with elegance and reminds me of the view of the Atlantic Ocean from Portuguese shores. For those with more classical tastes, the watch is available in stainless steel with a silver dial and blued numerals or in gold. 

Perpetually at Sea 

This year sees the introduction of the newest perpetual calendar of the Portugieser family: the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42.

Outfitted with a brand new, in-house movement, the case is also smaller, coming in at 42mm instead of 44.2mm. Another difference from the last version is that the perpetual calendar is now displayed in three subdials instead of four, making the timepiece even more readable and contemporary. 

The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 comes in three different versions: a stainless steel case with a silver-plated dial, a rose gold case also with a silver-plated dial, and the Boutique Edition with a rose gold case and striking blue dial. With this selection, IWC is sure to attract younger and more on-the-go collectors.

Perpetual Precision

The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon is the grand novelty in the 2020 collection. This 45mm timepiece marks the first time a Portugieser has both a tourbillon and a perpetual calendar on a single dial. In fact, the moon phase is so accurate that you will only need to adjust it once every 577.5 years.  As with every other piece of the collection, the watch is extremely pleasing to look at and readable.

Not to be outdone by the perpetual calendar, the tourbillon is not only a spectacle to look at but also cancels the effects of gravity on the mechanism, making timekeeping and the perpetual calendar extremely precise. The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon will be available in two versions, a white silver-plated dial housed in a 45mm platinum case and a rose gold Boutique Edition with a nautically-inspired blue dial. Like most of IWC’s haute horlogerie timepieces, both versions are limited to 50 pieces each. 

Timing the Journey 

Last but not least, there is the watch that took my breath away during IWC’s Watches & Wonders presentation: the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph.

This watch is everything you could want (and more) from a high complication Portugieser. The dial of this timepiece is well proportioned and readable. One glimpse at your wrist and the flying minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock will make you forget that you were checking the time. The IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph also combines a retrograde date (positioned at 9 o’clock) with a flyback chronograph.

This 43.5mm stunner will also be available in two versions, limited to 50 pieces each. The first has a platinum case and a silver-plated dial with luminescence. The second is the Boutique Edition with rose gold case and blue dial.

One final note: All the Boutique Editions come with 18 ct. Armor Gold cases paired with the entrancing marine blue dial, and they will only be available at IWC boutiques around the world.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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