The Portugieser Chronograph "150 Years"

IWC’s Gorgeous New Chronograph Is a Sleeper Hit at SIHH 2018


January 16, 2018 Watches By
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This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.

Upshot: Watch companies love a good anniversary, and IWC is celebrating a big one this year: 150 years since the brand was founded by American entrepreneur F.A Jones in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. As such, IWC’s big reveal was the Jubilee collection, a bevy of limited edition watches from the entire IWC lineup with details based on historical IWC timepieces, notably lacquered dials done up in blue and white color schemes. The showstopper is the Pallweber, a jumping hours and jumping minutes watch based on a pocket watch from 1884, but our favorite addition to the Jubilee collection is the Portugieser Chronograph “150 Years”.

Who It’s For: Somebody looking for a chronograph watch that’s dressier than a Speedmaster, Autavia or any of the other mechanical chronographs out there in this price bracket. It’s also well-rounded enough to work as both a casual piece and a dress watch if you’re the “one-nice-watch” type.

First Impressions: This iteration of the Portugieser Chronograph has the same balanced design as the original but is bestowed with either a blue or white lacquered dial. The result is a shimmering enamel-like finish that needs to be experienced in person to appreciate fully. The dial design is bolstered by the choice to use printed numerals in place of the standard applied ones. It seems like a small change but it cleans up the entire look of the watch and it plays well with the neo-vintage aesthetic of the piece. The biggest departure with the watch, however, is the addition of IWC’s new 69000-series caliber underneath, an in-house column wheel chronograph replacing the simpler Valjoux 7750-based movement previously used in the Portugieser Chrono. This is the first time the movement has made its way into the Portugieser family.

Insight: At $7,150 and with 4,000 pieces made (2,000 in white, 2,000 in blue), it’s one of the most accessible pieces in the Jubilee Collection. If you want something different, however, there are a few options: The new Pilot’s Chronograph ($5,150) is a cheaper chronograph alternative, while the hand-winding Portugieser ($9,900+) is a more traditional take on the model and features a whopping eight-day power reserve; there’s also a new Big Date, which is much more expensive at $13,800, it’s perfect for those who love IWC’s classic pilot’s watches. If you’re into horological novelties and have the money to spend, however, the new Pallweber ($23,100+) is a must-have.

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