The Legend Among Icons – IWC Portuguese1:16 pm
Portugal, apart from its beautiful cities and landscapes, is a country of many great navigators and explorers. Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan – to name the most famous. But this is not exactly the reason why the “Portuguese” collection came to life. Introduced in 1939, the Portuguese (Or Portugieser) is today the most recognizable and bestselling watch IWC has ever produced.
The birth of this collection goes back in time, to end of the 1930s when two Portuguese businessmen – Rodrigues and Teixeira – operating in the watch industry back in Portugual visited the IWC (then International Watch Company) headquarters in Schaffausen. They demanded a wristwatch housing a movement that could match the precision of a marine chronometer. For those who don’t know, a marine chronometer is a timepiece used by sailors to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation.
The Portuguese has seen its share of highs and lows, even off the market for many years but nobody would have guessed it to eventually be the brand’s top selling collection. The Portuguese celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and in style.
The key design elements of this collection is the streamlined dial with Arabic numbers, a very thin bezel contributing to make the watch look even larger, leaf hands and a large sub dial at six, three or nine o’clock for the seconds. IWC, though has used a great number of dial variations, hands and indices for the Portuguese, the most noteworthy of them being the Perpetual Calendar.
“As designers we are always moving between the past and the future, we want to innovate. There is a very fine line you have to find, between respecting the design codes and the signature look of the collection, while still surprising our customers and introducing new elements”, says Christian Knoop, the creative director of IWC. “With the Portugieser, we had the freedom to interpret the Portugieser design code, adding new functionality and a new dial layout.” And that clearly reflects in their entire collection:
The Portuguese Yacht Club
The Yacht Club Chronograph was initially never a part of the Portuguese collection! However, since its inclusion, it has become a bestseller. The case of the watch is 45.4 mm in diameter and 14.5 mm in thickness. The metallic blue analog dial has silver tone Arabic numeral markers. Flaunting 40 jewels, the timepiece is not only elegant but is an efficient piece of watch machinery.
The Portuguese Perpetual Chronograph
Taking inspiration from the first Portuguese watches of the 1930s, the Portuguese Chronograph has a traditional and timeless clean design. A silver dial adorns the face of the watch with applied polished rose gold hour markers. It has a relatively big 40mm case. The watch is protected by sapphire crystal glass and is a classic member of the collection.
The Portuguese Perpetual Calendar
An extraordinary watch, iconic in many ways because of the bold-round black dial housed in an 18 carat red gold case. The perpetual calendar is a cult watch with its perpetual moon phase display which features mirror images of the moon in the northern as well as southern hemisphere at 12 o’clock. The watch is well engineered and has a self-winding movement with a seven day power reserve and a powerful calibre 51614.
The Portuguese Automatic
The dial design of the watch retains the classic appeal of the legendary original Portuguese of the 1930s. The round silver plated dial is housed in a stainless steel case, hour hands point towards Arabic numerals of the same shade. The fixed stainless steel bezel is smooth and the strap has been crafted with black alligator leather. It’s a slightly big watch for the wrist having a case diameter of 42.3 mm. The dial has been constructed with a convex sapphire glass.
Features Writer, The Watch Guide
Rahul is a watch and sports lover currently living in New Delhi. Having worked as a journalist and a copywriter previously, he is now thrilled to be a part of a team that loves, lives and breathes wristwatches. After joining Ethos and The Watch Guide team, his interest for the world of horology grew and is now completely and hopelessly hooked on watches.