IWC’s extensive 150th anniversary collection, which we saw at SIHH this past January, includes several of my favorite watches of the year. Among these are the company’s simpler designs, including the Da Vinci Automatic Edition 150 Years and the Portofino Automatic Edition 150 Years. Within the latter collection however IWC’s Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition 150 Years also struck me as perhaps the most readable gathering of useful indicators (date, power reserve, moonphase and small seconds) assembled on a watch dial.
IWC’s Portofino collection, born in 1984 as an evolution of a pocket watch design, is notable for its adherence to classicism, which may be why its many iterations over the years have held up amid changing consumer tastes. The company has always assured collectors that Portofino models are all designed to reflect “pure and classic design: round watches with straight lugs, simple dials that had classic indices and hands.”
This week IWC extends that focus, but with new hues and material combinations. The Schaffhausen watchmaker adds to its Portofino collection with two new variants of the 45mm Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days. One combines a grey suede strap, a first for the brand, with slate-colored dial. With the second, IWC combines a steel Milanaise mesh bracelet with a blue dial for the first time.
Each of these new watches is powered by IWC’s impressive 59210 manufacture caliber (nicely decorated and visible through the caseback) with a full eight-day power reserve. Here IWC thoughtfully ensures the wearer that the time displayed is truly accurate, even as the barrels begin to completely unwind. After the full 192 hours of operation, the movement will automatically stop completely (it’s actually made to last a full nine days) so that the time displayed never runs ahead, as other watches may do as they near the end of their power cycle. This feature guarantees a constant driving torque for the full eight days. The dial’s distinctive, separate power reserve indicator reminds the wearer of this thoughtful feature. The indicator, with its touch of red, also makes it far less likely that any owner of the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days will allow his or her watch to stop.
Prices: $9,700 (on the grey suede strap) and $10,700 (on a Milanaise mesh bracelet)