Sometimes, it is the simple watches that can get a lot of people excited. Amidst the many new releases in IWC’s year of the ‘Port’ is the new Portugieser Automatic 40 – the revisiting of a much loved classic with (the best bit) – no date. For many, this is the re-emergence for which they have been waiting.
The ‘origin watch’ is the Reference 325, a watch created in 1939 by IWC at the request of two Portuguese wholesalers (hence the name). The brief was that it should be a large watch with the precision of a marine chronometer. Based on a hunter pocket watch movement (the Calibre 74), the result was what was a huge wristwatch for the time – 41.5m, with Arabic numerals and a small seconds.
As IWC note, it wasn’t considered to be a sales priority, with barely 250 sales of Reference 325 documented in IWC’s records until the early 1970s, when in 1973 Swiss retailer Golay requested a large wristwatch and IWC responded with a third generation Portuguese using the Calibre 982, a descendant of the Calibre 98 found in early Reference 325s. There were three variants of the Reference 325. They shared the same case but different movements – the Calibre 74, Calibre 98, and Calibre 982. By the late 1970s, the total number of Ref 325s sold was 690.
Although there was not a ‘single look’, the Reference 325 nonetheless somehow managed to established a classic design base that has been the foundation for this collection family, the recognisable simple design cues being seen particularly in the Ref. 5441 Portugieser Anniversary Edition, the very popular Ref. 5442 F.A. Jones limited edition and the Ref. 5102 Portugieser Hand-Wound 8 Days.
Now, the classic Portugieser with a small seconds at 6 o’clock returns in a new automatic model in a nicely sized 40mm (thickness of 12.4m) with a water resistance of 3 bar. The new Ref. IWC3583 variants are powered by the Calibre 82200 with its Pellaton winding system featuring ceramic components, beating at 28,800 VPH, and with a power reserve of 60 hours.
There are four new models in either stainless steel or 18 kt 5N gold as follows :
Ref. IW358303: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands and appliqués, black alligator leather strap on a newly developed butterfly clasp that is used for all the stainless steel models.
Ref. IW358304: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, blue hands and appliqués, blue alligator leather strap.
Ref. IW358305: Stainless steel case, blue dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliqués, black alligator leather strap.
Ref. IW358306: 18-carat 5N rose gold case, silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands, 18-carat gold appliqués, brown alligator leather strap by Santoni.
The RRP of the Portugieser Automatic 40 is CHF 7,000 and for the rose gold, CHF 17,200.
Simultaneously, IWC is launching new versions of the classic Portugieser Automatic with diameters of 42mm, but I will cover those in another post.
If you are in any doubt about how important the Reference 325 is to IWC, you need only go to the page on their website devoted to it at this link.
[Photo credit: IWC]