IWC has added several new models to the Portugieser family in recent years. One of them is the iconic chronograph. In this latest visit to the WatchTime archives, we tested this watch, our good old friend, which boasts a trendy green dial and is equipped with a manufacture caliber.
The Portugieser is one of IWC’s oldest and most prestigious product lines, with a dial that has hardly changed over 80 years. “That’s why we approached the project of designing the new collection very carefully and with tremendous respect for history,” Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC, and Creative Director Christian Knoop explained.
The Portugieser’s Handsome Dial Remains Nearly Unchanged
The impressive result puts every doubt to rest. Glancing at the attractive face of the IWC Portugieser Chronograph, you instantly recognize a cherished old acquaintance, although the dial of our test watch is now a trendy green, and plays with the light. Another version comes with a burgundy dial. There’s also a boutique edition with an elegant blue dial and a rose-gold case.
The very distinctive, clear and functional dial is 38 mm in diameter and has recessed counters at 6 and 12, slim feuille hands and applied Arabic numerals. These features have so strongly influenced the Portugieser chronograph that even in the new version, no designer dared to replace the partly cut-away numerals 6 and 12 with arguably “simpler” index strokes. Comparing this latest update to the last fine tuning about 10 years ago, we find that the calibrations on the counters with inward-facing numerals, the lettering, and the slender quarter-second scale on the flange have all remained unchanged. As a whole, the latest version of this timeless watch retains its own character and remains loyal to its origins as a time-measuring instrument — not least because of the finely calibrated elapsed-seconds scale. With three intervening strokes between each pair of full-second lines, its markings correctly match the 4-Hz rhythm of a modified version of a movement from IWC’s recent 69000 caliber family.
The green dial of the new IWC Portugieser chronograph Green plays with the light. The new model retains it iconic appearance — the numerals, hands and even the contours of the case have all remained nearly unchanged.
Designated as number 69355, this caliber is the essential new feature in the latest IWC Portugieser chronograph. As one of the most popular items in IWC’s portfolio, now it’s finally equipped with a manufacture caliber. This was not yet the situation a decade ago, when the still-young Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph was given a manufacture movement from the 89000 caliber series, which was introduced in 2007. The 69000 caliber family, which made its debut 10 years later, underwent four years of further development and was encased for the first time in the Ingenieur Chronograph in 2017.
With the newly designed 69000 caliber series, IWC is gradually replacing chronograph movements based on the ETA/Valjoux 7750 and at the same time offering a less costly alternative to the 89000 series of manufacture calibers. Our test watch comes with a $7,950 price tag. The least costly variant of the new Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph with Caliber 89361 sells for $12,100. Paying the additional charge also gets you a flyback function and a longer power reserve of 68 hours. The power reserve of Caliber 69355, on the other hand, is rather short by contemporary standards, at 46 hours, and this caliber relies on an index to adjust its hairspring’s active length — a simpler method of finely adjusting the rate than the eccentric screws on the rim of Caliber 89361’s balance in the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph.
Otherwise, chronograph Caliber 69355 similarly offers a sturdy and precise column wheel to control the stopwatch functions, a rocking pinion to couple the chronograph with the flow of force from the gear train and a modern bidirectional effective self-winding mechanism. This automatic winding, however, is not the Pellaton mechanism (named after the former IWC engineer) that’s installed in the calibers of the 89000 series, but a modern development from the Richemont Group. Under a sapphire crystal, the movement appears to its best advantage. Four screws affix the back to the case of this elegant chronograph, which is water resistant to 30 meters.