During Watches&Wonders, IWC introduced three new watches to the Portofino collection, all under the Midsize label. Not only are the watches unique thanks to their classic sizing, at 37mm, their incorporation of diamonds further distinguish the line with just the right amount of sparkle. In total, they add 17 new references, representing a variety of colors, materials, and complications. There are a couple of watches that stand out to HODINKEE, a little more than the others, and the first of those is the Portofinio Midsize Automatic Ref. 458102.
This Portofino Midsize Automatic features a dial of ardoise, set with 12 small diamonds at each our marker. The steel case measures 38mm in diameter, and just 9mm in height, meaning this watch should have no issues finding its way under a cuff. The diamonds add enough visual interest, with a touch of glamor, without calling too much attention to themselves. They are a pleasant discovery to be made with a closer inspection of the dial.
The Ref. 458102 uses a caliber 35111, which is an automatic with a 42-hour power reserve and practical date complication. The date aperture sits at 3 o’clock on the dial, offsetting the roman numerals “XII” and “VI” to mark the hours. The black alligator leather strap provides a comfortable back drop for the polished case and sun-pattern finish on the dial. The watch comes together as a whole with classic understatement and refined sensibilities. The presence of diamonds adds a touch of modernity, challenging out definition of a masculine dress watch.
Yet another reason we appreciate the Portofino Midsize Automatic Re. 458102 is the price. It represents the entry level of the collection as a whole, and remains accessible to a wide audience for enjoyment. At $6,050, the watch is priced quite competitively, especially considering the use of diamonds. The Ref. 458102, along with the rest of the Portofino Midsize collection, is available for purchase this fall. You can view the entire collection at IWC’s website, right here.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton Get Unique Ingenieur Chronograph Limited Editions
The 2014 Formula 1 season has been dominated by two drivers, and one team. That team is Mercedes AMG Petronas, and the drivers are Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Between them, they’ve claimed victory in 11 of the 14 races run this season; 7 times the two drivers have finished 1 and 2. Going in to the Singapore race this weekend, each of the drivers are presenting their own, limited edition, Ingenieur Chronograph watches.
Both Nico and Lewis contributed to the design and materials used in their watches, which will be limited to 250 pieces each. Aesthetically, the two watches differ considerably. The Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “Lewis Hamilton” features a carbon dial, zirconium oxide screw heads, and titanium bracelet. It is a reflection of the technology at use in his F1 W05 Hybrid car as much as it is of the man himself. Lewis is a former world champion (2008) and is currently in the points lead for the 2015 championship.
The Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “Nico Rosberg” sets a formal tone. It features a titanium case and a silver plated dial with yellow and white accents. A stitched leather and calf-skin strap adds a touch of refinement to the overall look. For Nico, it was important to impart “passion and emotion” in his design. Nico Rosberg is currently in second place for the championship, just 3 points behind his teammate, Lewis.
Each of the limited edition Ingenieur Chronograph watches feature a 45mm case and the IWC manufactured caliber 89361. It’s a robust movement with a 68 hour power reserve and a track-worthy flyback chronograph complication. It’s a perfect track day companion with an easily legible dial, and useful timing functionality. You can read an in-depth review of the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer containing the same movement over at HODINKEE, right here.
A final touch is the custom caseback design found on each watch bearing the insignia of the drivers themselves. The casebacks provide the only markings of the watch’s origins, keeping the dial clean and useful throughout. Learn more about each of these special watches right here, and don’t forget to tune in this Sunday to catch both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg race head to head in Singapore.
Recalling Heritage In The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Big Date
Large date complications are in vogue with contemporary design trends, but they are far from a new feature on an IWC. The tradition of including a large, easy to read date aperture is one that dates back to 1885 for IWC Schaffhausen, and it again appears on the Portofino Hand-Wound Big Date, as introduced at the 2013 Watches&Wonders fair in Hong Kong. The inclusion of a large date aperture compliments the already impressive dial landscape, which is derived from the IWC manufactured 59230.
Equally as useful as the big date, is the incredible 8-days of power reserve that the calibre 59230 provides. The Portofino Hand-Wound Big Date will run continuously for 8-days, or 192 hours, at peak accuracy. To prevent and compromises to accuracy, the watch will stop running once the reserve is spent, ensuring you’ll never never need to stress about the current state of your wind. The hand winding element of the movement creates an intimate connection between wearer and watch, bridging the gap between practicality, and interaction.
The dial layout of the newest Portofino is clean and modern, with classical inspiration. The date aperture placed under the Roman twelve creates a symmetry with the running seconds hand at 6 o’clock on the dial. The power reserve complication is displayed discreetly, yet usefully at the 9 o’clock position. The small accents of red in the power reserve and running seconds hand display are a subtle detail to be discovered.
The IWC manufacture movement, calibre 59230, features large bridges and plates classically decorated in “Côtes de Genève”. The movement fills the entirety of the sapphire exhibition caseback, and its small recesses (along with its 30 jewels) elude to the underpinnings of an impressive spring barrel feeding a robust gear train. Of course, the balance wheel is in full view, spinning away at 28,800 bph.
Overall the IWC Hand-Wound Big Date is a beautifully engineered timepiece that balances classical good looks with technologically advanced execution. Never do the complications feel forced or in the way, they merely accentuate the already handsome Portofino Hand-Wound line with another layer of practicality. For more details about the IWC Hand-Wound Big Date, click here.
This summer, IWC launched the Deep Dive with an IWC Collector blog series that sought to uncover the stories from our vast collector community. We never imagined the gems we would uncover - from proposal stories to young boys realizing their passion for timepieces at the age of nine - the blog series has morphed into a historical log of just how our collectors embed IWC timepieces into their personal histories. In our latest segment, collector Terry Russell shares his story of becoming and IWC collector, beginning in the 1960s when he first heard the ‘tick-tock’ and dissected a timepiece, igniting a life-long hobby.
Q. What first sparked your
interest with timepieces?
was a young kid back in the ’60s, all watches were still mechanical, so once I
opened my first watch, I was immediately fascinated by the tiny little gears
and shiny little plates and delighted by discovering first-hand the mysterious
source of the tick-tock and watching the balance spring breath as if it had a
life of its own, which it certainly did, I decided right then and there.
all normal people do when they discover something of interest, I took the watch
apart so I could see how it worked. It never worked again, you can be sure of
that, nor did any of the other watches I would disassemble over the next four
or five years - mostly cheap watches that would be received at Christmas or for
a birthday along with the socks and the underwear; mostly cheap pin-set watches
I know now, but not back then. These were mostly watches that would eventually
chew themselves up anyway through shear friction, with only enough jewels and
adjustments to get them out the door, but they still deserved, I realized
later, a fate better than me.
Fast forward to 1985 and I’m on a flight home from Chicago and
discover the original ad for the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and
was mesmerized by the minimalist copy and the photo of the little century slide
encased in its own glass vial and sealed with what just had to be the wax of a
King. I was certain it must be the finest watch on earth. Years later I would
learn that it was indeed a very important and defining piece - not only for
horology, but also for the company that produced it. Little did I know then
that I would one day sit and have a beer on the streets of Geneva with its
creator, and have the honor of counting him among my many watch friends.
years after discovering that Da Vinci ad, I would buy my first fine watch to
celebrate the arrival of my son. For me, he was the opportunity to translate my
passion and fascination for the art and craft of watchmaking into a tangible
reality. I have always believed that truly special things deserve a chance to
develop their own stories, and through my son Michael, they will at least
remain as markers for some pretty special years in the life of a pretty special
Q. Which IWC timepiece is
your favorite? Why?
my most favorite IWC, it would be the Jubilee Portuguese. So
absolutely pure of design and so beautifully executed, it is for me the
defining piece of IWC, holding a special and singular place in the Swiss watch
Q. What do you think makes a timeless watch, in
terms of design and appeal?
the elements of a timeless watch are coupled closely with the elements used to
understand time itself. Like the
orbiting celestial orbs our ancestors used to discover and determine the
exactness of our universe, a watch for me should be round and it should perform
a singular function - the communication of the information we need to navigate
our lives. Perhaps for some this is time only, for others the addition of a
date, or a chronograph, or a second time zone, but in the end, for me, less really
is more. Don’t misunderstand, I love the skills involved in the complicated
arts and the beauty of the craft that often follows, but for me many of the
grand complications carry with them an attendant burden that subdues the joy of
unfettered use. Beyond the many possible design ques, a watch becomes timeless
also because it becomes a useful companion.
Q. If you could design an IWC
timepiece, which fine watchmaking elements would you include?
could design a watch for IWC, it would definitely be a new minute repeater,
using the case and dauphine hand design of the original ref 666 Ingenieur and
giving proper visibility to the hammer works and regulating mechanism that such
a complication deserves. It would be 42mm, available initially only in an
acoustical stainless steel, and it might even introduce an entirely new family
of watch for the first time in over 30-years. For certain it could not be an Ingenieur
unless it could be made truly anti-magnetic without compromising its melodious
announcement of the time.
choose a repeater because for me it is hands-down the greatest of all
complications simply because it’s the only complication that must know the
actual time and monitor it mechanically. That it can also chime that
information makes it all the more special.
To say that Toronto-based watch collector Craig Henshaw is
the very definition of an IWC man is an understatement: constantly seeking out
adventure might as well be his job description, and on almost all of these
endeavors, you can find him sporting a piece from his IWC collection. However,
it’s Craig’s Aquatimer Deep Two that holds a special place in his heart.
As an active diver and underwater
photographer, Craig has traveled to far-off destinations not known to most.
One such place is Taveuni, a remote island off the cost of Fiji, that is the
third largest island in the Fijian archipelago. Notably, Taveuni is home to
CIVA Pearl Farm (“civa”, pronounced “dheeva” means “pearl” in Fijian), a small,
family-run farm that turns out, as Craig describes, some of the most unique and
unblemished pearls in the world. This is a result of the black-lipped oysters,
native to the area and known for creating the most colorful and unique pearls
Craig explains: “Fijian pearls are truly unlike any others
as they express a plethora of colors; apple green, cranberry, champagne, blush
pinks and sapphire blues. The white spheres that are so revered elsewhere pale
into insignificance amongst this universe of hues.”
For all their beauty, finding these pearls is no small feat.
Simply getting to Taveuni is an expedition. So, imagine a diver’s anxiety when
at the final stages of suiting up, after traveling to this remote location, he
learns that his dive computer is on the fritz.
“My heart sunk. It’s the last sound any diver wants to hear.
My computer was dead. Totally dead,” said Craig. “I had dragged 20lbs of camera
and lighting equipment, all in top-grade underwater housing, half way around
the world with my girlfriend, just for this dive.”
Luckily for Craig, during a trip to Hong Kong, he noticed
the IWC Aquatimer Deep Two while shopping. With the built-in mechanical depth
gauge and rotating bezel, he was able to calculate both the dive time and
depth. Along with an old-school pressure gauge (the dive master’s regulator
hoses that had grown swollen and large at the base almost exploded pre-dive as
well) and the skills he picked up throughout his 28 years of diving, Craig was
able to get in the water.
“My Aquatimer purchase is a side effect of my own insatiable
need to buy dive gear,” said Craig. “And I’m glad I had it – this dive was
too important to miss.”
Along with capturing the beauty of the pearl farm and the
pearls themselves, Craig had another mission on this trip: discovering the
perfect pearl. And he was in luck: during the dive, his guide discovered a
spectacular dark green pearl, very rarely found in nature.
“It was truly the perfect pearl, and it’s exactly what I was
At the conclusion of the dive, the boat began the long trip
back to shore, but with one stop, unbeknownst to Craig’s girlfriend who was
part of the diving expedition. The location? A small spot nicknamed “Honeymoon
Island” by the locals.
Pulling out the magnificent green pearl discovered on the
dive, Craig went down on one knee to propose.
“I said, ‘Any man can give his girl a diamond ring. I got
this pearl from the bottom of the ocean just so I can ask you this: will you be
my wife?’” shared Craig.
The Aquatimer is meant to be equal parts stylish wrist companion and serious instrument. Sure, most of us will never put our watches to the test, but it’s always confidence inspiring to know that they can handle the worst. The Aquatimer Deep Three takes this ethos to another level, providing a real mechanical depth gauge inside a stylish Aquatimer package.
As the name implies, this is the third depth gauge watch from IWC and takes the technology to another level. This all starts with the titanium case. There is no question that at 46mm in diameter and 16.5mm thick this is a massive watch, but the titanium keeps it from feeling like a dive weight on the wrist. The rubber strap also helps here and is a great fit.
In addition to the SafeDive bezel, a feature found on all new Aquatimers, the Deep Three has a dual-function depth gauge as well. The blue indictor shows current depth, while the red indicator tracks the maximum depth on a given dive, up to 50 meters. You can easily reset the max dive indicator with the pusher at 2 o’clock. That protrusion at 4 o’clock is the valve that allows the depth gauge to function.
It was ten years between the Deep One and Deep Two releases (1999 and 2009, respectively) and luckily we didn’t have to wait quite as long for the Deep Three. It’s a complication that not many will use but that really shows IWC’s commitment to creating interesting, purpose-built tool watches.
Answer Eight Questions, Win A Trip To The IWC Manufacture In Schaffhausen
From time to time, we like to host a little contest, and who better to team up with than IWC. We are offering one lucky reader an all-expenses paid trip to Schaffhausen, Switzerland to get an inside look at the IWC manufacture. How cool it that?
Of course, a member of the HODINKEE team with join you on your horological adventure. To add a little challenge to the mix, we’ve created an eight-question quiz about all things IWC. If you get all eight questions correct, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for the grand prize.
Want an edge? All you have to do is follow HODINKEE and IWC across social media, where we’ll be giving out clues for the eight IWC trivia questions over the coming week.
Taking To The Skies With The Pilot's Watch Chronograph Edition "JU-AIR"
It’s no secret that IWC has been active in the field of aviation for nearly a century. The earliest Fleiger watches from IWC date to 1936 and they can sell for big money on the vintage market. But it’s not just a vague historical connection here. IWC continues to work in the field, as today’s special edition watch shows. Here we have the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “JU-AIR” to celebrate two decades of preservation.
The Junkers JU-52 is a legendary plane and there are only eight still flying today. One of those has had the IWC logo emblazoned on it since 1994 to show IWC’s support for JU-AIR, the private airline that keeps these aircraft in service. To launch the partnership, three of the JU-52s flew to Venegono, Italy for a ceremony, and in 2000 the IWC plane began a circumnavigational tour to show off the new pilot’s watch line-up.
The watch here commemorates all this in a modified “Spitfire” chronograph – the Spitfire pilot’s watches have bright silver dials instead of the usual black. The JU-AIR is almost entirely monochromatic, save the red seconds hand and arrow for the date display, giving is a really dramatic look. It’s bright and easy to read on the wrist, despite the lack of contrast.
The 43mm stainless steel case has a JU-52 engraved on the back and inside you’ll find the caliber 89365 movement. This movement is a flyback chronograph with 68 hours of power reserve. It’s automatic and has hacking seconds as well.
The Edition JU-AIR is limited to only 500 pieces worldwide.
The Portofino is known for its simplicity. The family of watches is all about pure lines, legibility, and letting what’s not there speak louder than what is. These are all great traits, but it doesn’t mean you can’t add some complexity to the mix once in a while. The Portofino Chronograph does just that, adding functionality and a little extra style to the otherwise reserved archetype.
The time-only Portofino is about as simple as a watch can get. The Portofino Chronograph carries the same thin baton markers (with lanky Roman numerals at 12 and 6), a cleanly printed minutes/seconds track at the very edge of the dial, and a slim bezel that gives priority to the dial itself.
What’s new is the chronograph complication. At 12 o’clock you have a 30 minute totalizer with the 12 hour totalizer down at 6 o’clock. A running seconds register at 9 and day and date windows at 3 balance things out. All are cleanly executed.
Looking closely at the dial, you can really see the level of detail IWC has worked into what looks simple at first glance. There are a variety of grained textures as well as the printing and the sunburst finish, giving the dial a great depth. Both dial colors are nice and look good with the red gold case, but the ardoise is especially handsome here.
As usual there is the Portofino engraving on the caseback, along with the IWC and Portofino signatures. It’s a simple, straightforward way to finish of a watch that balances cleanliness and complexity.
Laureus Sport For Good Helps Out In Russia With A Portuguese Chronograph Classic
IWC has had a long standing partnership with the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, hosting events and creating limited edition timepieces that celebrate the foundation’s work and give a little back. Well, today we’ve got news on both fronts for you, with a new Portuguese Chronograph Classic launched after a day of sport in Russia.
The latest Laureus event with IWC was hosted last week in Moscow at a boarding school for intellectually disabled students. The students had the opportunity to play table tennis and basketball with top Russian athletes including gymnast Alexei Nemov and synchronized swimmer Angelika Timanina. After, the new Portuguese Chronograph Classic was revealed, with a case back featuring a drawing from 16-year-old student Masha Nikulina.
The Portuguese Chronograph Classic “Laureus Sport For Good Foundation” is a limited edition of 1,000 stainless steel watches. Mechanically, they are identical to the previous versions of the Portuguese Chronograph Classic, featuring the caliber 89361, an in-house chronograph movement that uses the nested chronograph totalizers at 12 o’clock. It’s a serious chrono with classic Portuguese styling.
The biggest update here is the rich blue dial that the Laureus watches are known for. It looks particularly striking here, with the silver applied numerals and white printing standing out nicely and the red tip of the chronograph seconds hand adding a little extra contrast.
Finally there is the caseback engraving, a nice reminder that this is a watch doing some good beyond your wrist.