All of the New Portugiesers from IWC

One of the prevailing narratives to come out of Watches & Wonders 2024 was that it was, across the board, a pretty quiet year. That may have been true for some, but others, like IWC, came to play. A good portion of the attention IWC got this year was (justifiably) directed at the new Portugieser Eternal Calendar that Zach Kazan introduced a few weeks ago, but that watch was far from the only Portugieser IWC brought to Geneva this year.

The Portugieser is not the first watch that springs to mind for most of us when contemplating IWC — far more likely would be some sort of Pilot’s Watch or, more recently, the Ingenieur — but it has been, at times subtly, possibly the most important collection in the IWC catalog. I know so many collectors for whom the Portugieser was their first nice watch, and it is a model I continue to see in the wild, especially in cities like New York or London where people still routinely wear suits to work.

IWC, like Rolex, is a brand that prefers evolution over revolution when it comes to its designs — one only has to look at the slow transformation of the Pilot’s Watch for evidence of that. The last few years have seen the brand slowly tinkering with the Portugieser line, bringing it up to date and refining what was already a great watch to make it better. This year, they continued that process and introduced a slew of new models and colorways, all of which come together to make up possibly the best lineup of Portugiesers ever assembled.

Color Comes to the Portugieser

IWC has had a lot of success in recent years playing with color. Their colored, ceramic-cased Pilot’s Watches have been a massive hit, so it’s no wonder that IWC would want to bring some of that magic to other lines as well. In that spirit, they have introduced four new colorways to the Portugieser, three of which are paired with a specific case metal.

These four colorways are Horizon Blue, Dune, Obsidian, and Silver Moon, and each of them has been implemented across the Portugieser collection, including on the Chronograph and Automatic 40, which saw no technical updates this year. While Horizon Blue and Obsidian are each available in a single material pairing (18k White Gold and 18k Rose Gold respectively), Dune and Silver Moon are each available with either an appropriately colored 18k gold or a stainless steel case, depending on the model.

Horizon Blue is a particular standout here, but if I had to make a bet on what the top seller from this year’s IWC novelties will be, I’d be hard-pressed to put my money behind anything but Dune. Part of that math boils down to it being easier to sell a steel-cased watch than an equivalent in precious metal, but I also think the colorway itself will do a lot of the sales work on its own behalf. 

The color, which has nothing to do with the movie, is a sandy shade that falls somewhere between salmon and silver and feels decidedly different than other options out there for a “neutral” dial color. Overall, each colorway is a success in its own right, and these are watches I will not be surprised to spot out and about.

Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 44

Of course, a new catalog of Portugiesers wouldn’t be complete without a new perpetual calendar. IWC has been closely associated with the perpetual calendar in the 21st century, and while the Eternal Calendar is undoubtedly the technical hit of the show, it’s not going to be a model that even the most tapped-in watch enthusiast runs into all that often. So to balance it out, IWC has also released a new generation of their “every-day” perpetual calendar.

It’s a subtle refinement, using slightly reworked proportions and an updated dial design to bring the watch in line with the current catalog. The watch now measures 44.4mm across and 14.9mm thick and uses the IWC calibre 52616, a movement seen in perpetual calendars across IWC’s catalog.

Overall, the watch is a massive success and the Horizon Blue version may be my favorite of this year’s crop from IWC. The watch is available in four configurations, one each in the four new colorways IWC introduced this year, and prices start at $44,500.


Portugieser Automatic 42

The other model to get a reworking to bring it in line with the rest of the Portugieser family is the Automatic 42. The Automatic 42, with its weeklong power reserve and bi-register layout, has been a big hit among IWC fans looking for a Portugieser with a little more going on than the standard automatic time-only variant.

The new watch sports a case measuring 42.4mm in diameter and 12.9mm thick, and carries with it all the hallmarks of the current lineup of Portugieser watches, including an expansive display caseback and the refined dial layout of its siblings. The Automatic 42 is available in six new configurations, including all four of IWC’s new colorways, and a wonderful example with a deep blue sunray dial on a stainless steel bracelet. Prices for the Automatic 42 start at $13,500.

Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night

Last, but certainly not least, we have the all-new Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night. This isn’t the first time we’ve been offered a hand-wound tourbillon in an IWC Portugieser case, but the addition of a spherical day and night indicator is certainly a first for the brand. 

The watch uses a rotating metal orb — half a polished rose gold and half a glossy black — to indicate day and night. The orb is visible on both the dial and through the display caseback, where it is surrounded by the hand-wound IWC calibre 81925. The movement itself is nicely finished, with a circular Côtes de Genève pattern emanating out from the back side of the day and night indicator.

The execution of the complication itself is reminiscent of the spherical moon phase complication used by De Bethune in a number of its watches (they have also used a bi-colored sphere as a day and night indicator on the DB25 GMT, though in that case the sphere is not fixed but rather rotates around the dial). Seeing it here is a strong reminder of IWC’s technical bona fides, and that the idea and design of the watch came from an apprentice at the brand is a great reminder that they take watchmaking very seriously.

The Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night is available exclusively in IWC’s new Obsidian colorway, and clocks in at 42.4mm in diameter, and 10.8mm thick. It is priced at $79,300. IWC

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A native New Englander now based in Philadelphia, Griffin has been a passionate watch enthusiast since the age of 13, when he was given a 1947 Hamilton Norman as a birthday gift by his godfather. Well over a decade later, Griffin continues to marvel and obsess about all things watches, while also cultivating lifelong love affairs with music, film, photography, cooking, and making.