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Watches and Wonders 2014: IWC Portofino Mid-size collection.

by Chester Lau on October 15, 2014

You are behind the wooden wheel of a luxury craft, skirting through the waters of the Italian Rivera. To your left is beauty, and to your right fantasy, but you keep straight ahead, towards limitless wonder. This is the story of the Portofino. A life of class and luxury, elegance and adventure.

To celebrate the launch of the Portofino Mid-size collection, IWC once again collaborates with star photographer Peter Lindbergh. His film “Timeless Portofino” is decked with a star studded cast consisting of actors Emily Blunt, Christoph Waltz, Ewan McGregor and Zhou Xun, as well as supermodels Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova, Cate Blanchett. Set to the picturesque backdrop of the harbour town Portofino, this video and the new ‘Mid-size’ have indeed wowed the world.

In the words of Georges Kern, CEO of IWC, the new Mid-size collection is to turn the “classic watch line (into something) more interesting for customers with slimmer wrists”. The design aesthetics can be explained by “a growing demand for watches set with diamonds.”

All the models in this collection are available in a variety of dials, case material and straps. The 37 mm size is great for the bolder ladies and the more ‘vivacious’ men. The watches look very attractive and are appealing to almost anyone.

midsize-portofino-moon-gold-bracelet

The IW459005 in a 18k red gold case with milanese mesh bracelet, set with 66 diamonds on the bezel.

The version shown above is equipped with a Milanese bracelet. The skill required to manufacture this sleek, very flexible and beautiful bracelet was thought to be a lost art, but apparently not…as evidenced by the magnificence of the bracelet.

The Milanese bracelet. Flexible, yet strong. Akin to mail armour used by the knights of the Middle Ages, the artistry needed to manufacture these bracelets are indeed special.

The Milanese bracelet. Flexible, yet strong. Akin to mail armour used by the knights of the Middle Ages, the artistry needed to manufacture these bracelets are indeed special.

 

midsize-portofino-moon-gold-dial

Admiring the clean mother-of-pearl dial and the Portofino’s signature swallow hands. The dial is particularly interesting, with raised circles for the moonphase display and the center of the dial.

 

There is an ethereal quality to the night sky, with the twinkling stars and white glowing moon. Since time eternal, the Moon has been the subject of poetry, friendship, love and mystery. For the gentlemen reading this, moonphase watches are great for the ladies, after all you can say, ‘I’ve given you the Moon’. A bit chauvinistic, perhaps, but romantic, nonetheless.

 

Mesmerizing moonphase display set against a deep blue dial, with diamonds to accent the rather sophisticated look.

Mesmerizing moonphase display set against a deep blue dial, with diamonds to accent the rather sophisticated look.

 

While there are many variations to the Moonphase, this ref IW459005 shines the brightest. The blue moonphase subdial is decorated with a gold moon and stars. The contrast it has on the white mother-of-pearl dial is simply stunning to behold. To add more dazzle to the stars, the bezel and hour markers are set with diamonds. So dazzling is this piece (and many in the collection) that few real men can have the virility to put it on. We shall not go to the extent to declare it a ladies’ watch but well, some things are so implicit it’s explicit. In other news, this watch is powered by a Sellita based movement.

 

Another variation in rose gold with a similarly hued dial.

Another variation in rose gold with a similarly hued dial.

 

At this point some may scream aloud that this is a mere face job but let us rein ourselves in and not jump into conclusions. There is after all some merit in these timepieces.

Apart from the Moonphase, special mention goes out to the “Day and Night”. Armed with a 24 hour display and a 2nd time zone adjustable in one-hour steps. It is an ideal watch for someone who loves the better things in life, a lover of both form and function. This watch is a brilliant travel watch, versatile enough for daily wear and still captivating at the dinner table. It is very beautiful in the flesh and lends much variety to a boring wrist.

This new collection reminds us that IWC can make both rugged and strong watches and at the same time, create beautiful and delicate timepieces. The only thing left to be desired is the heart of the watch. If only IWC had gone all out and housed the mid-size with an equally potent movement to match its looks. Then that will be perfect.

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