We found new IWC collection released during Watches & Wonders 2015 to be quite exciting. IWC is revising its collections, and the beautiful, elegant lines in the Portofino collection gets a revamp. We were the first to do a full review of what we feel is the star of the collection – the Handwound Monopusher Chronograph. In this article, we follow-up with the Handwound Day & Date. Is it as alluring as the Monopusher Chronograph?
Please see our Introduction to the IWC Portofino Handwound Day & Date here, where we carried our first impressions of the watch, and the press release information.
This follow-up is based on our hands-on, after we have spent additional quality time with the timepiece.
IWC Portofino Handwound Day & Date
Case, dial, hands and overall design impressions
The case design is one with elegant, smooth and clean lines. The 45mm diameter with a 12mm thick case gives the impression of a slim, svelte watch, slipping under the cuff in a most discrete manner which belies its rather substantial diameter.
The hands retain the old Portofino swallow hands, which IWC is rather famous for. The gentle sweeping lines of the hour and minute hands, sufficiently long to reach the minute markers around the dial is the epitome of elegance and beauty, and for some is reason alone to buy a watch like this. It reinforces the Portofino imagery of a Southern European flair (Portofino is a beautiful town in Italy) in a juxtaposition with the precision engineering of the Germans (Schaffhausen is very close to Germany, and is the only major German speaking watchmaking city in Switzerland).
The dial carries quite a lot of information, the large date display, day of the week in a subdial, power reserve indicator and the usual 3 hands viz hour, minute and small seconds. And yet, perhaps due to the real estate available, does so very clearly and remains legible. The bar markers on the SS version are what seems to be appliqué in white gold, catches the light, and gleams. The more sedate slate grey dial of the rose gold version also allows the rose gold appliqué to sparkle, and coupled with the warmth of the case makes for an interesting proposition.
Although the rose gold version has a certain romantic charm, we are particularly attracted to the near monotone of the stainless steel variant.
The movement: IWC Caliber 59220
The movement is an in-hose manufactured caliber. The 59220 has a huge power reserve of 8 days, and runs at 28,800 bph, and feature a rather large balance wheel.
The movement is designed in a 3/4 plate style, reminiscent of old IWC pocket watches. Finishing is fine, with all the standard finnisage detailing being executed well. From our loupe examination, we found the fausses côtes to be done very well, deep slopes have been cut on the bridges making for a very neat, and beautiful appearance. The anglages on the bridges are also well executed, and we are quite pleased that IWC have chosen to include some very nice outward angles and wished for the inclusion of inward angles. While outward angles are a nice design and finishing touch as they are nice and sharp in execution, inward angles are at least a degree of difficulty higher to execute properly.
One interesting feature of the movement is the innovative method in which the day display, is connected directly to the date advance mechanism. During the day, there are two elastic advance fingers superimposed one on top of the other tap off energy from the barrel. By midnight, they have built up enough power, first, to advance the date and, second, to move a seven-toothed star wheel that cause the hand to jump to the next day of the week. Neat.
The Portofino redefines the ideals IWC has put in place, as was told to us by CEO Georges Kern in our exclusive interview. Read it here! It embodies the expression of refinement of a Southern European elegance with the precision of German engineering. The movement is beautiful, and we applaud IWC for creating it in-house and starting to move away from the generic ebauches of ETA and Valjoux.
If we had a criticism, we would lobby IWC to bring back the “International Watch Co. Schaffhausen” script instead of the modern and in our view less charming logo which simply states “IWC”. The charm of the old script is not to be underestimated. IWC recently gave us some glimpses of this with their 75th Anniversary of the Portugeiser issues as well as the Revolution Anniversary issues. So Mr. Kern, please bring it back to all IWCs.
Worthy of consideration? We think so, the Portofino Handwound Day & Date has many positives going for it. The price is quite attractive as well, at S$19,200 for IW516201 – Portofino handwound day date SS and S$34,000 for the IW516203 – Portofino handwound day date RG. But ultimately, only you can decide.