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Review of the IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”

by Chester Lau on May 8, 2015

This year IWC celebrates its 75th Anniversary with the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”. With it, we are reminded of the controversy behind the shortened ‘IWC’ brand name from the original “International Watch Company” font written out in full and in a beautiful italics script. A small blemish that has had huge reverberations of complaints from IWC lovers.

We live in a world of acronyms. A symbol of efficiency, modern world productivity, and cold symptomatic nonchalance. Acronyms are given to the IMF, the UN, the POTUS. While not trying to insinuate that with acronyms come degeneration and impotence, we opportunely discuss a brand that has turned its three worded name into a three letter acronym. IWC.

Some say, that with its shortening, it had lost much of its vitality and vigour, while others embraced the era of pop-culture and masculine modernity. But before we proceed on a sardonic rant, it is heartening to know that IWC, has resurrected the italics full name font! With the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”, fans of the brand and collectors who go bonkers over nomenclature can finally be at peace.

iwc-75-8day-book

One of the best looking sub-dial at 6 watches out there, this “75th Anniversary” Portuguese revives IWC’s rich history with the return of the Italics font and the railroad minute markers.

So what’s the big hype about this piece? As an anniversary edition, the Portuguese is a homage timepiece based on an original vintage model ref 325 Portuguese made in the 1930s. With its introduction at SIHH 2015, this “75th Anniversary” Portuguese revives IWC’s rich history with the return of the Italics font and the railroad minute markers.  It is nostalgic of IWC’s rich heritage, but with a touch of ingenuity. Rail road threads and vintage font, with seconds subdial at 6, with a strategically placed date window; we think this is really quite clever. Stylistically, the leaf hands and the vintage salmon ring marker set to an 8 days movement and a well constructed portuguese case with raised dome crystal give this watch not only a taste of the past but a sign of the brand’s ability to rethink and revamp itself.

iwc-75-8day-mvt-detail

The balance wheel is made with the Glucydur®* beryllium alloy, which aids in temperature correction and eliminates the need of screws on the wheel. This improves the aerodynamics of the balance. The movement also uses a Breguet spring.

iwc-75-8day-wrist

The watch fits nicely on the wrist, although some debate that it is still too thick and big. We figured that a larger size was needed to house the 8 days movement, moreover, the original Portuguese large wristwatch was made using pocket watch movements and were of a certain heft. The watch measures 43mm wide and is 12 mm tall. Seen here with a pair of Carmina shell cordovan double monks.

The Portuguese uses IWC’s in-house 59215 calibre, which measures a 37.8 millimetres in diameter, and reliably supplies the watch with energy for 8 days. Technically, it would be almost 9 days, were it not for an intelligent system that blocks the movement after the first 192 hours, or precisely 8 days. The mechanical movement has a power reserve display on the movement side, a date display fitted at the second subdial and has small hacking seconds. The single barrel movement also uses a Breguet spring and its balance wheel is made with the Glucydur®* beryllium alloy, which aids in temperature correction and eliminates the need of screws on the wheel. This improves the aerodynamics of the balance. The red gold version is limited to 175 pieces while the stainless-steel version is limited to 750 pieces.

 

iwc-75-8day-back

Whenever we examine IWC movement finishing, images of the 1993 Jubilee Portuguese comes to mind. More recently, we have reviewed at a Portuguese made for Revolution’s 10th anniversary. While the traditional perlage and cotes-de-geneve stripes are present, the finesse of the finishing has undoubtedly been lost over the decade. A pity indeed, for an otherwise well-executed timepiece.

iwc-75-8day

Price aside, between the steel black dial version and the rose gold (featured here), the rose gold gets the vote. The white dial and salmon railroad markers, paired with the characteristic leaf hands and a hand-patina Santoni strap, are the ingredients to the perfect recipe for a handsome looking timepiece.

All in all, we find that this Anniversary edition is a step in the right direction for IWC. This piece reminds us that IWC has not lost touch with its history and is willing to bring back its old school DNA. The “75th Anniversary” Portuguese is definitely a strong contender for classic watches in its price range and is one of the best looking sub second at 6 time only watches we have seen at SIHH 2015.

The watch retails at SGD$ 15,800 for steel and $29,500 for rose gold. Click here for full technical specs.

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