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Throwback Sundays: Six Dream Watches, from Our Archives

The new IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

by Chester Lau on May 9, 2020


Complication / Type of Watch


Recommended Retail Price

US$7250, US$16,900

The Portugieser Automatic 40 (Ref. 3583) marks the return to the collection of the iconic design, with the small seconds at 6 o’clock, in a compact case with a 40-millimetre diameter. The new automatic model takes its power from the IWC-manufactured 82200 calibre with pellaton winding.

It comes in four variants, three in steel and one in rose gold. The steel models are available in white dial gold hands, white dial blue hands and blue dial silver hands.

The Case and Dial

The Portugieser Automatic 40 sits in between the 44 mm FA Jones hand-winding and the Kleine Portugieser at 35 mm. In fact, this 40 mm version is very reminiscent of the Kleine Portugieser which also used an automatic movement – a Jaeger LeCoultre movement to be precise.

The case measures 40.4 mm and 12.4 mm in diameter and height. This is a good size, typical of automatic dress watches. The case is the usual Portugieser case, with a mix of brushed and polished finish a sloped bezel and raised dome sapphire crystal. The leaf hands and arabic numerals are also the same as before.

The main noticeable difference on the dial side is the use of more prominent applique markers, both numerals and hour squares. It also looks like significant effort is put into giving the numerals a good beveled edge polish.

The blue dial variant looks great if one is not tired of the relentless blue dials flooding the market. That said, the blue hands white dial in steel might be the most attractive of the lot. The watch is also available in 18 K rose gold.

The Movement

The Portugieser 40 uses the calibre 82200, a self-winding 60 hour power reserve movement. Apart from the Kleine Portugieser, this is the next automatic variant on the seconds at 6 Portugieser. This is a good addition to the product line, feeding the needs of those who want an automatic time-only that leans on the slimmer and smaller side.

Keeping with the skeleton trend, IWC made major upgrades to its movement designs, cutting open plates and bridges to reveal more of the interior of the movement than just a decade ago. While its price point is still relatively more accessible, the design upgrades keep the brand attractive and competitive. Some tactics used apart from skeletonising, include the use of contrasting metal colors, ceramic parts and other machine texture finishing. The skeletonising also shows more of the pellaton winding mechanism which is an integral feature in modern IWC calibers.

Concluding Thoughts

This is a practical choice for users who don’t like manual wind watches. The 40 mm size also makes it more wearable for those with slimmer wrists. Purists may still want to stick with the 1993 edition, which has the classic movement (possibly best neo-vintage base Portugieser movement) and the dial layout is not as ‘decorated’ – the minutes track as opposed to the original dot minute markers. But for the modern, fuss-free watch wearer, the automatic will be the better choice. Their real conundrum will be choosing between this and the also attractive Portugieser chronograph which is about the same price and has an in-house movement too.

US$7,250 in steel and US$16,900 in gold

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