IWC Schaffhausen: Band of Gold

by Pearlyn Quan

The ever-graceful IWC Portofino gets a comprehensive update with a new complication, fresh new sizes, and a new face for the brand.

When one thinks of IWC Watches, it’s impossible not to reference its strong aviation heritage and love for big, bold men’s wristwatches, especially its Pilot’s and Portugieser watch collections.

After all, American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founded IWC in 1868 with the idea of combining American engineering capabilities with Swiss craftsmanship, and this was best showcased in its range of technical, sporty timepieces.

Which is why the Portofino collection – a delicate circle of gold around a dainty 34mm or 37mm diameter – stands out for its simple and elevated refinement. Its namesake Portofino evokes the glamorous languor of the Italian Riviera, a gleam of golden sunset around the curve of a deep blue bay. Translated into design, the Portofino is characterised by its graceful uncluttered lines, and classic round gold dials with slender feuille hands.

Birth of a new Icon

The story goes that IWC Schaffhausen’s head watchmaker Kurt Klaus and head designer Hanno Burtscher, over a glass of wine, of course, came up with the concept of turning a Lépine moon phase pocket watch into a wristwatch. Hence, the first Portofino was born, in 1984, and quickly became one of IWC’s most coveted collections.

Since the 1980s, the Portofino range has seen a number of iterations on the original Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase model, notably the Portofino Chronograph Quartz in 1988, the Portofino Hand-Wound in 1993 (one of the flattest wristwatches that IWC has ever created), the Portofino Automatic in 2003, and the outsize Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days in 2011.

2022 marks another momentous year for the collection. As part of a comprehensive update to its Portofino line, IWC Schaffhausen has reworked and extended the Portofino Automatic 34 ladies’ collection. Joining this range of elegant ladies’ watches is the Portofino Automatic Day & Night 34, the first 34mm Portofino to feature a day & night complication.

In addition to this new model, IWC has also updated the Portofino Automatic 37 and the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37. These two models now feature movements from the IWC-manufactured 32000 calibre family, sapphire glass backs, and elaborately finished movements with gold-plated rotors and blued screws.

Portofino Automatic Day & Night 34

This dainty 34mm is perfect for smaller, feminine wrists – now added to this watch is the day & night complication to visually indicate the celestial passing of time with an illustration of a sun and moon on a rotating disc. A straightforward feature, this can be particularly useful if you are tracking work or family across two different time zones.

The classic Portofino Automatic 34 has been improved in numerous details and is available in six new versions. For the models featuring diamond-set bezels, the shape of the case has been optimised to accommodate larger stones of 1.7 millimetres. The dial and the case of these references are decorated with 66 diamonds totalling almost 1 carat. In addition, because of an improved setting, the diamonds tend to reflect the light better for added brilliance.

Employing a quick-change system, the Portofino Automatic 34 can be easily configured around a whole array of new straps and bracelets, including calfskin straps with a soft, natural finish, as well as high-grade 5-link stainless steel bracelets with polished and satin-finished surfaces.

The classic Portofino Automatic 34 has been improved in numerous details and is available in six new versions, in stainless steel, gold or diamonds, with blue, green or silver-plated sunray dials.

Portofino Automatic 37

The entire Portofino Automatic 37 collection is now equipped with IWC-manufactured movements from the 32000 calibre family, featuring an automatic pawl winding system and a power reserve of five days. The movements have been elaborately finished with blued screws and gold-plated rotors and can be admired through sapphire glass case backs.

For the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37, IWC has integrated a moon phase module into a movement from the IWC-manufactured 32000 calibre family for the first time. Thanks to a special reduction wheel train, the display works so precisely that it only deviates from the actual orbit of Earth’s satellite by one day after 122 years.

The moon phase disc, located at 12 o’clock on the dial, is made of solid gold and pad-printed with a blue night sky. The display can be adjusted easily in daily intervals using the crown. Once again, for the models featuring diamond-set bezels, the shape of the case has been optimised to accommodate larger stones of 1.7 millimetres. The dial and the case of these references are decorated with 72 diamonds totalling 1.12 carats.

The Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 is available in three versions, while the classic Portofino Automatic 37 is presented in six new versions, all of which feature a quick-change system, making it possible to change the strap or bracelet using a small tool supplied with every timepiece. 

Golden Girl

The simple elegance of the Portofino is carried forward in a new worldwide advertising campaign with Gisele Bündchen, the perfect golden girl to embody the best qualities of the iconic collection. Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program since 2009, she is known for her longstanding commitment to key environmental issues, tirelessly using her influence to bring attention to our planet and how society can collectively work to protect it.

In her new role as IWC’s first-ever Environmental and Community Projects Advisor, Gisele wears different watches from the new Portofino collection. Among them is the new Portofino Chronograph 39, which combines the classic and elegant Portofino design with a sporty chronograph complication in an easy-to-wear case size of 39mm. The chronograph features a stainless steel case, a silver-plated dial, and rhodium-plated hands and appliques, powered by the 69355 calibre movement.

Images courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Link:

The Case of the IWC Portofino 34

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Continuing to use the site means you accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Accept Read More