The latest IWC Portofino line sweetens the game for women’s watches by bucking the big watch trend.
IWC Schaffhausen is setting a fresh pace for the ladies with 5 models bearing smaller faces and greater bracelet permutations.
Since its 1984 debut, the Portofino has remained one of IWC’s most coveted range. As inspired by its namesake – a truly tranquil Italian fishing village – that blissful sophistication has made it the classic watch that is for everyday wear yet still showing refinement and class.
Story has it that chief watchmaker Kurt Klaus and design director Hanno Burtscher must have been channeling the sultry summers of Portofino – lazy blue waters, sleepy seagulls that fan out for the occasional luxury yacht sliding languidly past the cobbled waterside cafes; her bespoke deck of exquisite wood grain, soft leather and chrome details carrying the good life towards the evening sun. This must be the view Klaus and Burtscher held on to sketch out a timepiece that would fit the feeling. And hence until today, the Portofino watches sport round bezels that retrograde towards the 1950s while their sleek and unfussy faces embrace the minimalism of modern day.
So what is noticeably new about the latest 11 additions – including 6 versions for men, is actually a return to the old, What this means is that the Portofino line has opted to return to ‘old school’ proportions with the smallest model at 34mm in diameter. This bucks the current preference for chunky and rugged timepieces and shows the watchmaker’s bold step towards embracing a more feminine silhouette. These new additions for the women are currently the daintiest in the IWC Schaffhausen family; a nod to the original Portofino timepieces but more importantly, skewed towards the delicate wrists of non-conformists.
The Portofino watches remain waterproof at 30m, have self winding mechanical movements that oscillate at 28,800 vph/4 Hz and boast a 42-hour power reserve but more importantly, all new women versions are spiced up to easily catch the eye. The watches are set with diamonds on the case or dial, with silver plated, blue or green dials and cases are either in 18-carat 5N gold or stainless steel. In fact, IWC Schaffhausen has added more variety by including a nifty little strap-swap tool that allows a quick wardrobe change of up to 13 different permutations.
“With these five new models, we were inspired by the origins of the Portofino family, and wanted to continue the tradition of IWC ladies’ watches from the 1980s, offering a very wearable size for women. Another highlight is the new strap changing system, which enables the wearer to change the look of their watch in the blink of an eye, adding a playful and fashionable element to the wrist.” Christian Knoop, Creative Director of IWC Schaffhausen.
Aside from the Milanese stainless steel mesh bracelet, IWC has tasked Italian leather goods craftsmen Santoni to produce another 12 more shades that range from the safe classics like grey, brown and black to vivid hand-coloured hues of bronze, raspberry pink, green and indigo blue.
The refreshment to the men’s models include new versions of the Chronograph and Automatic with blue dials. But the one to watch out for is the Automatic Moon Phase which will be the first to couple a 40mm-wide case to a moon phase feature.
All images courtesy of IWC.