IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3716 Manufacture in Red Gold
Will this be the year of the Portugieser?
We had a first glimpse of an IWC Portugieser Chronograph powered by an in-house mechanical movement back in 2018, during the celebrations of the brand's 150th Anniversary, that took place during SIHH. We knew that to be a preview of what IWC would have introduced in the following years, and here is the proof: IWC has fully replaced the old collection of IWC Portugieser with a new one entirely powered by movements designed and manufactured in the brand's manufacture. SIHH has turned itself into Watches and Wonders and will be held, now on, in late April and not end of January any longer. It means the industry and the brands belonging to Richemont will benefit from a series of advantages, first and foremost a better product planning and a somewhat reduced gap between product presentation and market phase-in, with most timepieces expected to hit stores across the globe, anytime soon after the end of the fair.
IWC has planned a roadshow across Europe (most probably worldwide) to give a hint of what we'll officially discover in a two month time approximate. A strict embargo covers the new timepieces: what we can anticipate instead is that a specific collection has grown and welcomes further groundbreaking complications that prove once again how much is IWC investing in bringing its research and development capability to full potential. So, stay tuned for more. One of the longest awaited new products so far, not covered by any embargo, regards the "bread and butter" of the Portugieser collection, the iconic IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3716; a new range of timepieces replaces the outgoing Valjoux-based reference IWC 3714 and showcases many new product variations both in steel and gold featuring the manufacture caliber IWC 69355. Aesthetically, the Portugeiser you're familiar with doesn't change, and rightly so considering how beautiful and timeless is the current design.
With a column wheel mechanism and 46 hours of maximum power reserve, the caliber 69355 caliber adopts a bidirectional pawl-winding system similar to the Pellaton mechanism. The start of the chronograph is instantaneous and free of any unwanted jumps of the central chronograph hand around its initial position. Although IWC has renewed the entire collection and the steel versions will no doubt be the top-selling ones, I believe that the new IWC Portugieser 3716 in gold offer an exquisite touch. The new mechanical movement is an excellent addition to the signature 41mm case, featuring no bezel, gold slim leaf-shaped hands, applied gold Arabic numerals, and the unmistakable two-register layout with no date.
The IWC Portugieser is by far the most elegant luxury classic chronograph money can buy, in my opinion, and the gold versions also come with a matching red gold pin buckle, that remind me of another golden age at Schaffhausen: the 90s. Which version would you choose? Silver or slate dial? Indeed, it is a hard choice; they both have a beautiful look and feel. I would opt for the silver dial, simply because it is a bit more understated. Also, IWC paid great care in aesthetically pairing the 69355 to the watch's original style: it is hard to update technically such a classic piece while preserving its identity. It is, I guess, what designers at IWC faced when decided to make the new movement fully visible via a see-through case-back.
Take a look at the bidirectional rotor's three arms design or the circular Cotês de Genève decoration on the main bridge, for instance; also, pay attention to the classic-looking four-screws locked gold ring. It is perceivable how much attention to detail they paid to in technically raising the bar while not affecting the original look and feel that makes any Portugieser Chronograph so recognizable. Nonetheless, I admit I'm a bit surprised to see such a power reserve, given most competitors are in between 70 and 80 hours of maximum power reserve. Overall, however, the new IWC Portugieser 3716 is unquestionably the best IWC Portugieser Chronograph ever and, hopefully, paves the way for IWC to design a new Rattrappante mechanical movement, in-house, soon. We'll see. The price list is set at 17,700 euros for the gold versions and 7,950 euros for those in stainless steel.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®