IWC Portugieser Double Chronograph Edition Milano - Icon since day 1 and already a crazy collector's piece
The birth of the IWC Portugieser Double Chronograph Edition "Milano" generates a mixture of feelings; sense of belonging, pride and, most of all, high-end horlogerie. Being in strict contact with the world of watches bears with it an undeniable advantage, namely that you are able to preview some of the novelties that haven’t hit the market yet and this is definitely a great privilege for those of us who are real watch enthusiasts. The world of novelties is divided into two main groups in my opinion; on one side you have the group that is strictly linked to the revamping movement of new collections – a process that follows the natural developmental logic of a brand – while on the other side you have the group of limited series, numbered series and one-off productions. Both categories deserve to be given the same dignity but for some obvious reasons - and let me please add here the term “collector” to the term “aficionado” - the second category is somehow more intriguing and it actually embodies everybody’s dream.
An event that was scheduled for a small group of bloggers and held at the IWC boutique located on Via Montenapoleone was the chance that I was given to see with my very own eyes the latest limited series that the maison has dedicated to the Italian market. I am talking about one hundred pieces that highlight the importance of Italy in the manufacturer’s history, a way to remind in the “Belpaese” the Portugieser is a real icon and that is has personally written some of the most important pages in IWC’s history book. After all, if a product is a winner in Italy it almost automatically becomes a trend-setter everywhere else in the world. It was 2006 when the last Portugieser Rattrappante Tribute to Italy was crafted in honour of the country and it was also the last time that a special edition that featured a split-second complication appeared within this collection.
The history of this brand in Italy is dotted with cooperation ventures with some historic local retailers, some of which – like Bartorelli and Barozzi – have probably initiated the modern concept of “haute-horlogerie boutique”. Barozzi ceased operations some time ago but in 2004 the maison crafted a 50 piece limited edition whose dial reminds us of that of the new IWC Portugieser Double Chronograph Edition “Milano”. The setting of the dial features the classic Portugieser’s two-counter scheme that consists of the thin double central hand of the two overlapping chronographs and the union of a tachy scale mounted on an inner ring and the telemetric scale on the outer ring.
The tone of blue that was chosen for the dial – whereas the strap is still black and made of alligator leather – is a very peculiar Pantone colour. It is not the same shade as the Petit Prince’s (in case you were wondering that) and it is not the same shade as that of a Laureus Spitfire Chrono’s either, this hue is definitely more sporty and brighter. IWC has come up with a night blue colour that is quite vivid and moderately polished, it is a shade that perfectly fuses together with the red gold colour of the case. This colours combination quenches somehow the excessive shimmering of the whole setting and when coupled with the applied Arabic numbers it creates an extremely rewarding and functional ensemble. It also matches perfectly well the tachy scale that goes from 70 to 400 km/h and that “breaks” next to the counter located at 12 o’clock. The very thin bezel and the very ample dial are two of the main features that have always identified a Portugieser timepiece and that also make the case appear larger than its regular 41mm.
This is a real limited series, actually it is a dedicated series since it sports a brand new item that displays no similarities or traits with the other models of the same collection. Among these unique characteristics is the in-house built 76240 manual caliber and a re-designed version of the famous “biscione” (a great serpent) of the House of Visconti that is engraved on the case-back of the IWC Portugieser Double Chronograph Edition “Milano”. The only con was the fact that I wasn’t able to try on this watch, simply because the piece that you can see in the picture has been sold already. It is actually the first of a series of three items that were available in the boutique and that were sold during the launching held on 29th June. Unfortunately this sudden sale led us to not being able to take several pictures of this timepiece from different angles and against different backgrounds.
The launch of the IWC Portugieser Double Chronograph Edition "Milano" has already ignited a fierce international competition among collectors as this timepiece is only available in the Italian boutiques of the brand. That means that at least a dozen of famous collectors based between Hong Kong and the United States of America are already competing against each other to get their hands on one of the few available models (priced each at 21,500 Euro). The good piece of news is, however, that this idea – it would be reductive to say that it is an experiment – will probably be repeated within the same collection in the future and it might be that one day the stainless steel-made Portugieser Rattrappante with its manual winding caliber will become reality once again.
(Photo credit: Google; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Karin Vettorel)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®