IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph IW390507
Defining the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph as a "timepiece for the summer-time" would be quite simplistic. It would be more correct if we were to call it the “sporty Portugieser” of the collection, and also the most avant-garde among the chronographs within this collection. The idea comes from IWC’s idea of launching a special series of their Yacht Club Chronograph during the summer-time, and a series of new nylon-made straps that can fit all their watches – a solution that will allow you to wear a Pilot, a Da Vinci or a Portofino also in summer and 24 hours a day.
A smart idea, if you consider that it is quite difficult to use a Pilot with a leather strap while sailing or when you are by the sea in 35 degrees Celsius. Other watches like the Mark XVIII, for example, can boast a design and a degree of versatility that suit all seasons, even without necessarily having to opt for an IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 IW358001 for example that remains a professional diver’s watch and that should be your first choice if you are plunging into the sea. In my opinion, this idea was born from IWC’s willingness to respond to a specific request from their customers (just take a quick look at forums and Instagram profiles to see what I am talking about). For years, customers have been buying aftermarket straps, but what they actually wanted was a strap made in Schaffhausen.
IWC filled this gap the same it used to be in the past when you would buy an Aquatimer, and now everyone can finally equip their IWC timepiece with a "summer strap" that is made in Schaffhausen. In the case of the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph the story is actually a different one, since this is a new version of an existing model that underwent some minor product modifications. The timepiece was launched in 2010 as a sportier edition of the classic Portugieser, of which it has preserved the two-counter-layout that is typical of the original Portugieser. The Yacht Club introduced an in-house built calibre to the collection and also the viewing of the 60 minutes and the 12-chrono-hours at 12 o’clock within the same register - an additional complication if compared to the Portugieser that was later taken up on the Portugieser Chronograph Classic too. The main suspect of these features is the 89361 calibre; a complicated calibre that is also one of IWC’s most famous ones. It comes with the Flyback function that, performance-wise, inevitably places it a step above any of the classic Chrono Portugieser watches. With regard to special or limited editions of the Yacht Club Chronograph, to celebrate the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race, IWC presented the beautiful IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer (back then it was still called Portuguese and not Portugieser).
An IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph does not need a nylon-made strap, as it was originally launched as a “yacht watch” and despite its alligator leather strap (like the Ocean Race version), the real nature of this watch has always been that of a watch with a rubber strap. Possibly what was missing was a version strongly inspired by the bright colors of the summer-time, although I tend to naturally associate the blue color (and probably the Schaffhausen manufacturer too) to the color of the Laureus association that IWC have been partnering with for years. The IWC blue is a particularly recognizable pantone and despite this Yacht Club not being a Laureus watch - and I have no confirmation about the type of pantone that was used on here - it automatically reminds me of a 500112 reference or a 376404 reference, due to beautiful color alternations between the blue dial and the white registers. This is definitely one of the most successful color combinations in the recent history of IWC and I do hope that the manufacturer will keep on using it as one of their special signs of recognition. Another useful feature lies in the pin buckle that replaces the deployant buckle on the versions with the slate gray dial and the silver dial – a feature that further distinguishes an IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Blue from its “brothers”.
The admired 89361 calibre - one of IWC’s most-loved calibres among enthusiasts – lies within a 43.5mm-case. The calibre features 68 hours of power reserve, the Flyback function for the immediate start/stop of the chrono seconds hand and a "hack seconds" function. This is a well-renowned calibre, since the 89000 family can be defined as the foundation for the crafting of complicated calibres, such as the perpetual calendar with a chronograph. On the side of the case-back, a large oscillating mass stands out, it might be a case or maybe a well-though choice in accordance with the roots of the Portugieser, but it reminds us of sextant even if the same geometry is also taken up by the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 2017 for example. The retail price of the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph IW390507? It totals 12300 Euro and you may order it already at your nearest IWC boutique.
(Photo credit: courtesy of IWC Watches)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®