The IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer
11 legs for a total 38.3739 nautical miles, equal to more than 70.000km that involve 7 sailing teams from around the world. These are, in a nutshell, the numbers behind a legendary challenge once known as the Whitebread Round the World Race, perhaps the most challenging among sailing competitions: it is today called the Volvo Ocean Race, but nothing has lost of its appeal and toughness and may be regarded to as the 24 Hours of Le Mans among sailing competitions.
IWC is the official timekeeper of the competition, that has started 12 days ago in Alicante and will finish in the port of Gothenburg, Sweden, june the 27th and, moreover, is the official partner of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Team.
The crew members have wrapped, around their wrists, one of the 1000 timepieces of the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer. Just to make a short note about the Yacht Club’s history, the first one was released back in 1969, was a three hands automatic watch, and featured a Super Compressor like case back. It disappeared from the IWC’s collection many years ago but has been reintroduced some years ago as a new and sporty take of the classic Portuguese two register chrono and equipped with a manufactured movement.
The IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer esemplifies what does it mean to make quite an original and sleek limited series watch without indulging in adding logos or letterings here and there that have to deal more with a “co-branding” operation than with a special series, while introducing some design touches that could be easily applied to the entire Yacht Club’s collection, thus improving this collection appearance without overlapping it with the classic Portuguese chronos collection.
The biggest esthetic difference with any Yacht Club is the rotor design, that is way good looking just on the stock collection and features here a special design, in the shape of a sail’s steering wheel, with an additional eccentric mass engraved with the red wording: “IWC Schaffausen – 68h Power Reserve”.
Changing the rotor’s design is not that easy, as its inertia, which is functional to the winding mechanism, changes accordingly but it is certainly the best way to follow if you want to give a limited edition watch that unmistakable touch. That red color is replicated on the dial too (making this Yacht Club a Regatta Timer) and is mixed up with the blue adopted for both hands and applied indexes covered with SuperLuminova, making all in all a package that is sporty yet elegant as the strap is made not just of rubber but features an alligator leather inlay.
Standard features in the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer are, as always, its case proportions which result in a 45,4mm width and a gap, lug to lug, of 22mm. I always perceived any Portuguese to sit on the wrist bigger than what actually is, without being too big however, a feature that has often been at the base of its success and has made it a luxury everyday chrono. I guess this effect is enhanced by the dial’s two counter lay-out of course but is mostly due to its lugs, thin and curved and its case thickness at just 14,5mm.
If you now compare this size with other chronos one in the benchmark, you soon realize the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer’s thickness is among the lowest ones on the market as many other ones stop at least at 15mm, if not going over 16mm. We all know case size is also about design but, when it comes to chrono making, it is often due to the size of the movement, that in any Yacht Club is the in-house 89361, equipped with a Fly-back function and the IWC glorious double-pawl mechanism.
The IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer will be made in just 1000 pieces, each retailed at Euro 12.500, that is not that cheap but is justified by the value of this collection, its technical features, including the Fly-back function and the fact we are in front of a true special series. It will be nice to know how many are going to be around for sale as IWC claims each member of the crew that will cover the single greatest distance within a period of 24 hours during the course of the entire race will be gifted with one of them. The remaining ones will be perhaps easier to be found at the official brand’s boutique spread around the globe.
For further information please visit iwc.com
(Photo credit: courtesy of http://www.volvooceanrace.com; IWC; Google)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®