IWC’s often-overlooked (but no less worthy) dress watch, the Portugieser, gets a salmon dial update that might help watch fans finally wake up to the virtues of the Schaffhausen brand’s original ‘big watch’.
These days, most people know IWC for their pilot’s watches, specifically the Big Pilot’s Watch. But the Big Pilot wasn’t the first big watch IWC came out with: that honour is reserved for the Portugieser, which has now become the brand’s dressiest, most elegant model.
The story goes that in the late 1930s, a pair of Portuguese businessmen approached IWC with a request for a wristwatch that could match the precision of a marine chronometer. The only way IWC could pull that off was by taking a ‘hunter’-style pocket watch movement and putting it in a wristwatch case.
This original Portugieser, the ref. 325, had a case width of 41.5mm – a pretty standard diameter these days but in the 30s, an unfathomably huge size for a watch. From the 30s to the 80s, the Portugieser wasn’t a big seller, but in the 90s it was revived and immediately became a hit.
Speaking of hits, we can only imagine that this new salmon-dial variant of the Portugieser will be a hit. Much like its pre-90s history, the Portugieser’s been a bit overlooked in recent years – so this delicious new dial is a much-needed shot in the proverbial arm for this Swiss beauty.
This new Portugieser Automatic 40 (ref. IW358313) combines a stainless-steel case with rhodium-plated hands and appliqués, a black alligator leather strap and, of course, a striking salmon-coloured sunray-finished dial.
Salmon dials have long been prized by watch collectors; they have an unmistakable air of luxury and sprezzatura. The sunray finish on this Portugieser’s dial makes it appear like a bar of lustrous rose gold.
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Introduced to the collection in 2020, the Portugieser Automatic 40 brings back the timeless design of the first Portugieser from the late 1930s in a more compact, dressier 40mm case diameter.
The Portugieser Automatic 40 is currently available exclusively in the UAE (so much for salmon fishing in the Yemen) but will be available worldwide as of April through boutiques or online. Hope this whets your appetite.