At last week’s Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong, IWC added no less than 20 new models to its Portofino collection. These included 17 new “midsize” models, all adorned with diamonds, and three new versions of the 40-mm Portofino Automatic, now in new 18K rose gold or white gold cases and 72 diamonds set on the bezel. Most models come on beautiful hand-made leather Santoni straps, and two come on an extra-fine Milanese mesh bracelet. There are also two new models equipped with a second time zone and five, with a moon-phase. Essentially, The IWC Portofino collection just grew by 600%, from four models to 24.
We at Monochrome Watches got an exclusive preview of the new IWC Portofino watches before they were shipped to Hong Kong for Watches & Wonders. This fair is becoming more and more important, with more new watches making their world debut there, and drawing a crowd of both industry professionals and end-consumers. Christiaan Knoop, IWC’s creative director, spoke to us about these new additions to the classic-styled Portofino collection and the corresponding ad campaign, photographed in (of course) Portofino, Italy.
It turns out that these are not, in fact, the first midsize models in the IWC Portofino collection! Several years ago, the lineup included several 34-mm models that were also referred to as midsize. The new midsize collection measures a more contemporary 37 mm in diameter, and comes with a variety of diamonds and complications. Knoop says the models are not necessarily ladies’ watches, and are aimed also at men who simply prefer a smaller wristwatch and who aren’t afraid of some “sparkle” on his wrist.
Three of the 20 new models are in the already available 40-mm size, but now also sport a diamond-set bezel like the Ref. IWC356515, pictured above. These three models come with a bezel set with 72 diamonds, and are available in 18K white gold or rose gold. They feature the familiar engraved caseback (below) depicting a scene from the town of Portofino.
All 17 smaller models, the Portofino Midsize collection, have a solid, blank caseback, which allows for a personalized engraving commemorating an anniversary or some other special occasion. Most of the Midsize models come in stainless steel or 18K rose gold; only one, the Ref. IW459004, comes in 18K white gold, and it also features a moon-phase indication and 174 diamonds on the bezel and dial.
The other models, either in stainless steel or rose gold, come with either 66 diamonds set onto the bezel, as above, or in a much more understated version, with 12 diamonds serving as hour markers (as below).
The IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night (below, left) features a central 24-hour hand that indicates, on a central blue/white 24-hour index ring, whether it is day or night. These models are adorned with 78 diamonds, set on the bezel and dial. The 24-hour hand can also be used for indicating the home time, when the standard hour hand has been adjusted (in one-hour increments) to the local time when travelling. This functionality makes it a perfect companion for those who travel for business or leisure. (Well, so long as the leisure doesn’t include diving or other beach activities.)
The IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase (above, right), available in five “flavors,” comes with a large moon-phase indication that is visible through an aperture in the upper half of the dial. These watches comes with a mother-of-pearl dial, with 78 diamonds set on the dial and bezel, except the white gold version, which is set with 174 diamonds and has a black lacquer dial.