Watch Test: IWC Portuguese Yacht Club

IWC Portuguese Yacht Club chronographIn 1967, IWC launched one of its biggest success stories: a sporty, three-handed automatic watch called the Yacht Club. Though little remembered today, it was IWC’s most popular model of the late 1960s and 1970s. IWC resurrected the Yacht Club in 2010, in a new chronograph version, and incorporated it into its Portuguese collection. WatchTime tested the modern version of the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club.

Like other Portuguese models, the Yacht Club has a big case (45.5 millimeters), Arabic numerals and a railroad-track-style minutes ring. Unlike other Portuguese watches, it has a gaggle of sailing-themed features: push-pieces shaped like bollards, a seafaring red-and-white color scheme and luminous hands and markers that can be read even in a thick, offshore fog. It immediately became the sportiest Portuguese model. The case deserves much praise for its fine craftsmanship; its unusual bezel, which widens in a smooth slope from bottom to top; and its beautifully contrasting, polished and satin-finished surfaces.

The dial is very large, more than 40 millimeters wide, and is quite attractive and easy to read. Because it is black, it provides a high-contrast background for the silver-colored hour and minute hands. For greater legibility in the dark, 12 o’clock is marked with double markers. The only fly in the ointment, a tiny one, is the date display, which sits in an awkward position abutting the numeral “3.” Furthermore, it switches from one day to the next very sluggishly, beginning the shift an hour before midnight. The Yacht Club is the first Portuguese model to be fitted with Caliber 89360, which IWC developed in-house and launched in 2007. This caliber offers one very appealing benefit: its elapsed-hours and elapsed-minutes counters are combined in a single subdial in the upper half of the dial. They can be read easily at a glance, as if you’re reading the time in a second time zone. This feature is especially helpful in measuring long periods of time.

IWC Portuguese Yacht Club chronograph
The chronograph’s elapsed-hours and elapsed-minutes counters are combined in a single subdial at 12 o’clock.

Click here to download the full review of the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club, including specs, scores, and price.

This article was originally posted on June 19, 2012, and has been updated.

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