IWC’s undisputed biggest news of 2021 was its launch, during Watches & Wonders, of the BP43, a more modestly sized iteration of its iconic and famously huge Big Pilot’s Watch. More recently, the Schaffhausen-based manufacture has opted to continue the downsizing trend with three new models in its elegant Portofino collection, the first Portofino Chronographs to come in a new reduced case diameter of 39 mm.
The Portofino Chronograph 39 models are outfitted with either a black, green, or silver-plated dial. All the cases are in stainless steel and measure 39 mm in diameter and 12.8 mm thick — a “very wearable” size, according to IWC, that is reduced from the 42-mm dimensions of previous versions of the Portofino Chronograph. The dials all bear the stylistic cues of the Portofino collection, which debuted in 1984, including the classical combination of simple stick hour markers and Roman numerals. On the chronograph models, the latter are largely displaced by subdials at 12 and 6 o’clock, for 30 elapsed minutes and running seconds, respectively.
Each watch has distinct, contrasting details: the black- and silver-dial models feature gold-plated hands and markers, while the green-dialed watch uses rhodium-plating for those features. The black, green, and silver dials are matched up with, again respectively, brown, green, and black alligator leather straps. The classically rounded cases are water resistant to 30 meters, with solid casebacks, convex sapphire crystals, and pump-style chronograph pushers flanking the fluted crown.
Behind those steel casebacks, IWC has installed the automatic Caliber 79350, the tried-and-true, ETA 7750-based movement found in chronograph models throughout IWC’s collection. It includes 31 jewels, ticks at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz), and holds a 44-hour power reserve. In addition to its integrated stopwatch — and the date and day display that have been excised from the base movement for increased dial simplicity — the movement includes a hacking seconds function that allows for precise time setting and resetting.
The IWC Portofino Chronograph 39 is priced at $5,600, available now on IWC’s e-commerce site, with availability at boutiques and IWC’s retail network to follow shortly.