SIHH Preview: IWC Launches a New Portofino Collection

Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days

The original IWC Portofino ref. 5251, introduced in the early 80s, has achieved cult status. That 46mm x 6mm icon with its 16 3/4 lignes caliber 9521 pocket watch movement proved a prescient preview of things to come. At SIHH 2011, IWC will debut four new Portofino models.

UPDATE: Look inside for pricing information and launch dates.

2011 is the year of the Portofino family at IWC, and the least conspicuous way of wearing an IWC is the Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565). This classic model now comes in a 40mm case which, thanks to a reworking of the design, makes the watch look even slimmer. Its classic shape is reminiscent of the IWC models from the 1960s, without looking “retro.” The Portofino Automatic will be available in red gold with a silver-plated dial, and in stainless steel with a choice of silver-colored or black dials.

The Portofino Chronograph (Ref. 3910) comes in at 42mm with more rounded contours and flowing lugs. Buyers have a choice of silver-plated or black dial in a stainless-steel case. The Portofino Chronograph is powered by the tried-and tested 79320 caliber with a 44-hour power reserve and automatic winding with a ball-bearing rotor.

Both the Portofino Automatic and the Portofino Chronograph can be individualized with either a strap or bracelet. IWC now gives owners the option of a Milanese mesh bracelet like the ones so popular in the 1960s.

The new Portofino Dual Time (Ref. 3610) is designed for frequent fliers. Time zones can be changed and the date reset via the crown. The 24-hour display, positioned in the upper half of the dial, shows the home time via a red hand that completes a full revolution once a day. Local time is displayed conventionally with the hour and minute hands.

Using the crown, in position 1, the hour hand can be advanced or turned back in one-hour steps. If the hour hand moves into another day, the date adjusts accordingly, forward or back. Two barrels ensure a power reserve of 72 hours. The twin barrels benefit from a bidirectional pawl-winding system. The movement can be viewed through the transparent sapphire-glass back. The Portofino Dual Time is available in a solid red gold case with a black dial and red gold indices and numerals, and in stainless steel with a choice of either a black or a silver-plated dial.

The Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days (Ref. 5101) is the flagship of the Portofino family. Ticking away inside the case is the new IWC-manufactured movement from the 50000-caliber family. With its 37.8-millimeter diameter, the 59210 caliber is the same size as a pocket watch movement, but its design is thoroughly modern. The contemporary movement design, with its large bridges and plates, is robust and reliable.

The red gold Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days comes with a slate-colored dial, with indices made of solid red gold. There are also two steel models with either a black or silver-plated dial.

The Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days and the Portofino Dual Time are offered with new leather straps by the luxury Italian shoe manufacturer Santoni. Available in brown and black, the straps undergo a complex process that gives them a slight patina before they leave the workshop. The technique makes brand-new leather look as if it has already been lovingly cared for over a period of several years.

UPDATE: Here are some sample prices and launch dates:

– Portofino Auto in stainless steel on black alligator strap – $4,200 – Launch in April/May

– Portofino Chronograph in stainless steel on brown alligator strap – $5,500 – Launch in April/May

– Portofino Hand-Wound 8 Days in stainless steel on black Santoni strap – $10,000 – Launch in Summer 2011

– Portofino Dual time in red gold on brown Santoni strap – $17,600 – Launch in Fall 2011

The new Portofinos will be available at both IWC boutiques and authorized agents.

These images of the 8 Days in stainless steel may be enlarged with a click.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days
Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days
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