The elegant way to stop time

Portofino Chronograph

Date — 16 January, 2011

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—Inspired by the classical, functional design that characterised the Italian sports cars of the 1960s, the Portofino Chronograph (Reference 3910) is distinguished by clear, generous dimensions and restrained lines

Does a chronograph have a place in a watch family widely regarded as the soul of discretion? Certainly, as long as the elements designed for recording cumulative time are as smoothly integrated as those within the Portofino Chronograph. The combination of elegance with dynamism is reminiscent of a 1960s sports car or the timeless style of a sleek Italian speedboat that, to this day, has lost none of its attraction.

Simply being able to stop time: it’s something most of us would like to do occasionally, including the fans of the Portofino watch family. It was for these fans and all other devotees of elegant sports watches that IWC Schaffhausen launched the Portofino Chronograph in 2007. But, unlike a car with ultra-wide tyres and big spoilers, it makes no exhibition of its sporting ambitions. If anything, it has the same exciting, but somehow understated, dynamism of an Italian sports car from the 1960s. The displays and stopwatch controls are so elegantly integrated that they underscore the classical shape and design of the Portofino Chronograph.

In 2011, the design of the Portofino Chronograph will be even more finely balanced, its lines more discreet than ever before. The diameter has been increased minimally by one millimetre to 42, while the slightly more rounded contours of the case and gently flowing strap horns are distinctly pleasing on the eye. They are complemented by slim chronograph push-buttons with eye-catching heads of the type you might find in the cockpit of an Italian sports car.

Although equally restrained, the chronograph dial is perfectly functional too. The cumulative stopwatch displays are aligned vertically, with the 30-minute counter at “12 o’clock” and the 12-hour counter at “6”. IWC’s designers permitted themselves one tiny optical extravagance and made the figure 30 in the minute counter, and the 12 in the hour counter, stand out in red. By contrast, the small seconds at “9 o’clock” is decidedly low key and elegantly counterbalances the day and date displays on the opposite side of the dial. The colour of the displays matches the colour of the dial in question. The buyer has a choice of a silver-plated or black dial. The appliquéd Roman numerals and indices look almost as if one could reach out and touch them, thanks also to the sapphire glass, which has an antireflective coating on both sides. The Portofino Chronograph is powered by the tried-and-tested 79320 calibre with a 44-hour power reserve and automatic winding with a ball-bearing rotor.

Apart from the classical alligator leather straps, the Portofino Chronograph is also available with a cool but snug-fitting Milanese mesh bracelet, which underscores the watch’s elegant character. The new bracelets can be ordered in three different lengths and adjusted in five-millimetre increments to ensure a perfect fit on any wrist.

Portofino Chronograph

—A model with a cumulative stopwatch function is an essential in the Portofino watch family. The Portofino Chronograph (Reference 3910) masterfully combines sports watch appeal

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