Date — 26 March, 2013
Schaffhausen, 27 March 2013 – The Portuguese collection from Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen are masterpieces of precision engineering. The delight of watch lovers round the globe for over 70 years, they are landmarks in the history of mechanical timekeeping. Two elegant and stylish newcomers now grace this successful IWC watch family: the Portuguese Chronograph Classic and the Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound.
Since its inception, the purist Portuguese line has combined an elegant and timeless language of form with uncompromising horological perfection. Benchmarks of good taste, these chronometers concede nothing to the whims of fashion. The tradition behind the IWC Portuguese family stretches back to the precision nautical instruments once used by navigators to discover the world. Over half a millennium later, in the late 1930s, two Portuguese businessmen working in the watch sector visited the Schaffhausen factory and commissioned wrist watches to match the accuracy of a marine chronometer. The first Portuguese, in 1939, came fitted with a pocket watch movement. The IWC watch line has endured over 70 years since then and is a firm favourite amongst the world’s watch lovers, who appreciate its sheer size, precision and complex mechanics.
The new Portuguese Chronograph Classic (Ref. 3904) brings exceptional elegance and classically inspired design to this popular collection, though the redesigned watch has a surprisingly independent look. This third chronograph member of the Portuguese dynasty preserves the identity and cultural heritage of the legendary originals of the 1930s. The timepiece comes complete with appliquéd Arabic numerals, a railway-track-style chapter ring and slender feuille hands. An arched-edge front glass makes this slim beauty’s 42-millimetre diameter seem smaller than it is. The traditional type of glass used admirably sets off the language of form, lending a well-balanced and classical impression. Powering the Portuguese Chronograph Classic is an IWC-manufactured 89361 calibre, developed specifically to record time spans of up to 12 hours on a subdial. The result is as bold and easy to read as a clock face. The sapphire-glass back reveals the 89361 calibre and the rotor, resplendent in Geneva stripes. The Portuguese Chronograph Classic is available in 18-carat rose gold or stainless steel, both with silver-plated or slate-coloured dial.
The Portuguese collection is famed for combining the tradition of nautical instruments with contemporary design and futuristic mechanics. The Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound (Ref. 5463) is a refined expression of this synthesis. Ideal for big, hand-wound wristwatches such as this, the 98900 calibre marks the apogee of a long line of forebears from the Schaffhausen works. The stylistically minimalist case in 18-carat white gold or 18-carat rose gold supremely embodies unadorned understatement. However, the presence of the flying tourbillon at “9 o’clock” is an unmistakeable sign that this timepiece boasts the finest components which impressively reflect IWC’s watchmaking flair. The tourbillon rotates once round its axis every 60 seconds. This offsets the pull of gravity on any disequilibrium in the balance wheel, which may affect the rate of the watch. The new front glass with arched edge makes the Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound seem very flat, enhancing its classic, balanced lines. The choice of dial suits the case – slate-coloured for the 18-carat white gold variant and silver-plated for the 18-carat red gold. The IWC-manufactured 98900-calibre movement, with its intricately decorated nickel-silver three-quarter bridge, can be admired through the transparent sapphire-glass back. The 98000-calibre family has been in production since the 1920s and has evolved further, blending tradition with the latest technical advances. For the Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound, IWC engineers have increased the balance frequency to 28,800 beats per hour, which ensures excellent precision.
Every Santoni strap is lovingly finished with manual artistry to lend an exclusive patina look with individual colour shade
The Portuguese Chronograph Classic and the Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound are both fitted with exquisite leather straps from the House of Santoni. This Italian family firm specializes in nuanced dyeing of leather. Every Santoni strap is lovingly finished with manual artistry to lend an exclusive patina look with individual colour shade. To achieve this effect, Santoni craftsmen polish the leather surface with various pastes until they take on the desired shading and a perfect sheen. Santoni’s elegant leather products epitomize masterly craftsmanship and the highest quality.
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