Witness to time

Portuguese Hand-Wound

Date — 18 January, 2010

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The Portuguese Hand-Wound (Reference 5454) is a contemporary witness to IWC’s Portuguese family of watches, which has been in existence since 1939. Often when the manufacturer celebrates a significant anniversary, it presents connoisseurs with an item that further extends that particular success story. That is once again the case with this unassuming beauty, which celebrates the family’s eighth decade.

The story lives on and impresses through its exceptional levels of achievement. This was already the case in 1993, when the Schaffhausen manufacturer brought the Portuguese watch from 1939 back into the present day as an outstanding example of its skill and expertise to mark the 125th anniversary of its founding. This provided the initial spark for the establishment of the Portuguese family, the most important range of watches from IWC Schaffhausen. The “IWC Vintage Collection”, issued to commemorate the manufacturer’s 140th birthday, was also not complete without a contemporary interpretation of this horological classic.

In 2010, the manufacturer’s “Year of the Portuguese”, in which this horological celebrity enters its eighth decade, the Portuguese Hand-Wound once again builds a bridge between the past and the present and adds another chapter to the story of this historic model. The manufacturer thus delights all connoisseurs of this horological beauty with two unlimited steel models. For it was in a stainless steel case with an original pocket watch movement that the first pocket watch-style wristwatch made its appearance seventy years ago.

The puristic Portuguese line, which combined a timeless, elegant design language with an ultimate degree of horological perfection even when first created, is considered by experts and collectors to be one of the very few watches which epitomizes good taste regardless of prevailing trends. Because only true values endure. Its characteristic design elements – shape of the case, size and design of the dial – are non-negotiable. As a result, it is easier to explain what distinguishes this novelty from earlier Portuguese models than what they have in common.

The Portuguese Hand-Wound in stainless steel with a black dial, rhodium-plated Arabic numerals and the characteristic feuille hands is conspicuous by its silver-plated seconds subdial with the distinctive detail of a “60” in signal red. Its sibling model with a silver-plated dial and rose gold-plated indices and hands stands out with its seconds subdial in light grey, also with a small red “60”. Features common to both are the typical chapter ring in the traditional railway-track style and, as the drive mechanism, the IWC-manufactured 98295 calibre with stylistic echoes of the first Jones movements, such as the nickel-silver three-quarter bridge and the elongated index to facilitate precision adjustment of the effective length of the spring.

The manufacturer recalls its roots with these two unassuming beauties – and once again pays a compliment to that very first Portuguese watch which approached so close to the ideal of a perfect mechanical watch such a long time ago.

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