Even with the glamour and appeal of diamonds, combined with the understated romance of these dials, a watch still can fail if its overall design is not equally beautiful. Here, the new Portofino models reveal a restrained elegance with their classic round cases, thin bezels and straight lugs. They do so further with their simple markers for each five minutes and thin Roman numerals at 12 and 6, and with their gently curved leaf hands. This, then, is beautifully classic. It is subtle and simple, and with a proportioned elegance.
IWC also takes this purity and adds two models with complications, although here the word may be a misnomer. They aren’t complicated in the sense of cluttering the dial or making the watch gaudy. Instead, both add to the romance of the watch. One discretely reveals a second time zone. The other shows the moon phase, always a romantic icon. But more than that, the Portofino line was born in 1984 with a moon phase. This is IWC, transcending itself to the next level.
Watch collectors often simply accept design uncritically, and this can be a serious mistake. A great watch foremost must be beautiful. Grace and charm have intrinsic value.
The new midsize Portofinos possess much more, both in what they evoke and what they are. They juxtapose restraint and glamour. The show finesse and they evoke romance. The new Portofinos are art, in the highest and best sense of the word. They will always be in style and they will always reflect time-tested fine taste.