In 2003/2004, it experienced an under-stated relaunch with models in platinum and yellow gold. The striking baton-type hands were replaced by swallow-style hands, which added a touch more elegance. The dial itself – available silver-plated or in black – benefited from a more delicate, contemporary redesign. But apart from this, everything else remained unchanged.
Until 2010, that is, and the year of the Portugieser. For it was then that IWC made its most successful watch line and its spiritual ties with the famous Portugieser seafarers the focal point of all its activities: with a treasure trove of new Portugieser watches, and with the Portugieser Grande Complication in a 45-millimetre red gold case. And what a decision that was! When it comes to cases for its watches, IWC has probably never quite seen eye to eye with the ironically intended maxim, “Clothes make the man”, of its Swiss compatriot, Gottfried Keller. At least only insofar as it unerringly gives preference to substance over outward appearance. That, too, is a part of the brand identity. But with the move of the Grande Complication into the Portugieser family, the collection’s celebrated star has found an appropriate home.
For a certain time, the two models will be produced in parallel, but only within the prescribed limitations of a maximum of 50 watches per model and year. Which means that anyone who prefers the slightly smaller size of 42 millimetres, in platinum or rose gold, has that option. Whatever the choice, he – or she – will be one of the select few privileged to wear this particular watch on their wrist.