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IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

What is it about the appeal of a classic monopusher chronograph? We are looking at possibly one of the most fitting answers to that question: with the reference 5151 IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph, IWC has checked all the boxes with a beautiful dressy chronograph, backed by an impressive movement in a watch fitting of the Portofino name.

In the metal, this 45mm-wide IWC Portofino is large, but far from brash or blingy. Available in either 18k white or red gold, the white gold model has a slate colored dial with a brushed surface treatment, while the red gold has a silvery white dial. As we will see throughout our hands-on look here, the IWC Portofino family walks a line between classic and modern, blurring the edges of dressy and casual in a way that often seems effortless.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher is indeed large, when you flip it over and view the movement through the display case back, you get a better sense of why the case is just so… generously sized. Like the stretched hood of a V12 E-Type, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph houses IWC’s rather handsome and entirely massive calibre 59360. The 59360 is a hand-wound movement with time, date, a power reserve indication, and a 60-minute chronograph that is activated, stopped, and reset via a single button embedded in the crown. Ticking at 4Hz with a power reserve of 192 hours (8 days), the chronograph mechanism is modular and features a column wheel.

Not always the case with modular calibers (as, unlike here, the modules are often installed on the dial side of the movement), with the IWC Portofino, we are given the chance to scrutinize how the chronograph function’s parts have been installed on IWC’s powerful 59000 base caliber that supplies enough go-juice for eight full days. The large but sufficiently sized and shaped plates that secure most additional wheels of the chronograph cover only about 1/4th of the movement, leaving plenty of room to explore the base caliber underneath and see the substantially sized column wheel in operation after every press on the pusher.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Despite its modular architecture, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph is only 13mm thick, making it no more cumbersome on wrist than most simple sport watches. The movement is treated to a lovely finish that accents its open design and lack of a winding rotor. With an index-less balance and Breguet spring, the 59360 features vertical striping and beveled edges on the main plates.

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The dial design is delicate and direct, using a successful mix of classic and more modern elements (like the red accents on the sub dials and power reserve). Legibility is strong and the view of the dial is preserved with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The markers are applied and catch the light with a glimmer that is nicely matched by the tone and color of the precious metal case options.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

On wrist, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher feels like a power move. It’s large but classic and the more complicated layout of the dial is belied by the simple lines of the case, which is wide but features minimal lugs. The thin bezel further enlarges the overpowering visual effect of the wide dial, while the clean lines and non-cluttered layout save the IWC Portofino from being too much, aesthetically.

Naturally, the mono-pusher chronograph movement omits the double-pushers commonly seen on other stopwatches, as now the single pusher for the chronograph has been integrated into the already rather large crown. Consequently, the crown-pusher piece protrudes considerably from the already massive case and hence yes, from time to time, the crown and the pusher will dig into the skin on your wrist. Still, the end result is a very classic, effortlessly dressy – and perhaps a bit nerdy. Kudos to IWC for a classic design that doesn’t directly mimic the aesthetic of a vintage model.

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Finished with a matching – and indeed genuinely beautifully crafted – alligator strap from Santoni and a matched 18k gold tang buckle, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph retails for $25,400 for the red gold and $27,100 for the white gold with the slate dial. Large and in charge, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher Chronograph combines IWC’s considerable mechanical knowhow with their take on a modern yet classically inspired dress chronograph. iwc.com

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Comments

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  • Very nice – both of them. The gray dial has a class and cool factor while the white dialed one is sublime. Too bad about the mono-pusher digging into the wrist. Outside of being a bit large (in size and price), these are nicely done pieces.

  • IanE

    Not bad (steel next, one hopes!). Personally – and very subjectively, of course – I prefer the day/date Portofino whose dial feels more balanced. The only detail that I would change in the Portofinos is the main hands which taper too quickly for my taste.

    • DanW94

      Agree with you on the hands, considering the amount of real estate to the chapter ring, the taper could have been less pronounced. More noticeable on the white dial.

  • SuperStrapper

    I think the white dial version cheapens the presence of this watch, but the slate dial is amazing. Really well done, I just would have preferred dedicated chronograph pushers over the mono.

  • Twinbarrel

    Beautiful piece and they matched the right strap maker with these. Unfortunate you can’t offset the crown/pusher away from 3 O’clock so it wouldn’t dig into your wrist and being more practical at a stopwatch position. But still… Fabulous piece.

    • Well they could have rotated things but the results might looks so good.

      • Twinbarrel

        Hmmm.. Yeah
        Thanks for buying that watch Mark and tinker with it a bit to show us what it looked like. Apparently it isn’t that hard because you changed it in a day. Could you buy another one and move it to 10 O’clock? I’m still not sold. 😉
        Buy a white gold this time to mess with if you don’t mind.

        • A better solution would be not to rotate the movement within the case but rather to re-design the movement to have the crown at 2 or 4 or wherever. Actually that would be an even easier mock-up to make (but I’m headed out for wine and cheese with the neighbors right now).

          • Twinbarrel

            Enjoy your evening Mark. Thank you though. I have seen your altered photo manipulations before and it does offer a pretty good rendering. I’m not really in the market for this watch of course but I will say this: having used an actual stopwatch in the past was pretty useful holding it in my left hand either squeezing my thumb or index finger to produce data. I’ve tried using this function on a watch while still on my left wrist… but now using my right hand for it. It feels uncomfortable to me. It would work better for me to hold the watch in my hand but this timepiece feels too valuable to take that risk if you know what I mean.

          • Another approach would be to separate the chronograph pusher from the crown. Still a mono-pusher but with a slimmer profile. That plus a thinner crown and voila, a more wearable watch (in theory anyway – easier to hack at a photo than to actually produce a watch, ha ha).

          • Another approach would be to separate the chronograph pusher from the crown. Still a mono-pusher but with a slimmer profile. That plus a thinner crown and voila, a more wearable watch (in theory anyway – easier to hack at a photo than to actually produce a watch).

          • Looking something like this

          • Twinbarrel

            SOLD!!
            Seriously, that’s a huge improvement. I don’t know why it was so important to have only one crown/pusher in the first place.
            Thanks again Mark. Being at your party tonight, I hope this didn’t affect your social engagements where it seemed you had something on your mind… or that it was a welcome distraction. It could go either way sometimes.
            Happy New Year by the way Mark.

          • No problem and happy new year to you too.

      • Twinbarrel

        Thanks btw Mark. I honestly expected it to look much better but, although the watch itself is absolutely beautiful (and that strap, ohh..), there’s something about that mono pusher that just doesn’t belong with it.

  • wallydog2

    Beautiful piece. Just for the sake of argument, may I ask when was the last time anyone really needed quarter-minute markers? $27k: ouch!

    • IanE

      Quarter-minute markers? Nope, but quarter seconds for the chronograph – perhaps!

  • Mark Baran

    Nice overall design aesthetics. 45mm? Really? With a mono-pushed crown? I am happy to see that IWC continues to source their strap leather from Santoni. Santoni produces some really nifty color variations differentiating away from “basic brown.” The red that comes through on the red gold case version is very nice.

  • BNABOD

    looks really nice but again it is just too big at 45 not even including the over-inflamed crowned at 3. the movement is indeed ginormous so I am not sure if they could shrink the case 3-4-5 mm but it sure would be a nicer fit. now that cognac strap looks fantastic btw.

    • Sevenmack

      I would disagree. Given that this is a chronograph, and traditioonally, chronos are larger than dress watches, 45mm is a semsible size. All in all, IWC has given us another nice watch.

  • Mike Burdine

    Very nice. I really like the slate dial. 27K is the only problem.

  • Ulysses31

    A beautiful watch, but the crown is too big and clumsy looking, though it may be that large to accommodate the pusher.

  • Shinytoys

    IWC can do very little wrong in my book. I’ve been a long time fan.

  • Chaz

    Nice but personally I feel Georges has put way too many of IWC’s eggs into the “huge watch” basket. Can they ever even downsize now that they’ve developed so many monstrous new calibers?

    Lovely straps though…

  • Larry Holmack

    I’m loving the white dial with rose gold case!!! 45 mm’s may seem to big for some guys…but not for me! In fact…it’s a little smaller than what I normally wear…..but if I had the kind of disposable income needed for one…it really wouldn’t bother me.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      I have one in each reference, of course, and I can confirm that they rest perfectly on my average-sized 5 1/4″ wrists with a perfect air of practiced pretentiousness.

      • IanE

        ‘ 5 1/4″ wrists ‘ – ah, hence your name!

      • DanW94

        Whoa, go easy there Hulkster. I’m not sure those those pathetic, toothpick sized, famine developed noodles you call wrists can handle this IWC…. An affected gentleman like yourself always knows their limits.

        • SuperStrapper

          Is the real Ben that small? Not that I care, but his stalker here uses that bit too much. The whole act is beyond stale, but that note in particular is well used.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What a lovely piece to start the new year with. the white face/red gold is just so classic ( ok its got a chronograph but its not in your face). Being a leftie , I am well use to the crown digging in to me. Left or right wrist ? Ive seen them on both, must just be personal preference.

  • Richard Baptist

    I love everything about this watch except the price. Outstanding engineering!

  • Beefalope

    It’s fine … that’s about it.

    But 45mm is way too big for a dressier watch, it makes no sense that it’s currently only offered in precious-metal cases, and there are many watches that are much more appealing at this price point.

    IWC continues to master mediocrity.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Bit harsh but you go right ahead and give your opinion.

  • Marius

    Nice watch, but, in my opinion, it has two problems. Firstly, the most iconic and good looking IWC models have always been the Portugiese and the Pilots. The Portofino, at least for me, looks like a cheaper alternative of the Portugiese, sort of a budget version.
    Secondly, as some readers argued, the price is too high, pushing this watch in a territory where, for almost the same price, you could easily buy a Lange 1, or a Patek Calatrava.

  • spiceballs

    And its a another very nice (from me) for a well-executed piece, but for the price – – – sigh!

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