IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic Watch

IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic Watch


Welcome a new generation of IWC Portuguese with the Portuguese Chronograph Classic. From a marketing perspective, IWC has been dedicating each year to a particular watch collection. 2013 is all about the Ingenieur, but again, that is just from a marketing and PR perspective. There is more on the IWC plate. Another new release for 2013 is rather important for fans of the Portuguese collection. Updated and arguably more sporty than ever, this is the best Portuguese chronograph watch to date. Called the Portuguese Chronograph Classic, it builds on the design of the Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph that was originally debuted in 2012 (hands-on here).

The Portuguese Chronograph Classic isn't meant to replace the standard Portuguese Chronograph, but rather to offer a different flavor. It borrows heavily (including the movement) from the Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph, and is a sort of hybrid model between the sportier Yacht Club and the standard Chronograph. Compared to the standard Chronograph, the Classic is larger, contains an in-house made IWC automatic chronograph movement, has a revised dial, higher-end strap, and more aggressively designed case.


IWC Portuguese chronograph watches compared

In the comparison image above you can see just how different the two Portuguese Chronograph models are, even though at a glance they are very similar. The sportier case is 42mm wide versus 40.1mm wide, further wearing larger due to the thick lugs (note that the Classic is also 2mm thicker). Having said that, the dial on the original Chronograph is liable to appear a bit larger given its thinner bezel. Unlike the lume-filled hands of the Yacht Club, the Classic has similar thick hands, but they instead have a dark colored strip bisecting them. It in an interesting touch.

Both models have similar applied Arabic numeral hour markers and slightly recessed chronograph subdials. One thing lacking on the Classic is a sloped flange ring, which the normal Chronograph does have. The flange ring is a feature I personally like and helps the dial look larger, and of course cleaner. Not having a flange ring allows the bezel to be a bit more burly, and results in a dial that is probably intentionally more cluttered and instrument-like versus formal in style. While the standard Portuguese Chronograph has a monochromatic dial, the Classic has sporty red accents. I am extremely happy to see that the dial does not contain a tachymeter or some other useless scale that no one uses.

Portuguese Chronograph Classic watch dial


For most watch lovers, the biggest difference between the two Portuguese chronograph watches won't be the extra millimeter in size or the different case design, but rather the movement. The Portuguese Chronograph contains an IWC caliber 79350 which is a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph which is reworked a bit by IWC. The Portuguese Chronograph Classic however contains the IWC in-house made caliber 89361 automatic chronograph (with a flyback complication). Both watches have a bi-compax subdial array, but the caliber 89361 uses the upper dial to indicate both the minutes and hours (with two hands) - making it possible to measure up to 12 hours versus 30 minutes. It is true that the base 7750 is able to measure 12 hours, but IWC removes the hour counter for style purposes for these watches. Also, the Chronograph Classic has a date window, while the standard Chronograph has the date feature not visible on the dial. The caliber 89361 also has a longer power reserve of 68 hours.

From a style perspective there is an argument to be made about each of the dials, but collectors will no doubt enjoy the extra functionality of the Classic version of the Portuguese Chronograph. At launch there will be four versions of the new Portuguese available. Either steel or 18k red gold with a silver-plated or ardoise dial. Each comes with a case-fitted Santoni alligator strap. Really a solid collection, and certainly something to consider if you've been eying a Portuguese for a while. Prices for the steel Portuguese Chronograph Classic in steel is $13,000 (versus $7,900 for the Portuguese Chronograph), and $24,200 in 18k red gold (versus $16,400).


Mechanical chronograph movement
68-hour power reserve when fully wound
Date display
Stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds
Hour and minute counters combined at 12 o’clock
Flyback function
Small hacking seconds
See-through sapphire-glass back


Calibre: 89361
Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 38
Power Reserve: 68 h
Winding: automatic


Materials: Ref. IW390402: 18-carat red gold case, silver-plated dial, dark brown Santoni alligator leather strap, pin buckle in 18-carat red gold
Ref. IW390405: 18-carat red gold case, slate-coloured dial, black Santoni alligator leather strap, pin buckle in 18-carat red gold
Ref. IW390404: stainless-steel case, slate-coloured dial, black Santoni alligator leather strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Ref. IW390403: stainless-steel case, silver-plated dial, black Santoni alligator leather strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, arched edge, antireflective coating on both sides
Back: See-through sapphire glass
Water resistance: 3 bar
Diameter: 42 mm
Case height: 14.5 mm


  • Ulysses31

    Beautiful.  I could wear this watch every day and not lust after another.  Everything I like rolled into one.  Love the implementation of the chrono sub-dial; more watches should do it this way, relieving some clutter from the dial.

    • korbindallis

      Ulysses31 New Speedmaster

  • Kris C

    Lovely. I liked everything about it, and then the last picture of the steel case and charcoal dial stole my heart: what a beauty. The original Port. has always been a looker, and I’m sure many will stay faithful to it, but this new iteration attracts me a little more with it’s sturdier looks, longer pushers, unique handset, and cleaner dial even with longer chrono and date complication. Not to mention the manufacture movement.
    Well done.

  • aleximd2000

    i like everything on it mostly the date window but what I don’t understand is why they choose the wrong price
    make it a little cheaper man for example split by half
    This was a pamphlet so take it accordingly
    If I change my mind and won’t buy a panerai tuttonero this chrono classic will be the choice
    all the best watch nerds

    • MarkCarson

      aleximd2000 Totally agree – at half the price this would be very compelling. Even without the flange ring, I prefer the looks of this new ‘Classic’ over the standard Chrono. There is nothing shockingly unique about them, but these are very, very well executed watches.

  • Ryan B

    Most of my “grail” watches come from IWC, this being one of them.

    • aleximd2000

      yeah mine too
      my inge is indestructible as machine and as design too

  • DG Cayse

    Well Done IWC…again.
    Truly a timeless classic…(pun intended). While I usually do not care for multiple handed pieces, I will gladly accept acknowledge this classic watch as something worth leaving for the next generation to adore.
    “I am extremely happy to see that the dial does not contain a tachymeter or some other useless scale that no one uses.”…YES! Along with this rage to insert a ‘Helium Escape Valve’ into anything with a WR exceeding 100m, I find this as another useless gee-gaw that can be deleted from 99.5% of watches.
    Added note:
    I very much like the recent addition of the “Related Posts” graphic section. Good addition!

  • somethingnottaken

    I like the new movement, the dual purpose 12 o’clock subdial, and the red highlights on the dial. Otherwise, I prefer the older design for it’s minimalist case and simpler, more legible, dial.

  • aleximd2000

    if you put the older watch model on your hand and your hand is a little bit thicker then you will notice that the lugs are a little bit narrow in comparizon with the size of the case
    and man the date is missing
    I write all the and many times I need the date so if I wear a dateless watch I make the reflex movement several times like Pavlov’ s dog
    the rest is ok with the watch, exquisite finnisage

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