The brand IWC is well on its way to making 2020 the “Year of the Portugieser” with a massive series of new models and variants announced at Watches & Wonders 2020. These range from incredible haute horlogerie complication models to new dial colors on certain models, but while it may not be as flashy as some, the update to the core three-hand Portugieser line has some dramatic implications for the future of the series as a whole. Announced with four separate versions, the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 takes the elegant base Portugieser design and adds a new compact 40mm case design and and a manufacture automatic movement for substantial added value.
The 40.4 mm case of the Portugieser Automatic 40 is flowing and classically handsome, if a bit on the thick side at 12.4mm. Available in both stainless steel and 18k 5N red gold, the all-over mirror polish helps to drive home the old-school 1930s inspiration of the design while creating an eye-catching, yet compact presence on the wrist. All four variants are also equipped with a sapphire display caseback.
While the case and movement might aim to bring innovation to the three-hand Portugieser lineup, the dial of the Portugieser Automatic 40 focuses, instead, on distilling the line’s signature elements. The clean, modern applied numerals, leaf hands, and railroad minutes track are all present here, but perhaps lose a touch of their distinctive character in the new more compact size. While the charm of the Portugieser dial has usually been in its wide, airy, and open feel, the crowding of elements closer together than before makes the simple forms feel much less unique and more reserved. There are four different variants, overall. These include a blue dial with rhodium hands and indices paired with the stainless steel case, along with a silver dial with 18k gold hands and numerals, available in either the stainless steel or 18k red gold cases. The most classical and perhaps the most attractive of the bunch, however, is the silver dial with blued leaf hands and matching numerals. Combined with the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, this colorway strongly emphasizes the marine chronometer undertones in the overall design while remaining undeniably IWC.
First debuting in 2018, the IWC manufacture caliber 82200 in the Portugieser Automatic 40 is manufactured fully in-house and relies on virtually wear-proof ceramic components for its proprietary Pellaton automatic winding system. Contrasting from the rest of the movement with its brushed black surfaces, Pellaton self-winding allows for more efficient bi-directional automatic winding of the movement, topping off a respectable 60-hour power reserve that supports a 28,800 bph sweep.
IWC pairs all four versions of the Portugieser Automatic 40 with an alligator-leather strap in a complementary color — deep tobacco brown for the gold case with gold markers, pure black for both the stainless steel case with gold markers and the blue dial with rhodium markers, and a rich navy for the silver dial and blue markers.
The IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 is a solid step forward toward more compact designs from the brand, but perhaps more importantly, the pivot towards manufacture movements could spell major changes for the Portugieser lineup as a whole. MSRP for the stainless steel models is set at $7,000 USD, while the 18k red gold cased variant will retail for $16,000 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.