April 24, 2020
by Bilal Khan
The IWC Yacht Club was reintroduced 10 years ago now when it was revived as part of the Portugieser family. Now, as part of Watches & Wonders 2020 (online edition), IWC has given the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph its third facelift and has finally introduced a bracelet option for this “nautical sports watch” family. Of the three new models being introduced, two are done in steel, while the third is a two-tone steel and rose gold version.
With the new Yacht Club Chronograph collection, IWC is doing what great brands always do, and that is refine and iterate their products. The new case is actually slightly bigger than the existing model (which measures 43.5mm-wide and 14.1mm-thick) at 44.6mm-wide and 14.4mm-thick. However, the new filigreed bezel and flat casing ring that’s shared with the new Moon & Tide edition allows for a sleeker and more streamlined look, overall. Water resistance is the same, at 60M. Remember, it’s “yacht,” not “dive.”
The dial layout is a little different, with the IWC logo moved from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, the “Yacht Club” text moved from the 6 o’clock subdial to 9 o’clock, and the date window moved from 3 o’clock to now being housed within the 6 o’clock subdial. Notably, the date window now matches the either blue or silver dial of the watch. On the blue version of the outgoing model, the date window was done in white.
The chronograph hand is no longer red, rather it matches the hour and minute hands (which are the only to be lumed in the Portugieser family), done in rhodium, gold, or blued steel (the latter of which looks fantastic, in my opinion, as do the similarly blued hour markers against the silver dial). There is some red left, with the hacking seconds hand at the 6 o’clock subdial now adding that jolt of color. You’ll also notice the guilloché pattern on the running seconds subdial. The hour/minute counter at 12 o’clock remains largely the same.
As for the bracelets, these are quite similar to those found on the Ingenieur, though they are 22mm-wide, as opposed to 20mm. With alternating brushed end links and polished center links, IWC has finally successfully offered the Yacht Club on a bracelet. As much as I like a rubber strap, it always perplexed me why a bracelet wasn’t an option.
Through the exhibition caseback, you can see the unchanged 89361 calibre. This automatic flyback chronograph movement operates. at 28,800 vph and has a 68-hour power reserve.
Sportier and thoroughly more refined than the second-generation Portugieser Yacht Club, these three new watches are a welcome breath of fresh air to the collection. My personal favorite is the steel with silver dial, though the two-tone brings its own unique charm to the equation. It does come at a hefty premium over the other two, however. The IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronographs in steel with blue dial (Ref. IW390701) and silver dial (Ref. IW390702) are each priced at $13,000 USD. The two-tone steel and gold IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph (Ref. IW390703) is priced at $20,000 USD. You can learn more at iwc.com.