October 20, 2015
by Ariel Adams
Some history before I get into the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date Watch. When IWC re-launched the Portofino collection a few years ago, I welcomed it with muted acceptance. Sure, IWC needed a slightly original yet highly conservative entry-level to mid-range casual dress watch that was missing from its collection. The IWC Portofino made a lot of sense from a marketing perspective but I, as an aficionado, want to be impressed with refined designs, new movements, tough sport watches, and cool technology stories. I change watches so much, something simple and understated just doesn’t appeal to me.
So that is the story of my thoughts on the IWC Portofino collection until now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, on the right wrist, the IWC Portofino is very handsome or sexy. With that said, I think I’ve found the IWC Portofino watch that, for me, not only helps the collection find its personality, but that also excites the watch nerd in me.
Inside of the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date watch (I know, the name leaves so much to be desired) is a new and really nice-looking in-house made IWC movement that should be really desirable for anyone who thinks of a watch movement as a cool little engine. While I am not usually interested in hand-wound watches, the presence of a power reserve indicator with a very long power reserve and modern operating frequency does tend to get my attention. Especially when it is packaged so nicely.
People sometimes complain the modern IWC watches cost too much. It is true that some of their models are extremely expensive for what it feels like you are getting, even if IWC’s technical people disagree with you. Also, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date isn’t exactly cheap, but for about $13,000, I think you are getting a lot of watch for the money with a really nicely finished movement and classic design that will still look sharp with the right outfit 30 years from now.
IWC has sort of over-shadowed their Portofino collection for men by releasing a 37mm-wide model intended for women. While the 40mm-wide IWC Portofino Automatic is a slim classic for men, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date comes in a large 45mm-wide case that is 13mm thick. The best part is that the movement appears to take up a large amount of the case which makes it feel like it isn’t any larger than it needs to be.
IWC has designed the manufacture caliber 59220 movement to offer the time with subsidiary seconds dial, day of the week dial, big date indicator, and power reserve indicator – all arranged in a balanced, easy-to-read layout on the main dial. There is an almost flat yet cool look to the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date which reminds of how some Ressence timepieces look. Yes, really – in that cool way.
The movement has a long 192 hours of power reserve (that is eight days) while operating at a respectable 4Hz (28,800 bph). Watch lovers will appreciate a lot of the minor quality details that went into the movement engineering such as gold screws on the balance wheel, a Breguet overcoil on the balance spring, and hacking seconds. The movement also really looks nice and, as a package, just works really well for me. I am OK that it is not an automatic, and that is a rare thing for me to say.