One of the most modern IWC Portuguese watches actually has the term “Classic” in its name which is a very Swiss way of introducing a new timepiece. 2013 saw the introduction of this IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic, that added a new “in-house” flavor to the iconic Portuguese collection. It was a quiet launch after SIHH as 2013 was mostly about the Ingenieur family of watches. Nevertheless IWC is dedicated to expanding not only this successful and historical product family, but also continuing to offer as many pieces with in-house movements as possible. Let’s take a close look at it.
We first debuted the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic here. In that previous article you’ll get a better understanding of what separates the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic from the standard IWC Portuguese Chronograph. In short, the two models are different sizes, with different cases and dials, as well as different movements. To be honest, both are good choices if you are a Portuguese lover – as each as its high-points – but the Chronograph Classic should be considered a higher-end item given the more sophisticated in-house made movement.
The two most important details you’ll want to know about the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic are that it has a 42mm wide case (available in steel or as seen here in 18k rose gold) and that it contains the IWC caliber 89361 in-house made automatic chronograph movement. 42mm is a good size for the Portuguese and compared to the non “Classic” models these watches have thicker, more masculine looking cases. You have beefier lugs as well as a thicker bezel that has now been rounded versus given a more flat shape. While the 42mm wide case is larger, it has a smoother appearance given all the soft curves of the case. Some people will prefer the more minimalist angular approach of the standard Portuguese but it is really a matter of taste and how the watch sits on your wrist.
It is very worth mentioning that our review unit came with a faux alligator strap, which does not look nearly as nice as the straps you’d get if buying this watch. Why? Well, because importing alligator (which is often ironic as alligator comes from the US originally) and other skins from endangered species into the USA, must be done through an official CITES compliant manner through customs. Because this is expensive and time-consuming, foreign brands often use fake alligator straps from leather on the items we get to review for you that they bring to the US. That isn’t universally the case, but if you see a terrible looking strap on an otherwise nice watch, that is the reason. Having said that, we, of course, have seen the retail alligator straps that come on the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic watches. They are made by Santoni and are beautiful. Unlike the red wine stained look of this strap, the Santoni straps are a more rich woody brown with a beautiful feel and texture. IWC tends to not mess around when it comes to nice straps.