Watch brand IWC is helping its fans to celebrate the year of the water rabbit with its latest release, the Portugieser Automatic 40 Edition “Chinese New Year.” The Automatic 40 is the entry point to the brand’s more formal Portugieser collection and is the cleanest and simplest time-only version. The line is normally available with more white, blue, or green dials, but this 500-piece limited edition adds a vibrant burgundy dial to the typically subdued model line. Originally a 2020 release, the Portugieser 40 line features a classic dress watch dial layout with small seconds at 6. Further classic elements include leaf-shaped hands, a vintage-style typeface for the hour numerals, and a railroad minute track.
According to IWC, burgundy is the color typically used to welcome the new year in China. The brand pairs this with a matching color calfskin leather strap on a deployant buckle, and also includes a more versatile black strap. At 40mm-wide and 12.3mm-thick, with 30m of water resistance, the case shares the same dimensions and specs as the standard models. This makes it the smallest model in the Portugieser line, but it appears larger due to the large dial and thin bezel. It is also thicker than some traditional dress watches, but it should still tuck under a cuff. Its case is rendered in fully polished stainless steel, but the hands and indices are gold-plated. It also features a domed sapphire crystal that is anti-reflective on both sides like the other models.
As in the regular production versions, the Chinese New Year edition (Ref. IW358315) is powered by IWC’s in-house manufactured 82200 calibre. It is constructed from 190 components and oscillates at 28,800 vph. IWC’s proprietary Pelaton winding system rotates on durable ceramic components to efficiently wind the movement, providing 60 hours of power reserve. In this new version, that winding is achieved with a unique rotor visible through a transparent sapphire caseback. The rotor is gold-plated and cast in the form of a rabbit to commemorate the year. Surrounding that, the case back ring displays the engraving “2023 YEAR OF THE RABBIT.”
As in other areas of fashion, the watch world goes through color cycles. In recent years, we’ve seen blue, and then green dials become very popular. More recently we’ve been seeing colors trending toward the other end of the spectrum, with deep reds and purple becoming more prevalent, as well as a number of brands releasing pink dials. Whether or not you celebrate the Chinese New Year, this deep red dial color is an attractive addition to the model line. I imagine that a variety of IWC fans will be considering it.
The Portugieser Automatic 40 Edition “Chinese New Year” (reference IW358315) is available now at the IWC Tmall Flagship Store and IWC WeBoutique. It will also be available through IWC boutiques, selected retail partners, or online. It is priced at $8,450 USD. This makes it a $1,000 premium over the standard steel leather strap models or the same price as the version with a bracelet. The increased cost does get you the unique rotor as well as a second strap, plus the exclusivity of being a limited model. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.