For 2024, IWC has honed in on its Portugieser collection for a full refit, bringing complex additions to the lineup like the new eternal calendar, perpetual calendar, and tourbillon. But the range’s lower end is where the brand’s fans might find the most mileage, with a total of eight new references to the Portugieser 40 and all-new Portugieser 42 segments. Covering all material bases from white gold to steel, the updates are a model of German efficiency, contributing maximum color options in the fewest possible number of variants. And with slimmer cases headlining the revision, the new Portugiesers are a nod to the burgeoning demand among the watch public for more svelte, androgynous timepieces that can retain performance and style.

Seen from afar, the new Portugiesers are most notably colorful, a bit of an oddity for IWC’s most staid collection in its catalog. That said, the baby blue (what the brand calls Horizon Blue) is as daring as it gets, but when paired with a color-matched alligator strap, it cuts a sharp image. The only black dial in the bunch is available only with a 5N rose gold case, and with its golden dial markings and hands, is certainly the most luxurious-looking one of the litter. Knowing the Portugieser crowd appreciates the classics, IWC plays the hits, ensuring that familiar combos are available like the Silver Moon dial with either gold or blue appliques, and the famous blue dial/rhodium combo that has come to define the collection. Another compelling type is the sandy “Dune” (no, not that Dune) colored dial that may be the last vestige of the beige-core that has consumed fashion for the past several years.

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Most notable are the new 42mm variants, a brand new addition to the Portugieser lineup. Fitting in somewhere between the three-hand 40mm and Portugieser Chronographs, the new 42s retain the small seconds subdial but shift it from the 6 o’clock spot to 9 o’clock. This being IWC, symmetry is paramount so the color-correct date window sits at the bottom of the dial while the 3 o’clock spot gains a power-reserve subdial indicating the caliber 52011’s impressive 7-day timekeeping capabilities. Flipped over, the energetic movement can be seen via the expansive sapphire caseback, providing a completely unobstructed view of the self-winding movement’s functions. Visually captivating, it’s arguably one of the best features of the new sub-collection. Even with the added thickness of an exhibition caseback paired with the 52011’s bonus functions, the new Portugieser 42s are only about 0.5mm thicker than their 3-hand brethren, measuring in at 13mm when seen in profile.

The Portugieser 40 — despite receiving just two new references — is still quite intriguing. But with gold-only case availability, it represents a decidedly more high-end option. Powered by IWC’s familiar self-winding 82200 caliber movement, it beats at a frequency of 4Hz while offering 60 hours of power reserve. What’s curious is the redesigned caseback. As opposed to the screwed backing of the existing Portugieser 40 models, the new variants feature an exhibition back that attaches to the backside of the lugs with four separate screws. While it seems this provides more visual real estate, it also adds a hair of thickness.

IWC’s updates to the Portugieser have shown the brand is committed to innovating the classically styled collection in 2024 — good news for the suit-and-tie crowd who, while not yet on the endangered species list, are certainly vulnerable. While few brands can match IWC’s abilities in power-reserve tech, such feats are relevant only to a subset of watch collectors who either treasure the mechanical genius required to make such a caliber or those with a Goldilocks-sized watch collection. As such, fans must wonder about the opportunity cost of continuing to develop high power-reserve movements and implement them in new models like the Portugieser 42. Regardless, the new Portugiesers are far from a misstep, capable of standing on their own merits of design and technical ability.

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The new IWC Portugieser 40 starts at $18,500 USD for the IW358401 rose gold and $19,500 USD for the IW358402 white gold while the new IWC Portugieser 42 watches start at $13,500 USD. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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