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IWC Portugieser: A Swiss Success Story
The Portugieser is one of the most popular and successful collections from IWC, especially the elegant chronograph models. One highlight is the Grande Complication with a perpetual calendar, chronograph function, and minute repeater.
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Classically Elegant Luxury Watches
The Portugieser from IWC Schaffhausen combines traditional values and design with state-of-the-art watch technology. The collection ranges from classically elegant chronographs and automatic three-hand watches to highly complicated timepieces with a perpetual calendar or minute repeater. The Portugieser gets its name from the Portuguese businessmen who commissioned IWC to make wristwatches with the accuracy of marine chronometers in the 1930s. IWC continues to design modern editions with these specifications in mind.
The Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia is IWC's pièce de résistance. This platinum tourbillon watch boasts a perpetual calendar, sidereal time, and star chart. Furthermore, this complicated wristwatch features a constant-force mechanism that guarantees optimal accuracy. IWC only produces a few copies of this extraordinary luxury watch each year.
The Portugieser Chronograph is one of the collection's bestselling and most affordable models. The in-house caliber 69355 powers more recent editions. While the movement is based on the Valjoux 7750, IWC produces and assembles every component at their own facilities. The 41-mm case is available in stainless steel or rose gold. You can choose from a silver, black, blue, green, or burgundy dial.
5 Reasons to Buy an IWC Portugieser
- Classic recognizable design
- Various complications from chronographs to perpetual calendars
- Portugieser Chronograph Classic with a flyback function
- Automatic model with the in-house caliber 52010 and 7-day power reserve
- Sidérale Scafusia with a constant-force tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and star chart
Prices at a Glance: IWC Portugieser
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, diameter|
|Grande Complication, IW377601||203,000 USD||Platinum, 45 mm|
|Minute Repeater, IW544907||71,000 USD||Rose gold, 44.2 mm|
|Perpetual Calendar, IW503406||53,000 USD||Platinum, 44.2 mm|
|Annual Calendar, IW503504||28,000 USD||Rose gold, 44.2 mm|
|Perpetual Calendar 42, IW344203||22,000 USD||Stainless steel, 42.4 mm|
|Chronograph Classic, IW390402||20,000 USD||Rose gold, 42 mm|
|Yacht Club Chronograph, IW390211||10,000 USD||Stainless steel, 43.5 mm|
|Automatic, IW500109||10,000 USD||Stainless steel, 42.3 mm|
|Chronograph, IW371604||7,800 USD||Stainless steel, 41 mm|
|Automatic 40, IW358303||7,100 USD||Stainless steel, 40.4 mm|
How much does an IWC Portugieser cost?
Prices for the IWC Portugieser begin around 4,500 USD for a pre-owned chronograph in good condition, and go all the way up to about 203,000 USD for a mint-condition platinum Grande Complication. In between, you'll find a wide variety of automatic timepieces, chronographs, and more complicated models like the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar and Portugieser Minute Repeater. The 44.2-mm Minute Repeater comes in rose gold and demands roughly 83,500 USD, while the Perpetual Calendar has a platinum case and sells for around 53,000 USD.
The Bestselling Portugieser Chronograph
Most people immediately associate this collection with the Portugieser Chronograph. A round case, Arabic numerals, narrow leaf-shaped hands, a small seconds at 6 o'clock, and a minute counter at 12 o'clock define this timepiece. IWC prioritized this model's readability and, thus, decided to forgo an hour counter and date display.
As of 2020, IWC outfits each Portugieser Chronograph with the in-house caliber 69355. This movement builds upon the Valjoux 7750 and is comprised of 194 components. It comes with a 46-hour power reserve, Geneva stripes, and perlage finishes. A sapphire crystal case back provides a view of the movement at work. Since it maintains the 7750's proportions, newer Portugieser Chronographs are the same size as their predecessors.
The Portugieser Chronograph's case is 41 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). This watch is not suitable for swimming. IWC mounts the model on an alligator leather strap. You can choose from a stainless steel or rose gold timepiece. The latter edition is available with a silver or slate gray dial. There are also Boutique Editions with a blue dial available. Be sure to have around 17,500 USD on hand for a rose gold Portugieser Chronograph.
The stainless steel versions are much more affordable and sell for as little as 7,800 USD. They also come with a wider variety of dial colors, namely silver, blue, black, green, and burgundy. You can save some 1,200 USD by purchasing an earlier model with the Valjoux 7750 instead. Pre-owned models are even less expensive at about 5,600 USD.
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante is one of the top Portugieser Chronograph models. Thanks to its split-seconds mechanism, the wristwatch can time intervals. This is made possible by a third push-piece on the case at 10 o'clock.
IWC first introduced the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante in 1995 and has been regularly releasing limited editions ever since. One such timepiece is the "Boutique Milano" ref. IW371222 from 2019, which is limited to 150 copies. This stainless watch has a stunning blue dial with tachymeter and telemeter scales. It's worn on a beautiful black alligator leather strap. The case back features an engraving of the "biscione," the serpentine emblem of Milan's Visconti family. Inside, you'll find the manual caliber 76240 with a 44-hour power reserve. This movement is based on the Valjoux 7760. IWC officially lists the timepiece for 11,700 USD, and you are unlikely to find any on the pre-owned market. The standard edition (ref. IW3712) is much more common and sells for around 6,900 USD.
Features of the IWC Portugieser Chronograph
- Elegant dress watches with a stopwatch function
- A tidy dial with a small seconds and minute counter
- Arabic numerals and dot indices
- Stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold cases
- Powered by the in-house caliber 69355 since 2020
- Top models with a split-seconds (rattrapante) chronograph
Portugieser Chronograph Classic With the Caliber 89361
The most important feature of the Portugieser Chronograph Classic sits within its case. Here, you'll find the in-house caliber 89361. Unlike the 69355 from the Portugieser Chronograph series, which can only track elapsed minutes, this movement comes with a combined hour and minute counter and can time up to 12 hours. This additional subdial sits at 12 o'clock. Furthermore, the caliber 89361 boasts a flyback function and a 68-hour power reserve. Thanks to a sapphire crystal case back, you can view the intricately finished movement, including its Geneva stripes and skeletonized rotor.
A railroad minute track runs around the dial's outer edge. IWC offers versions with a blue or silver dial. The case itself is 42 mm in diameter and relatively thick at 14.2 mm. It comes in your choice of stainless steel or rose gold and is water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). A black or brown alligator leather strap completes the look and unscores this luxury watch's elegant feel.
A stainless steel IWC Portugieser Chronograph Classic costs around 11,000 USD new and 8,800 USD pre-owned. Mint-condition rose gold models demand about 20,000 USD, while used watches change hands for some 14,000 USD.
Portugieser Yacht Club: A Sports Watch
The Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph is the sporty member of the Portugieser family. Defining features include a 43.5-mm stainless steel or rose gold case, a rubber strap, and improved water resistance of 60 m (6 bar, 197 ft). The crown protector and red stopwatch seconds hand highlight this watch's sporty character. On the other hand, the railroad minute scale around the dial's edge and the design of the subdials add a more classic touch.
As seen in the Portugieser Chronograph Classic, the in-house caliber 89361 with a flyback function and a 68-hour power reserve provides this watch with its accurate timekeeping and chronograph function. You can see this movement through the sapphire crystal case back.
Plan to spend around 11,500 USD on a never-worn stainless steel model. Pre-owned pieces sell for about 8,400 USD. Be sure to set aside at least 17,500 USD for a mint-condition timepiece in rose gold and roughly 13,500 USD for a used version. The two-tone edition in stainless steel and gold has a list price of 19,900 USD. You can save a few thousand dollars by purchasing this timepiece on Chrono24 instead.
Features of the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph
- The Portugieser sports watch
- In-house caliber 89361 with a flyback function and 68-hour power reserve
- Comes on a rubber strap, stainless steel bracelet, or two-tone bracelet
- Stainless steel, two-tone, or 18-karat rose gold case
- Water-resistant to 60 m (6 bar, 197 ft)
Portugieser Automatic With a 7-Day Power Reserve
The Portugieser Automatic is the ideal wristwatch for anyone who can do without a chronograph function. At first glance, you could easily mistake this watch for a chronograph due to its small seconds dial at 9 and power reserve indicator at 3 o'clock. However, upon closer inspection, you'll notice a lack of chronograph push-pieces and no minute or hour counters. Instead, this automatic watch has a date display at 6 o'clock.
The in-house caliber 52010 is visible through the sapphire crystal case back and gives the Portugieser Automatic its impressive 168-hour power reserve. This means you can set this watch aside for days at a time without having to worry about it stopping.
The Portugieser Automatic is 42.3 mm in diameter, 14.2 mm thick, and water resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). It comes in stainless steel or rose gold with a silver, blue, black, burgundy, or slate dial. A new stainless steel Portugieser Automatic with a burgundy dial sells for around 12,500 USD. Expect to pay anywhere from 14,500 to 22,500 USD for a rose gold model.
An Entry-Level Model: Portugieser Automatic 40
In 2020, IWC introduced a new entry-level model: the Portugieser Automatic 40. This 40.4-mm watch features a small seconds at 6 o'clock, the Portugieser's characteristic numerals, and a railroad minute track. The manufacturer produces this timepiece in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold, and the dial comes in your choice of silver or blue.
The in-house automatic caliber 82200 powers this watch. The movement is comprised of 189 components and has a 60-house power reserve. You can purchase a stainless steel Portugieser Automatic 40 for about 7,100 USD, while the rose gold edition has an official list price of 16,900 USD.
About the Portugieser Hand-Wound
The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound has a long history to look back on. Manual pocket watch movements tick away inside original models from the 1930s. In 1993, IWC celebrated their 125th anniversary by releasing a new edition with the manual caliber 9828. The design of this anniversary watch is very simple and heavily influenced by early models from the 1930s. It bears the reference number 5441 and is available in stainless steel, rose gold, or platinum. There are 1,000 copies in stainless steel, 500 in rose gold, and only 250 in platinum.
Prices depend on the watch's condition, and stainless steel models generally cost around 13,500 USD. The gold edition sells for roughly 15,500 USD, and the platinum edition demands about 21,500 USD. You can purchase the full set for some 60,000 USD.
IWC released another anniversary edition 25 years later: the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition "150 Years." This model had a limited run of 1,000 pieces in stainless steel and 250 pieces in rose gold. Its small seconds dial at 6 o'clock and railroad minute track conjure images of watches from the 1930s. The in-house caliber 59215 with an eight-day power reserve ticks away inside each timepiece. IWC put its power reserve indicator on the underside of the movement to maintain the harmony of the dial displays. You can view the indicator and the rest of the refined movement through a sapphire crystal case back.
The stainless steel version demands around 8,600 USD new. The rose gold edition is much more expensive at 15,500 USD in mint condition.
The Portugieser With a Perpetual Calendar
If you prefer watches with a calendar function, the IWC Portugieser collection has some good options. The perpetual calendar is among the most complex complications and represents the pinnacle of watchmaking craftsmanship, especially when developed in-house. The IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar has been powered by such movements since 2015, namely the calibers 52610 and 52615. While the 52615 features a double moon phase display that takes the Northern and Southern Hemispheres into account, the 52610 has a single moon phase display. Regardless of which you choose, both displays will only deviate by one day in 577.5 years. What's more, this luxury watch shows the date, day, month, and year. It also comes with a power reserve indicator that lets you know how much of the seven-day power reserve remains in its twin barrels.
The 44.2-mm Portugieser Perpetual Calendar is available in platinum or 18-karat rose, white, or Armor gold. Armor gold is a rose gold alloy that is harder and more scratch-resistant than conventional gold alloys. Like many other Portugieser models, you can choose from a silver, slate gray, or blue dial. High-quality alligator leather straps from Santoni, an Italian luxury brand, hold these complicated timepieces securely on the wrist.
A new platinum edition with a silver dial requires an investment of around 52,000 USD. At about 36,000 USD, the white gold version with a slate gray dial and simple moon phase display is much more affordable. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar with a double moon phase demands an additional 3,600 USD. Rose gold editions sell for similar prices. Pre-owned pieces are less expensive and cost between 27,500 and 31,500 USD.
Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42
The Perpetual Calendar 42 joined the Portugieser family in 2020. As its name suggests, this timepiece is 42 mm in diameter, making it slightly smaller than earlier Perpetual Calendar editions. The in-house caliber 82650 with a 60-hour power reserve ticks away inside the case. This movement has a date display at 3, a month and moon phase display at 6, and a dual day and leap year display at 9 o'clock. Like other Portugiesers, this watch comes with a sapphire crystal case back.
IWC produces the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 in stainless steel and rose gold. The stainless steel edition is the collection's most affordable Perpetual Calendar watch and changes hands for about 22,000 USD. The rose gold version comes with a blue or silver dial and has a list price of 32,900 USD.
The Portugieser With an Annual Calendar
Watches with annual calendars are often more affordable due to their less complicated movements. However, this does mean you'll have to manually correct your Portugieser Annual Calendar once a year at the end of February. In contrast, perpetual calendars won't require manual correction until 2100.
The design of the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar closely resembles that of the collection's more recent Automatic models, including the power reserve indicator at 3 and small seconds dial at 9 o'clock. However, unlike the Automatic, the Portugieser Annual Calendar indicates the day and month in addition to the date. These three displays sit in a semicircle below 12 o'clock. The case of the Portugieser Annual Calendar is 44 mm in diameter, almost 15 mm thick, and comes in stainless steel or rose gold. The in-house caliber 52850 provides this timepiece with its 168-hour power reserve, automatic winding, and stop-seconds mechanism.
You can purchase a never-worn stainless steel model for some 19,500 USD. Pre-owned pieces cost roughly 15,000 USD. If you're interested in the rose gold model, make sure you have at least 28,000 USD on hand for a mint-condition timepiece and about 24,000 USD for a used watch.
Portugieser Grande Complication With 20 Functions
The Portugieser Grande Complication is one of IWC's most complex watches. Its 20 functions include a chronograph, perpetual calendar, moon phase display, and minute repeater. Minute repeaters relay the time acoustically using a series of chimes. Only the most skilled watch manufacturers have mastered this melodic complication.
With a diameter of 45 mm and a height of 16.5 mm, the Portugieser Grande Complication is rather large. It's only available in rose gold or platinum, making it much heavier than a stainless steel watch. Each version is limited to a run of 250 pieces. An engraving on the case back tells you exactly which of these pieces you have. There, you'll also find an engraving of a compass rose that serves as a nod to this watch's roots. The alligator leather strap comes from Santoni and features rose gold or platinum stitching.
A never-worn IWC Portugieser Grande Complication in platinum costs about 204,000 USD. Its sister model in 18-karat rose gold is slightly more affordable at around 190,000 USD.
Portugieser Minute Repeater
If you'd like to enjoy the beauty of a minute repeater without all of the Grande Complication's other functions, you may prefer the Portugieser Minute Repeater. This watch has an 18-karat rose gold case that's 44.2 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick. Gold leaf-shaped hands glide above the silver-plated dial with a prominent railroad minute track around its edge. The manufacturer outfits this model with a small seconds at 6 o'clock. Inside the case, you'll find the in-house caliber 98950 hard at work. This movement ticks at a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour (vph). A slide on the left side of the case activates the minute repeater. At roughly 71,000 USD, this model is nearly 120,000 USD less expensive than the gold Grande Complication.
Features of the Grande Complication
- Perpetual calendar
- Minute repeater
- Moon phase display
- Automatic winding
- Stop-seconds mechanism
IWC's Masterpiece: The Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia
The Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia is IWC's most complicated wristwatch to date. It took 10 years to develop. The most important features of this timepiece are its constant-force tourbillon, four-day (96-hour) power reserve, and sidereal time display.
A sidereal day is about four minutes shorter than a conventional, 24-hour day. Astronomers use sidereal time to locate the same stars in the sky night after night. Sidereal time is based on the apparent movement of the stars in the sky relative to Earth's rotation. One sidereal day is equal to the amount of time it takes the same star to return to the same position. Put another way, it's how long it takes for the Earth to complete one full rotation on its axis.
The Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia shows the sidereal time on a subdial at 12 o'clock. The central hour and minute hands and the off-center second hand display the time according to the more familiar 24-hour day. The small seconds hand is attached to the tourbillon's cage, which makes one full rotation per minute. You'll also find a power reserve indicator at 4:30; its hand shows when the manual caliber 94900 requires more energy.
The Sidérale Scafusia's Constant-Force Tourbillon
The constant-force tourbillon used in the IWC Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia is truly special. The power transfer between the mainspring and escapement system usually varies over time in mechanical movements. The spring is under the most tension when fully wound. As more energy is used, the amplitude declines, thus leading to lower accuracy. Astonishingly, IWC has managed to compensate for the balance's decreasing amplitude.
The constant-force tourbillon keeps the balance wheel's degree of rotation constant, which helps the watch run precisely. Two barrels deliver 48 hours of constant force. Afterward, the watch runs for another 48 hours without the constant-force mechanism. You can recognize when the mechanism has stopped running when the second hand runs more smoothly and the power reserve indicator displays that 48 hours or less are remaining. After the first 48 hours, the second hand runs at a balance frequency of 18,000 vph, making five small jumps per second. In the first 48 hours with the constant-force mechanism running, the hand makes one movement per second like a quartz watch.
IWC also uses the constant-force tourbillon in their sports watch Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon and the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force "Le Petit Prince" from 2019.
A Star Chart on Your Wrist
A star chart appears on the back of the Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia. This chart displays the night sky over a specific location. Every chart shows between 500 and 1,000 visible stars. Marked constellations allow for easier orientation. Thanks to a polarization filter, the chart is blue during the day and gray at night. Two 24-hour rings on the back display the time: The outer ring indicates the mean solar time, while the inner ring shows sidereal time. The watch also displays the times for sunrise and sunset.
Beyond that, the Sidérale Scafusia boasts a unique perpetual calendar function that counts the days. Day 1 is January 1st, day 31 is January 31st, and December 31st is day 365 – or day 366 if it's a leap year. Many astronomers use this counting system. A small window indicates whether or not it's a leap year using the abbreviation "LY." To calculate the current date, simply add the middle number in the large window to the smaller number on the right.
IWC crafts the Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia's 46-mm case out of either platinum or 18-karat white or rose gold. This model is also rather thick at 17.5 mm. Due to its hefty size, the Sidéale Scafusia best suits larger wrists. These large proportions are necessary, as the movement's 520 individual pieces require space. With a platinum case, the watch weighs 280 g. IWC mounts the timepiece on an alligator leather strap from the Italian luxury manufacturer Santoni.
Extraordinary Precision Since the 1930s
The IWC Portugieser can trace its history back to the first half of the 20th century. In the late 1930s, two Portuguese businessmen commissioned the International Watch Company (better known as "IWC") to make wristwatches with the accuracy of marine chronometers. Marine chronometers are high-precision clocks used by seafarers for navigation. Back then, only pocket watch movements could achieve the same accuracy. That is why IWC took the Savonnette pocket watch caliber 74 and housed it in a wristwatch case. This movement has its crown on the right-hand side, making it an obvious choice.
Since the caliber 74 was intended for pocket watches, the wristwatch version was exceptionally large. Its 41.5-mm case was much larger than those of popular Art-Deco-style watches from the same era. In terms of design, the Portugieser was well ahead of its time. It also came with some technological benefits: Its larger pocket watch balance meant the first Portugieser was much more accurate than other contemporary watches with smaller dimensions.
IWC only produced a few hundred copies of this "pocket watch for the wrist" before the 1990s. In 1993, the Swiss manufacturer redesigned the Portugieser, and it went on to become one of their most successful collections.