It seems incredible, but in its first decades of existence, the cheap fake IWC Portugieser was not appreciated at its fair value. But after its relaunch, in the early 1990s, it gained more and more fans and proved to be one of those landmarks made to last. The collection with this name has integrated more and more functions and complications, without losing its identity, on the contrary, and 2020 has offered us a true royal Portugieser. There are watches that accompany you throughout your life and that you leave a legacy to the next generation; Portugieser is one of them, Christian Knoop, the creative director of IWC Schaffhausen, proudly tells me. Looking at the models released over time under this name, you can’t contradict it.
How would you describe the personality of the Portugieser collection?
The new Portugieser collection is a contemporary reinterpretation of one of our most important landmarks. The collection belongs to the IWC tradition of more than 80 years, being one of the most representative for us. When you are faced with the challenge of updating such a reference collection, you must respectfully respect its history, while also trying to bring something new. Our goal is to create a bridge between the past and the future, to surprise our customers with new things, ensuring, at the same time, that they will recognize the collection as what it is: Swiss movement fake IWC Portugieser. We have achieved this by launching new models such as Portugieser Automatic 40, Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 or the third generation Portugieser Yacht Club, ensuring a common overall look, faithful to the nautical heritage of this family of watches. Combining the pure and perennial aesthetics of the original model with details and chromatic codes inspired by the modern world of yachting, the new collection has an extremely coherent and contemporary air.
Over the last few decades, we have seen many extremely refined IWC Portugieser models: a Minute Repeater in the 1990s, then the Perpetual Calendar model in 2003, Sidérale Scafusia in 2011, the Annual Calendar in 2015 and, two years ago, the clock. birthday Portuguese Constant-Force Tourbillon. Which of these was the most challenging project?
Since the launch of blue dial copy IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater, the collection has integrated almost all major watch complications and has helped to push the boundaries in this area. Portugieser Grande Complication, one of the most sophisticated models, consists of 659 pieces and puts together the minute repetition, the perpetual calendar and the chronograph. But probably the most complicated watch ever built in Schaffhausen is the Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia. The dial, keeping the classic style of the collection, includes a tourbillon with constant force, the display of the 96-hour power reserve and the astral time which, among other things, is required to find the position of a certain star every night. The reverse is a really fabulous astronomical module, developed based on many calculations to accurately represent the wishes of the owner. Considering a predetermined place, the rotating nocturnal astral disk depicts more than 500 stars and constellations with incredible detail and accuracy. Making this watch was extremely complicated, requiring more than ten years.
Because we talked about the models from the ’90s and after 2000, I would like to know what you think about the use of yellow gold in making carcasses. Will this classic color return to the Portugieser collection?
When choosing the material for the case, we always try to find the version that best reflects the personality of the model. At the same time, the material must integrate into the entire collection and reflect the entire IWC universe and brand values. 5N gold not only has a perennial beauty, but at the same time pleads for a more discreet style, which reflects very well the values of our brand. Many of our customers are looking for an unostentatious interpretation of luxury, and 5N gold is the one that suits them.
Considering the reactions among my friends, the black leather strap copy IWC Portugieser Chronograph versions with a blue, green and deep red dial seem to be very popular with both men and women. How do you explain the growing interest of ladies in larger, more robust, more masculine watches?
It is important to note that the IWC has been making women’s watches since about 1870. The caliber of a women’s pocket watch was used to create the first wristwatch produced in Schaffhausen. Women’s watches have played and continue to play a key role in our portfolio. Portofino models have always been appreciated by both men and women thanks to their variety of sizes and style. It is interesting that Portugieser Chronograph, which we launched in 1998, has always attracted the attention of women, despite the appreciable diameter casing, of 41.5 mm. Taste is a personal matter. While some ladies prefer small and elegant watches, such as our new Portofino Automatic 34, others will be attracted to the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 or the steel case copy IWC Portugieser Chronograph.