The well-known IWC Portuguese Automatic 7 Days Power Reserve watch has been slightly refreshed for the new season. The elegant and simple watch that sports timeless classic design of its body and dial has received a new silver face that was previously available only with a lot more expensive Portuguese Automatic in rose gold (ref. IW500101).
The refreshed timekeeper is still offered in a stainless steel body that measures just over 42 millimeters in diameter and is exactly 14 millimeters high.
Although considered “mid-sized” by today’s standards, the watch is not particularly compact, so, if you happen to possess a skinny wrist, then you should probably first try it on at your local official dealer’s shop. And you clearly shouldn’t order one on-line just because you loved the design at first sight (and the watch indeed deserves to be fallen in love with.)
Part of the blame here goes to the IWC caliber 51011 automatic movement that powers the watch. Based on the well-known cal. 50000 that was first introduced almost ten years ago when the Swiss watchmaking brand first started to gradually phase out ETA and Valjoux-based mechanisms from its higher-end product line, the movement is good for as long as 7 days of guaranteed power supply, but is equipped with a single mainspring barrel that houses a very, very long spring. It was for a reason, that the cal. 50000 was called a “Big Movement.”
Built in-house at IWC’s facilities in Schaffhausen, the movement is equipped with a skeletonized oscillating weight with a gold medallion and is nicely decorated with circular graining and circular Geneva stripes. Like other members of the family, the cal. 51011 features the brand’s famous Pellaton pawl-winding system that was first introduced back in the 1950s and used in their legendary Caliber 8541. Yes, unlike dozens of wannabes and also-rans, IWC does have a legacy of its own.
Of course, the yellow gold hands, hour indexes and Arabic numerals may look somewhat strange with this polished stainless steel body, but, first, I personally know a number of people who actually like this kind of color combination and, second, the gold alloy looks a lot more contrast over silver dial of the piece: something that watches with more traditional rhodium-plated elements often lack.
Also, the Swiss watch maker partly compensated the (subjective) awkwardness of the dial with a more interesting price.
It has been reported that IWC recommends to sell the stainless steel Portuguese IW500114 at a price of €9350, while the rose gold Portuguese IW500101 is sold at around €13,000. While the version in steel that we have briefly reviewed here looks a bit overpriced even despite the in-house movement employed here, the version in gold seems like a fairly good value for money.
See also: IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph
IWC Portuguese Automatic 7 days power reserve (Ref. IW500114) watch specification
Price range: €9350
Movement: Automatic, IWC caliber 51011, 21,600 vph, 42 jewels + 2 beryllium bronze bearings, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, small seconds, power reserve indicator
Power reserve: 7 Days / 168 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Case size: 42.3 mm
Case height: 14.0 mm
Numerals: Arabic, applied, yellow gold
Hands: Yellow gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated