The Portuguese 7 Days Power Reserve collection has been slightly refreshed for the new season. Crafted from high-grade stainless steel, the elegant and simple chronograph sports the same timeless classic exterior, but the dial has finally received a new silver finish that was previously available only with a lot more expensive version 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 case 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 shouldn’t order one on-line just because you loved the design at first sight (and the chronograph indeed deserves to be fallen in love with.)
Part of the blame here goes to the self-winding IWC caliber 51011. Based on the well-known cal. 50000 that was first introduced almost ten years ago when the Swiss 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 the 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 know several people who like this kind of color combination and, second, the gold alloy looks a lot more contrast over the silver dial of the piece: something that watches with more traditional rhodium-plated elements often lack.
Also, IWC has partly compensated the (subjective) awkwardness of the dial with a more interesting price.
It has been reported that IWC recommends selling 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 offers great value for money.
See also: IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph
IWC Portuguese 7-Days (Ref. IW500114) 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: Stainless steel
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