Dressy and extremely elegant, the hand-wound Portuguese (ref. IW5454) was presented at the SIHH 2010. The idea behind the piece was to reiterate IWC’s commitment to making luxury timekeepers that are not just expensive, but also extremely refined and deliberately classic. While its relatively large body may scare away people with smaller wrists, the gadget whose roots descend to a bespoke model based on a pocket watch just has to be larger than a Patek Philippe Calatrava or some other traditional timepiece of this sort!
IWC has once again extended the iconic Portuguese line powered by hand-wind movements.
Featuring the well-known Calibre 98295 engine inside its slim (only 10 millimeters thick!) stainless steel case, the IWC Portuguese Hand-Wound Ref. IW5454 features the characteristic seconds display sub-dial at 6 o’clock with a distinct “60” printed in bright red. Hard to say, but it seems to be a brief, yet respectful nod to a classic IWC model from the 1950s that, too, featured a display with a small-seconds sub-dial, and was powered by a Spartan-looking hand-wound movement hidden behind a circular-grained “hunter”-style case back cover.
Traditionally for the collection (the first-ever IWC Portuguese was built to order around a large pocket watch caliber presented by a customer), the Portugueser will be available in an oversized, but a deliciously slender-looking body with nicely curved, elongated lugs and a rather small winding crown.
According to the officially disseminated specs, the body will be whole 44 millimeters in diameter, but only ten millimeters thick, which makes it especially comfortable to wear even with a tight-cuffed shirt. Of course, this is not one of those ultra-thin models, but its proportions make it look very slim indeed.
However, you should bear in mind that the case (again, traditionally) possess rather long lugs, so, if you, in your own turn, possess rather thin (or just narrow) wrist, this model may look a little funny on you. Yes, I have seen some skinny guys wearing similarly sized Portuguesers and they did look somewhat awkward with cases of their expensive timepieces almost overhanging their wrists.
The collection will be available in two color combinations. One (pictured) will feature a silver-plated dial combined with contrasting light gray seconds display and the other one will have its main dial in black and seconds sub-dial silver-plated.
Both versions will sport easily readable Arabic numerals (rhodium-plated for the version with a black dial or gold-plated for the one with silver face) and a pair of easily recognizable feuille-type hour and minute hands. As usual for the brand, all elements of the case are extremely well-proportioned to each other making the timepiece looking very organic. You have nothing to rant about when looking at this beauty.
Thanks to the signature black railway-style minute track, the dial makes it easy to read time and sure hope that a version with an anthracite dial and white minute track (I hope, there will be one soon) is going to be even more legible.
Of course, some people may complain about the lack of lume on the hands and hour markers, but for such a dressy timekeeper it is not a bug, it’s a feature, you know.
IWC Portuguese IW5454 specification
Price range: $8900
Movement: Caliber 98295, hand-wound, 18 jewels, 18,800 vph
Complications: Small seconds display
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire glass
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 10.0 mm
Dial: Black and Silver / Silver and Gray (pictured)
Strap: Black alligator leather strap, pin buckle in stainless steel