At this year’s SIHH 2010 industry event that was officially opened yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, the Swiss watchmaking brand IWC has once again updated its Portuguese Yacht Club collection of automatic chronograph watches. Now available in red gold and stainless steel versions, this watch is as dressy as it is sporty. And, what’s even more important to some, you can tell that this is a Portugueser at the very first sight.
And it also takes just one glimpse at the watch’s dial with the bi-compax fly-back chronograph interface that it is powered by IWC’s fairly new Caliber 89360 automatic movement (we have already seen this on such gorgeous models as the IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph, the high-tech Aquatimer chronograph, and the red-hot IWC Da Vinci Chronograph in scratch-proof ceramic body wristwatches.)
The movement, which is regarded by many as a direct replacement of the good (but old and also too ubiquitous) ETA 7750 on the brand’s way of becoming a watchmaker that only uses mechanisms that are manufactured totally in-house, is beautifully (but not excessively) decorated and is perfectly visible through the sapphire crystal covering the case back.
Of course, bragging rights is not the only reason why IWC decided to replace the ETA 7750 with its own version. First of all, it offers a more modern power reserve rating of 68 hours that allows you to take the watch off your wrist on Friday and get it back on Monday still ticking and showing correct time. The second reason is that they feature more modern design that allows the mechanism to keep better time, and also to make the chronograph sub-system more accurate since the column-wheel design of ETA 7750 was replaced with faster “vertical clutch” system that drastically reduces time between you pressing the “Start” button and the chronograph actually starting counting seconds with its bright-red central seconds hand.
The fact that they didn’t need to use add-on module to realize the timekeeper’s signature bi-compax layout with a combined chronograph hours and minutes sub-dial at 12 o’clock (which is, by the way, not only looks classier, but also makes it a lot easier to read the elapsed time) also makes the watch theoretically a lot more reliable than a third-party mechanism with all the necessary crutches.
Just like it is almost always the case with the Portuguese series (perhaps, the only exception from this rule is a number of the tourbillon versions of the model,) the watches feature well-balanced, high-legible dial layouts with fair amount of luminescent material allowing for good readability even in poor lighting conditions.
Unfortunately, its water resistance rating of only 60 meters leaves much to be designed for the maritime-themed timepiece, so just keep it in mind.
IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Ref. IW3902 specification
Price range: €12,700 (MSPR)
Movement: IWC Caliber 89360, automatic, 40 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Complications: Flyback chronograph, date
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case material: Red gold or Stainless steel
Bezel material: Red gold or Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire glass
Case size: 45.4 mm
Case height: 14.5 mm
Dial: Black or Silver
Hands: Red gold or stainless steel
Strap: Black rubber strap with a folding clasp
Water resistance: 60 meters