Playing on the crowded field of -ahem- “affordable” luxury dress watches, the Portofino range has always been somewhat of an ugly duck in the family of beautiful swans. Now, however, updated with the 2011 IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Caliber 59210 (Ref. 5101) model, the collection has been moved a tad upmarket.
The new Portofino Hand-Wound 8 Days will be the most expensive model in the line-up, which will also include a Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565,) Portofino Chronograph (Ref. 3910,) and Portofino Dual Time (Ref. 3610) that features a handy GMT complication.
Having successfully absorbed the core DNA of the recently refreshed Portuguese family, the 2011 model features a similar dial layout, sports the in-house Caliber 59210, and comes both in stainless steel and in rose gold.
The movement in question belongs to the Cal. 50000 family of engines and, being almost 38 millimeters in diameter, is rather large.
Sporting a set of massive bridges and plates, the movement will possibly be especially sturdy and robust compared to calibers built with gentler, thinner, less rigid parts.
Of course, the pocket-watch-sized hand-wound mechanical movement has enough room for an oversized mainspring barrel which is capable of ticking for up to 192 hours and still keeping good time.
That is more than enough even if you plan to wear the timepiece only on weekends.
If you, like me, belong to the neurotic part of the population that checks the fuel gauge every three minutes even if the tank is still three-quarters full, then a beautifully executed power reserve indicator located between 8 and 9 o’clock may come in extremely handy.
The leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, solid gold hour indexes, as well as the small seconds indicator at 6 o’clock, also look extremely elegant.
The Roman numeral at 12 o’clock may raise some eyebrows, but, all in all, this generation of the Portofino family has a good chance of becoming one of the most popular since the line was introduced in 1984.
If the price is right, that is*.
See also: Omega Five Counter Speedmaster Olympic
Build quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 2/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
*UPDATE ON PRICE: It’s been finally revealed that the ref. 5101 will go on sale at around $10,000 (depending on taxes and customs duties in your part of the world) for versions in stainless steel. Versions in a lot more imposing rose gold will be almost twice as expensive starting at $19,000 at the time of launch.
Although the purpose of this review is in no way to try to influence your decision, I would say that this recent batch of Portofino timepieces looks interesting. This new collection is probably one of the most appealing dress watches on the market that also happens to be priced just about right if you take into account its gorgeous styling and the refined mechanism that animates them.
IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Caliber 59210 specification
Price: $10,000 (MSRP, version in stainless steel refs. IW510103 & IW510102) / $19,000 (MSRP, version in 18-karat rose gold, refs. IW510104 & IW510107)
Movement: Hand-wound, IWC Caliber 59210, 37.80 mm in diameter, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, power reserve indicator, date
Power reserve: 192 hours (8 days)
Case: 18-karat rose gold or Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 12.00 mm
Dial: Silver plated or Black (Stainless steel version) or Slate (Rose gold version)
Hands: Gold, polished
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Leather by shoemaker Santoni
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective