Delivered in a moderately oversized body, this new IWC Portofino Chronograph (Ref. IW391002) is a nice alternative to both Patek Philippe chronographs that are just too formal and the Omega Speedmaster series, which is just too sporty. Relatively affordable and styled with attention to even smallest details, this is something that you want to wear in the office.
The new model IW391002 picks up were the 2008 Portuguese Hand-Wound Vintage Collection left off. It takes the leaf-shaped hands and makes them even more expressive while still allowing for good readability, the case is now even more massive-looking thanks to the thicker bezel, yet the least of functions is extended well beyond usual hours, minutes and small seconds. It is now a full-fledged self-winding chronograph with a useful calendar.
Although a lot of people will lament the lack of railway minute track, it is for the better making the piece’s dial visually lighter and the central chronograph seconds hand more precise when it comes to measuring short intervals where every 1/10th of a second counts (frankly, I can’t imagine a situation where you would need such precision, but, hey, you need to somehow justify the hefty $6000 list price tag that this new chronograph is accompanied with).
The 2011 Portofino Chronograph (Ref. IW391002) may be completely new, but it is still equipped with the good old Caliber 79320 self-winding movement.
The caliber in question is a slightly modified version of the ETA Valjoux 7750 base movement.
Yes, the movement, to a bit of regret, is not an in-house job (and you probably won’t find a manufacture-grade mechanism in this price range when it comes to brands of such pedigree), but, on the other hand, a mass-produced mechanism is not only easier on your wallet, but also spares you a lot of trouble when it comes to keeping the engine in good working order.
As usual, the caliber features a rather average power reserve of 44 hours and has a small hacking seconds “complication” (just like the rest of the 7750-based movements.) When you set the time, the seconds hand stops and resets to the “0” position, which helps to increase the timekeeper’s accuracy.
Case & Strap
The movement is enclosed in a well-proportionate stainless steel case 42 millimeters in diameter and 13.5 mm thick. Like the rest of the refreshed series, the IW391002 looks slim and even refined in a sporty kind of way, mainly thanks to the brand’s traditional attention to details (I mean, just look at that pin buckle!)
This year’s Portofino takes a great deal of space even on an average wrist, but, being a more subdued (or, perhaps, less conspicuous) version of the Portuguese family (and the Portuguesers were initially nothing more than mere pocket watches adapted to be worn on a wrist,) this is something to be expected. Anyway, the gadget is superbly styled and will look great with a formal suit.
Due to limitations of the movement, the dial sports a standard tri-compax layout with a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, a 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock and a small seconds display at 9 o’clock.
The inevitable “day of the week” and date apertures are located at their usual positions at 3 o’clock.
Well, although the Portofino Chronograph is equipped with a slightly refinished version of an “ordinary” mass-produced movement and its collector’s value is almost zero, it may be a good choice if you are searching for a dressy timekeeper, which is supposed to be worn with business attire.
See also: IWC Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565)
IWC Portofino Chronograph (Ref. IW391002) specification
Movement: Automatic, IWC Caliber 79320 (base ETA Valjoux 7750), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of the week, chronograph
Power reserve: 44 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Hands: Steel, leaf-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, convex