Based on the series of the elegant and stylish IWC Portuguese Yacht Club chronographs that were revealed early last year during SIHH 2010 industry event, the refreshed IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012” (ref. IW390212) automatic watch comes in a body of the same dimensions, but features a revised movement, as well as a host of lightweight materials that make it even closer to the thrilling world of high-profile ocean races.
While the original line of Portuguese Yacht Club chronographs was issued in either more practical stainless steel or more imposing (and much more expensive) rose gold, the new IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012” has the heavy metals replaced with lighter titanium.
Although surely more prone to scratches, titanium not only makes the watch less massive, but is also more resistant to corrosion so that the watch can be exposed to salty water without a significant risk of irreversibly damaging the body and other parts.
The sunburst-finished black and silver dials were, too, replaced with more high-tech black carbon fiber: a material, which is widely used in areas where every extra gram of dead weight comes at a premium price that only a few can afford to ignore.
As the other members of the Yacht Club line, the watch features the same bi-compax layout for its chronograph where the hour and minute chronograph hands share the same sub-dial, which is neatly placed at 12 o’clock and allow you to grasp elapsed time with a single glance.
The vacant space at 6 o’clock was reserved for a pretty large subsidiary seconds display.
According to the Swiss watchmaker, this limited edition ref. IW390212 is powered by the new IWC Caliber 89361 automatic movement. Made solely in-house, it seems to be a slightly reworked version of the IWC Caliber 89360 that powered the models introduced in 2010.
IWC doesn’t say anything about differences between the two, but it is clear that there are some mechanical differences between them: while the original sports 40 jewels, the new version is running on 38 stones.
With a new set of materials the special edition model somehow lost the perfect balance between the sportiness and elegance that the 2010 model was known for.
On the other hand, people who always wanted to wear their “Portugueser” for a boat trip, but were always afraid to put a scratch on its polished body, now have a good “tool” watch that combines the traditionally high legibility with lightness of titanium and “no-nonsense” overall exterior of the piece.
IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012” (ref. IW390212) automatic watch specification
Price: $16,000 (MSRP)
Movement: IWC Caliber 89361, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 38
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Skeletonized and engraved oscillating weight, Geneva stripes on rotor and bridges, polished screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, flyback chronograph
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.40 mm
Case height: 14.50 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black carbon fiber
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 60 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with folding clasp in stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, convex, antireflective on both sides
Case back: Sapphire