In the early 1930’s, two Portuguese watchdealers by the names of Rodrigues and Teixeira visited the IWC factory premises in Schaffhausen. Their demand was simple yet unusual: Could IWC supply a watch in stainless steel with the qualities of a marine chronometer. In 1939, the result was the start of the story of one of the most appealing watch lines ever: the Portuguese.
In those days, the view of a large (40mm+) wristwatch must have been quite astonishing. The combination of these unsually large size and the elegance would prove its success 60 years later…
In 1993 IWC celebrated their 125th anniversary. They chose to reinvent the Portuguese and launched the ref. 5441 in limited edition. It was the start of a long and succesful range. Almost 20 years later, the Portuguese line is one of the pillars of the IWC line.
Amongst various models and complications, the Regulateur of 2007 is one of my personal favorites. It adds a direct link to the Portuguese origins of observartory and deck watches: It breaths the intentions of Rodrigues and Teixeira.
Since 1993, the Portuguese series proves the be a platform for different complications from the bestselling 7-days (ref. 5001) and chronograph (ref. 3714) to more complex Tourbillons (the Mystere ref. 5042) and Minute repeaters (ref. 5240).
In 2010, IWC introduced the ref. 3774 Portuguese Grande Complication, making it not only the flagship of the Portuguese line but of IWC’s watch line in general. On the back of 3774 an intricate engraving of a sextant is an inmistakable sign that the watch is part of the Portuguese family heritage.
In 2011, the purists were served again with the hand-wound models ref. 5445 and ref. 5454: 5454 is the modern interpretation of the classic hand-wound “pure” Portuguese, combining the large size (44mm) with the latest mechanicals. new 5445 is an exact copy of the original, launched in a limited series.
The integration of the Yacht Club models in the Portuguese line, in recent years, completes the Portuguese line to what it is today: a complete line of unusually large and elegant wristwatches, from classical hand-wound watches to the most complex complications Schaffhausen has to offer.
the 2013 Portuguese line
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Photos courtesy of www.iwc.com