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22 February 2021

IWC: The Portofino

By: Cordelia Stubbing

IWC: The Portofino
As our lives have adapted over time, so have our wardrobes; timeless classics have soared, with a revised sense of quality in materials, and also our sustainable awareness. Our jewellery has become ever more important and sentimental and our timepiece sits dutifully on our wrist, a companion. One might even admit to saying a few words to it now and then, to break the unusual silence of working from home!

When we explore the idea of a companion timepiece, many brands and sentiments come to mind, but to me none are quite like IWC. With a history spanning over 150 years, and with Swiss national treasure Kurt Klaus close to their heart, the brand suggests feelings of a timeless heirloom, once gifted to you by your ever so great grandfather.


IWC was founded in Schaffhausen 1868, by a young Boston watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones, with a desire to innovate Swiss watchmaking to the highest possible quality. The original manufacture in Schaffhausen was chosen by Jones, because of its wonderful and natural source of hydro power from the Rhine river. The Rhine source begins in the Swiss Alps, and journeys all the way north through Germany, the Netherlands and eventually into the North Sea. An important transportation route through Europe since the Roman Empire, it is steeped in history, beautiful landscapes and a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which inspire my travelling dreams.

The new IWC manufacture, recently designed by their CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr in 2018, continues this sustainable journey, with the environment and our future in mind. Seated neatly on the bank of the Rhine, the river still continues to inspire the company foundations in responsible manufacture.

IWC: The Portofino

When exploring the collections of IWC, there are a number of timepieces which evoke that same excitement as when you discover a beautifully crafted piece of jewellery, a perfectly cut coat or a most comfortable hotel room.

To lift a very British spirit into the Mediterranean warmth, an IWC Portofino Automatic timepiece can take you. It is IWC’s subtle reminder of La Dolce Vita. Understated and elegant for each day, it is a companion timepiece that speaks to men and women around the world. The Portofino Automatic, evokes IWC wristwatches from the 1940’s and 50’s those with functional, simple and well-engineered movements.

The first Portofino was developed from an IWC pocket watch of the 1970’s. A simple pocket watch- thin Roman numerals and traditional Breguet-styled hands, as well as a moon phase indication on its dial. In the 1980’s Kurt Klaus and then designer Hanno Burtscher, met in their local tavern (where all great ideas come together) and discussed turning the pocket watch into a timeless wristwatch. The Portofino became a classic, revisited.

Today, the Portofino Automatic models are conveniently available in 34, 37 or 40mm in a number of materials; responsibly produced steel and 18ct gold which undergo scrupulous auditing by the Responsible Jewellery Council. Beautiful dials are created using traditional decoration methods, adding sophisticated detail to admire while at your desk – or with hope soon, on a plane. One of my favourite features to the Portofino collection, is its wonderful choice of strap colours, from rich cognac, classic navy to pastel green – a perfect hue for summer.

IWC: The Portofino

Personally, my preference is the 40mm case size because the traditional gents case sizes evoke that heritage feel, the Great Grandfather sentiment on your wrist, and it fits so perfectly with an oversized wool coat in Liverpool just now.

Shown here, the Portofino 35111 Calibre features a date window at 3 o’clock, and 18ct gold minute, hour and second hands. The Portofino naturally compliments your favourite jewellery. It has a curved case and straight lugs which sits beautifully beside layered bangles or bracelets in various precious gold hues.

IWC: The Portofino

The Portofino Moonphase adds a touch of magic to your style. As seen here with a night blue dial, it pairs perfectly with our white gold ‘Stella’ jewellery collection. The moonphase display, is not decoration alone – as you should expect from a master of Haute Horology, its function is extremely precise.

IWC: The Portofino

Should you like to discover IWC beyond its Portofino introductions, step into the Portofino Automatic Chronograph collection 75320 Calibre, available in a 42mm case size. Shown here in its purest arrangement, on a beautifully snug steel Milanaise mesh bracelet. It features a day date window, a chronograph function with neat push buttons and a 44hr power reserve. Paired with a crisp white shirt and our Love Lines jewellery collection, this timepiece looks polished and fresh.

IWC: The Portofino

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