A watch I wore a lot and I loved the finish on the case and bracelet as well as the in-house caliber 80110 movement. However, at some point I did a trade-up for another watch and had to let a couple of watches go, including this IWC Ingenieur. Up to this day, there are two IWC collections that I really prefer over all others; the Ingenieur and the Portugieser. The Ingenieur for the reasons mentioned above, and the Portugieser mainly for its aesthetics. What is not to like about the design of the IWC Portugieser?
A few years ago, when I was still in banking, I noticed that IWC became the new Rolex for many colleagues. Where the Rolex Submariners, Datejusts, Day-Dates and – of course – Daytonas were part of the appearance of many colleagues for many years, there was a clear shift going on to IWC watches. My explanation for this would be that IWC changed its direction a bit from being a manufacturer of tool watches to being the manufacturer of watches for a wide(r) audience. Understandable. At that time I also decided to buy an IWC; an Ingenieur ref. 3227-01. Based on the heritage of a pure tool watch, but with the finish and elegance of a modern wearable mechanical timepiece.
IWC celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser watch. A name that wasn’t used before 1993 though, when IWC resurrected the Portugieser collection. You have to know, that back in the day, a lot of brands (including IWC) only used a reference number to indicate a particular watch. Using collection and model names is something that wasn’t very common in the first half of the 20th century. The IWC Portugieser goes back to 1940, when two importers from Lisbon, Portugal, requested a large pocket watch sized wristwatch for their clients.
IWC created such a watch, with a very unusual 41,5mm diameter for that time, when the average mens watch had a diameter between 30 and 35 mmm. The reason for the Portuguese business men to request a wristwatch with a large diameter was that pocket watches had a better accuracy due to the larger movement, and thus larger balance. IWC used their hunter style pocket watches caliber 74 and 98 for this new project to ensure accuracy for the wristwatch. The first “Portugieser” watch was actually referred to as ‘325’ and was in production from 1939 till 1981 in different sub versions. The first version came with the mentioned caliber 74 movement (in production till 1951) and not long after its introduction, in 1944, there was a second version with caliber 98. This 325-2 reference was in production till 1971. A third version of the 325, was in production from 1977 till 1980 and was referred to as the “German edition” and IWC only produced 57 of those. In total, IWC made 690 reference 325 watches.
However today, we are looking at the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Ref. 3035. A piece that was introduced during the SIHH last January. To be brutally honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic when I laid my eyes on it for the first time when I was in Geneva. The apertures for the day, date and month were very “present” and turning the watch up side down, it looked like the watch was smiling at you. However, in the flesh that was something that I quickly forgot about again. The watch looks beautiful on the wrist and I think it is nice to have all functions at hand (in one view) when it concerns an annual calendar. I also recently had the Moser & Cie Endeavor Perpetual Calendar for a review in my possession and it only shows the date and has an arrow for the month indicator.