IWC is synonymous with aviation watches, something their recent release slate has reflected with a passion. There has been the Type XX update, Big Pilot Annual Calendar Le Petit Prince and Top Gun Ceramics. However, IWC are no one trick pony, also producing a wide range of dress and sports watches. The most popular of which is the Portugeiser with two classic examples, the IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW371620 and Portugeiser Chronograph IW500715, now available in “Blue Panda” colourways.
Essentially, the bicompax layout of subdials on both watches are blue, set into a white dial. The two-tone pattern riffs on the traditional black and white of the panda design but with an aquatic edge that gives them the “Blue Panda” nickname. The IWC Portugeiser Automatic features its small seconds and power reserve subdials in a horizontal format while the Chronograph’s 30-minute timer and small seconds are stacked vertically.
Alongside the blue subdials, both versions have blue Arabic numerals and blue feuille hands. While they’re very different watchmakers, the aesthetic of these IWCs remind me of the Marine Torpilleur Panda from Ulysse Nardin. In fact, looking back at the Marine Torpilleur, it was the last time a watchmaker used the term panda for a blue colourway as well, so the comparison is more apt than I thought.
Ultimately the IWC Portugeiser Automatic IW371620 and Chronograph IW500715 “Blue Pandas” are simple and attractive recolours. Which means the specs will be familiar to anyone who knows the collection. For the Automatic that means a 42.3mm steel case housing the calibre 52010 automatic movement with pellaton winding and a 7-day power reserve. Then the Chronograph has a 41mm diameter case and the calibre 69355, a column wheel chronograph movement with automatic winding and a power reserve of 46-hours.
The Portugeiser Chronograph IW500715 is presented on a sporty, blue rubber strap while the Automatic IW371620 is on blue alligator leather. Between the difference in strap and substantial difference in movement, the prices of the two watches also differs dramatically. The Chronograph is the more accessible at £7,600 while the Automatic sits at £11,100 – one of the few times in watchmaking where the Chrono is cheaper than the Auto.
Price & Specs
- Model: IWC Portugeiser Automatic|
- Ref: IW371620|
- Case/dial: 42.3mm diameter x 14.2mm thickness, stainless steel case, white and blue dial|
- Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)|
- Movement: IWC Calibre 52010, automatic, 31 jewels|
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)|
- Power reserve: 168h|
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve display|
- Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with folding clasp|
- Price/availability: £11,100
- Model: IWC Portugeiser Chronograph|
- Ref: IW500715|
- Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 13.1mm thickness, stainless steel case, white and blue dial|
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)|
- Movement: IWC Calibre 69355, automatic, 31 jewels|
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)|
- Power reserve: 46h|
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph|
- Strap: Blue rubber strap with pin buckle|
- Price/availability: £7,600
More details at IWC.