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IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 and Chronograph Horizon Blue Watch Review

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 IWC Portugieser Chronograph

For Watches & Wonders 2024 IWC has focused on the Portugieser range of dress watches from top to bottom. At the top is the brand-new Eternal Calendar and revamped Perpetual Calendar 44 collection and at the lower end of the spectrum where more standard complications reside are the watches I have here. The updated Portugieser Automatic 40 and Chronograph.

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

Having seen several Portugiesers before (the collection has been around since the 1930s so it’s not exactly new) it’s not immediately obvious what’s new about the 2024 edition of the Portugieser Automatic 40 when you strap it on. Well, that’s not entirely true because the colour of the dial, Horizon Blue, is fresh. But when it comes to the case, you need to get really close and analytical to appreciate where it’s been changed.

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

Most notable after a short time wearing the watch is that it has a thinner profile along the edges of the case. What that means is that while the overall height of piece from glass to caseback at its thickest point is roughly the same at 12.4mm, it does feel a lot thinner. That change also pulls the bezel back and away from the dial, sitting lower around the edge of the new double box sapphire crystal. In turn, that change means that more of the eye’s focus is drawn towards the dial and the new colour.

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

It really is a gorgeous dial in terms of both colour and finish. The Horizon Blue is a delicate sky blue tone and it’s finished with sunray brushing and 15 layers of transparent lacquer. That lacquer gives it a particularly smooth appearance with lots of depth and allows for a high sheen polish that makes the brushing absolutely pop. The same is completely true of the chronograph model as well.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph

Swapping over to the Portugieser Chronograph, it wears just as comfortably on the wrist as the Automatic 40. It’s slightly larger at 41mm compared to 40mm but that just means there’s more surface area to admire the white gold (although both sizes are conventionally considered large for a dress watch). Both watches are made from white gold giving them a bright lustre – a striking contrast to more tactical and robust IWCs like the Pilot’s Watch Ceratanium produced with Mercedes-AMG. Having the chrono on hand also makes the updates to the Automatic 40 more apparent as it still has a higher bezel and there’s less of a case taper towards the edges due to needing to accommodate the pushers.

IWC Portugieser Caseback

Flipping over both watches reveals the movements housed inside through their exhibition casebacks. The Automatic 40 is powered by the IWC Manufacture 82200 with 60-hour power reserve and pellaton winding. The Portugieser Chronograph then uses the 69355 with 46-hour power reserve. Yes, it’s a lower power reserve but it also caters for the more power intensive chronograph seconds and 30-minute timer functions.

IWC Portugieser

All that remains are the prices and the Portugieser Automatic 40 is CHF 20,000 and the Portugieser Chronograph is CHF 21,000 (approx. £17,620/£18,500). Ultimately, the updates to the cases and designs are relatively minor and you’re not likely to notice them on a day-to-day basis. What you will notice are the new colours and while I only have the Horizon Blue editions in front of me, there are also Onyx Black and Dune Sand versions being launched as well in rose gold and stainless steel respectively. For my money, the Horizon Blue is the best in any version.

Price and Specs:

Model: IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 and Portugieser Chronograph
Ref: IW358402 (Automatic 40), IW371626 (chronograph)
Case: 40.4mm diameter x 12.4mm thickness (Automatic 40), 41mm diameter x 13.1mm thickness (chronograph), 18ct white gold
Dial: Horizon blue
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: IWC calibre 82200, automatic, 31 jewels (automatic 40), IWC calibre 69355, automatic, 27 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h (Automatic 40) and 46h (chronograph)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small hacking seconds, chronograph (chronograph)
Strap: Light blue calfskin leather with 18ct white gold pin buckle
Price: CHF 20,000 (approx. £17,620) (automatic) and CHF 21,000 (approx. £18,500) (chronograph)

More details at IWC.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.