Lewis Hamilton needs no introduction. He is a 7-time F1 world champion, a British hero and a friend of Oracle Time (we had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk watches near the start of the 2022 season). Now, in his continuing partnership with IWC he has released another watch, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton edition IWCs are always a bit crazy and the new Portugieser is no different. It features a 43.5mm diameter case made from platinum, the rarest and most prestigious precious metal on Earth. It has a beautiful circular shape that leads into a large 3 o’clock crown flanked by integrated button pushers that operate the chronograph complication.
Speaking of the chronograph, we see that the dial has a vertically stacked bi-compax display. Although it’s not a traditional bi-compax display because instead of having two separate subdials for the chronograph hour and minute counters, those two scales have been superimposed atop each other on the subdial at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, instead of a second chronograph subdial is the tourbillon, rotating at a rate of once per minute and functioning as the watch’s seconds indication.
Completing the display is a retrograde date display at 9 o’clock which is balanced at 3 by the IWC logo and Lewis Hamilton’s panther eyes logo. All of these functions are presented against the backdrop of an absolutely gorgeous teal dial. Oh, and the hour markers around the periphery of the dial are inset diamonds just in case the platinum wasn’t quite luxe enough for you.
Powering the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph is the IWC Calibre 89900, an automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve. It’s a serious bit of kit equipped with a silicone pallet lever and escape wheel, which are both coated with a Diamond Shell coating for reduced friction.
On top of that, it has a stop tourbillion, which is functionally the same as stop seconds meaning that when you’re setting the time, the tourbillon comes to a complete halt so that you can set the watch with extreme precision. That’s a pretty basic quality of life aspect in many watches but it seems much more impressive on a tourbillon with its multiple axes of rotation. You can also view the movement through the exhibition caseback.
I love the duality of this watch. It’s incredibly luxurious with its materials and refined aesthetic and yet at its heart it’s a sporty chronograph and is powered by an incredible engine. In many respects it’s like Hamilton himself, an expert racer who is known for his style and love of jewellery. As a further dedication to Hamilton, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph is limited to 44 pieces, based on the number he has always raced under. As for price, it’s a cool £143,000.
Price & Specs:
- Model: IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton
- Ref: IW394008
- Case/dial: 43.5mm diameter x 15.9mm thickness, platinum case, teal dial with 12 diamonds, rhodium-plated hands
and appliques, see-through sapphire glass back
- Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
- Movement: IWC calibre 89900, automatic, in-house, 42 jewels, pallet lever and escape wheel with Diamond Shell® technology, 18-carat gold oscillating weight
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 68h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, flying hacking minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock, retrograde date, flyback chronograph with hours, minutes and seconds (hour and minute counters combined in a totaliser at 12 o’clock)
- Strap: Teal textile fabric with platinum folding clasp
- Price/availability: £143,000, limited to 44 pieces