Reviewing the IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound 8 Days – 75th Anniversary Edition

IWC chose the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser line to introduce a model that takes its style cues directly from the original. In this article, we take a look at a modern reinterpretation of the Schaffhausen IWC replica watchmaker’s most venerable lines.

It is without question that IWC is one of the most prestigious watch companies in the world. The brand’s identity is a balance between the heritage and style of traditional watchmaking and the technological innovations continually changing the industry. The IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound 8 Days (Ref. IWC510205 in stainless steel and IWC510206 in rose gold) draws upon history and technology in equal measure.

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Throwback Thursday (or any day, really)

The legacy of the Portugieser (often referred to by its name in English, “Portuguese”) model 325 runs through the “DNA” of the International Watch Co. That fake Omega watch’s oversized case, housing an undisguised pocketwatch movement, served as the template for a number of models. Sitting atop the movement was a simple, elegant dial designed for easy legibility.

75 years later the 5102 models revisit the notion of simple elegance, with 43-mm cases and dials boiled down to the absolute essentials for quick reading: Arabic numerals at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock and clear railroad graduations around the dial. Seconds (which now hack; we’ll get to that in a second) sit at 6 o’clock as they did on the original. Now a date window counts out the month in an aperture at the very bottom of the dial.

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Eight Days a Week

Manually wound movements are a bit of a paradox. They are absolutely not modern. In fact they sit in opposition to modernity; there isn’t anything necessarily convenient about them, and the ‘tricks’ that make them work have been used for the past 100 or so years, without much variation. The paradox is that while they don’t fit the bill as cutting-edge for 2015, they fit any true watch collector’s lifestyle perfectly. More so than any other type of modern-day movement, they force the owner into a relationship with the watch because of the need for regular winding.

The manufacture caliber 59215 movement needs to be wound, but it is by no means a needy movement. The 192-hour power reserve means that you can easily keep the 5102 in rotation with several other watches without concern for setting because the reserve has run flat. Speaking of reserve, the sapphire display on the rear of the Omega replica watches for sale has an eight-day readout to keep track of winding duties. And, speaking of setting, unlike the pocketwatch movements of yore, the 59215 will hack to allow for precise setting.

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Unlimited Tradition, but Limited Editions

As we found at at SIHH, 2015 will see IWC renew the Portugieser line-up. The Portugieser line has survived 75 years to celebrate its jubilee anniversary this year. While the line has endured, the celebration will not. The Hand Wound 8-days Portuguese models are quite limited in number: the stainless steel model is limited to 750 pieces worldwide and the rose gold version is restricted to 175 pieces. When they are gone, you will have to wait until the year 2040 for the line’s centennial editions. But don’t think of it as a quarter of a century away; think of it as 1,142 winding cycles.