Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the watch community on Instagram. That said, I’m getting pretty tired of seeing the same ten stainless steel sport watches in my feed. In a world of endless horological choices, the hypebeast culture has immortalized a fraction of what watches have to offer. This is why this IWC Portuguese is such a breath of fresh air. The watch presents something different from what you typically see on Instagram. Throughout my time with this model, it’s received more compliments than any stainless steel Rolex or OMEGA sport watch in my collection.
IWC has historically made timepieces that are more elegant. However, since the re-release of the Big Pilot in the early 2000s, the brand has continuously knocked it out of the park with watches that balance contemporary design with classic dial configurations. One such example is the modern incarnation of the Portuguese.
With a large 42mm rose gold case and rich rhodium dial, the Portuguese wears sportier than one might expect. The reverse of the watch reveals a display caseback that frames the IWC Caliber 52010 self-winding mechanical movement. It contains 331 jewels and has an impressive power reserve of around 168 hours. I repeat: 168 hours. That power reserve is elegantly measured by the power reserve complication that sits at the three-o’clock position.
In addition, the brown leather strap is the perfect shade to compliment the case design. To tie it all together, IWC used a brushed, rose gold deployant clasp. The brushed rose gold is particularly nice because it’s much more resistant to scratches. This gave me peace of mind when wearing the Portuguese out for any occasion.
How to Wear It:
When talking about precious metal watches on leather straps, very formal and classic styling springs to mind. Images of corner offices, pinstriped suits, and Mercedes S-Classes may be where your mind wanders when thinking about the wearer. However, that’s not the case with the Portuguese. While the Mercedes and corner office may still be correct, this watch is young, modern, and ready for adventure. Think a more modern Mercedes AMG coupe and dark denim with an unstructured Italian blazer.
While I wouldn’t pair this with sweatpants, the Portuguese goes well with far more than a suit. I found it to match just as nicely with knit sweaters and chinos in an everyday setting. Of the design elements, the 42mm sizing gives you the freedom to wear the watch in a variety of settings. Still, for those dressier occasions, at 14mm thick, the watch can fit under looser dress shirt cuffs with ease. For all the instances you might reach in your collection for the Portuguese, this model, to me, really shines in business causal with your favorite blazer and casual trousers. The case material alone makes it a great talking point. That warm, rose gold it is far more eye-catching than the stainless steel variations of this watch.
Stainless steel sport watches certainly have their place. I’m wearing a vintage Submariner while writing this. Still, I think there’s something so much more interesting about watches like this IWC Portuguese. It isn’t gaudy or overbearing, but it’s very intentionally an echelon above most watches. The larger case size may not stay in vogue forever. However, the sizing is more functional than aesthetic, and the impressive power reserve is fully worth the increased wrist-real estate. The IWC Portuguese is something different for the guy who seems to have everything. Though the dial is measured and precise, it also has depth and soul. There are so many layers to this watch that make it a work of art. It isn’t the rugged dive watch design so many guys opt for today, and that’s what makes it great. It’s the personification of original thought as opposed to simply hopping on the bandwagon of blue dials and bracelets. If you get the chance to see this watch in person, I’d strongly suggest trying it. I think you’ll like what you find.