Slideshow = 15 photos to see this watch from all its angles
+ a video
An integral part of the catalog for several years now (the first model was introduced in 1984), the Portofino range is the product line with the most classic design from IWC.
Until now, it was only available in 39mm with an ETA movement and a starting price of
at least 3,000 Euros.
2011 is a breakthrough year with the arrival of much more ambitious models.
A dial with magnificent finish
The Portofino Hand-Wound 8 Days reviewed today is the flagship model of this new line.
We notice right away the principle characteristics of the line, such as the magnificent leaf-shaped hands and the solid gold baton hour markers.
The new red gold case's diameter has been increased to 45mm.
Its roundness is reminiscent of a pocket watch to which minimalist lugs have been added.
This feeling is reinforced by the presence of the small seconds hand at 6 o'clock.
As for it, the slate-colored dial has a gorgeous satin sunray finish, creating sumptuous lighting effects.
The color varies greatly depending on the angle of the watch: one could easily spend hours playing with it, watching it go from light grey to black.
The 45mm diameter of this IWC still looks comfortable on the wrist thanks to its short lugs and its reasonable thickness (less than 12mm).
While the large diameter can initially be surprising for a dress watch, once you put it on, you actually realize that its size greatly contributes to its character, and that it does not negatively impact the excellent comfort for daily wear.
A sumptuous strap
Another strong characteristic of this 2011 collection is that the Portofino Dual-Time and
Hand-Wound 8 Days' alligator straps are designed by Santoni, an Italian bootmaker well-known amongst fans of shoes with flamboyant sheen.
With a very shiny look, this wristband possesses colors of incredible depth, each scale looking like it's been worked on individually!
The result is quite spectacular, especially since the color of the sheen goes so well with the red gold of the case.
Finally, this strap provides a very pleasant Latin touch to this watch with an otherwise strong German feel to it.
It's entirely not out of the question that some enthusiasts may very well purchase this watch simply for its Santoni strap!
The generous dimensions of the watch case were not an esthetic choice. Those 45mm of diameter are simply a necessary requirement in order to contain the new 59210 caliber.
This is the first caliber with manual winding with an 8-day power reserve produced by IWC, with itself a diameter of 37.8mm.
It's equipped with a Breguet hairspring and a large-diameter single barrel.
While the theoretical power reserve for this caliber is 9 days, a device automatically stops the movement after 8 days to preserve a constant force in the barrel and ensure the best possible precision of the watch - similar to the automatic movements of the 5,000 series.
The solid bridges and the large diameter are themselves also reminiscent of pocket watches.
This 59210 caliber oozes with German-made reliability: without any bells and whistles, it really looks like it's made to last.
The quality of the finish is quite good, even maybe a step above what we would see from IWC's other 5,000 calibers.
Indeed, the only criticism we can find is the absence of any bevelling on the bridges and bottom plates...
And since there are very few cuts on this 59210, it allows us to concentrate on the Côtes de Genève and the main "Probus Scafusia" seal, both very well executed.
There is still, however, some room for improvement: the balance cock is covered with a solid stamped plate where one would have expected a muti-faceted mirror...
Furthermore, the legs linking the movement to the case are quite visible and lack some refinement...
Finally, given the large barrel allowing the 8-day power reserve, the winding of this Portofino is expectedly a little tough, though still pleasant.
This new model is a complete success.
IWC is able to surf this "back-to-classic" wave, without falling into the pitfall of going down the easy road by simply releasing an identical piece from the old catalog.
This Portifino Hand-Wound 8 Days is thus classic, but first and foremost, also contemporary.
This is a watch that you will purchase for its pleasing looks and excellent value for the money, not for the "glorious 30"nostalgia!
- esthetically well-executed
- its movement
- its gorgeous Santoni strap
- some perfectible details on the finish of the movement
- a deployment clasp would have been preferable to a pin-buckle
- reviewer's wrist size = 17cm
To watch the video of this IWC Hand-Wound 8 Days (or go HERE if you cannot watch the video):