It’s a stunning take on a timeless watch: the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Burgundy Dial IW371616. With all the simple sophistication of a classic IWC Portugieser, this deep, wine red dial variation makes a serious statement on the wrist. In this latest installment of The Collective, we’ll be taking a closer look at the design of this special watch as well as the impressive caliber ticking inside. Let’s have a look, shall we?
This watch is among the latest in a storied lineage of IWC Schaffhausen watches. The line was born as the Reference 325 in 1939 at the request of Portuguese wholesalers hoping to meet demand for men’s wristwatches in their native country. The Ref. 325 would not only be more precise than most wristwatches available during this period, its large format would prove far more legible. While the line has existed for nearly a century, it only exploded in popularity in the 1990s with the release of the 125th anniversary limited edition Jubilee Portugieser and later still with the 2004 release of the Portugieser Automatic reference 5007.
The model we have in front of us today is practically brand new—IWC released the Portuguese Chronograph IW371616 just last year. It’s an automatic watch, featuring a 41mm stainless steel case and chronograph functionality. It comes on a devilishly handsome black alligator leather strap with a steel folding buckle and is water resistant to 20 meters. When you think of an IWC Portugieser, you likely imagine a silver plated dial with blued hands and numerals. Of course, there are other dial color options available in IWC’s Portugieser collection including blue and green. This burgundy red dial option is especially eye-catching. Its powerfully radiant hue provides beautiful contrast with the applied polished steel Arabic numeral hour markers, along with the rhodium plated pip hour and minute indices.
The two smaller subdials at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock respectively are a 30-minute chronograph totalizer and a constant running seconds. These recessed subdials share the same rich burgundy color as the dial. The outer track of the dial indicates 1/5 second and minute scales. At 9 o’clock is “CHRONOGRAPH AUTOMATIC” while the 3 o’clock side bears the IWC Schaffhausen branding. Hours and minutes are indicated by the classic polished rhodium plated feuille leaf hands, while the subdials utilize dagger hands. The screw down winding crown is signed. On either side of the crown are mushroom shaped chronograph pushers. The case is stainless steel and the dial is protected by a scratch resistant, anti-glare sapphire crystal.
Turning the watch over, another scratch resistant sapphire crystal offers a glimpse at the in-house automatic IWC caliber 69355. This column wheel chronograph movement is based on the IWC 69370. The manufacture caused quite a stir when it announced it would eschew the supplied chronograph movements it had long relied upon in favor of making a completely in-house column wheel chronograph. There is no doubt that this feat of engineering lends considerable cache to this striking timepiece.
This calibre has 27 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 VPH. It has a power reserve of 46 hours. It’s constructed from 194 components. Not only is the movement an impressive piece of engineering, it’s beautifully finished as well; it’s rhodium plated, bearing Côtes de Genève and perlage decoration. The balance is adjusted to 5 positions and the pawl winding system is bidirectional. The mechanism also allows for hacking the small seconds which allows for more granularly precise watch setting.
Versus the Competition
So far, you’re probably thinking this watch is pretty sweet, and you’re definitely not wrong for thinking so. But what about the competition? If you’re looking for something else bearing the IWC logo, you might try an equally-iconic chronograph spitfire on for size. It’s also in the sub-$10k category and also features an in-house movement. For something outside the IWC family, you could try a Zenith Chronomaster El Primero. Still, for style and feel, it’s hard to beat the Portugieser, especially when you consider the price.
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Burgundy Dial IW371616 is a proud addition to a lineage that can be traced back to the early days of modern watchmaking. It is both a classic, minimalistic piece while also offering a splash of personality to a tuxedo or other dress clothes. Not to mention the fact that its price renders it positively affordable in comparison to many of the watches we catalog on The Collective. If you’re a collector with an appreciation for history and timeless design—and maybe a bit of extra flare in your fashion taste—this burgundy dial Portugieser Chronograph might have a home on your wrist.
All in all, this is a watch that is somehow both understated and a big statement. It’s a super clean design with a great price tag and a lot of value for the money. What’s not to love?