Late-20th-Century Design Heritage
The middle of the 20th century (read: mid-century) brought so much “newness” to the table, so much design innovation. So many things – watches in particular – produced today trace their roots to designs created during this time. IWC replica is one of the few brands which can really trace most of its current lineup to late-century (i.e. 1990’s) design ideals.
The Mark series was notably revived in this time, as well as the core of its pilot watch lineup – the Dopplechronograph included. It was in 1995 that IWC released a watch which would serve as the foundational design for the Portugieser Chronograph. That watch was the IWC Portugieser Rattrapante Ref. 3712 copy with rose gold case, a split-seconds chronograph which was powered by a rattrapante movement developed by Richard Habring (and one that was later discontinued). The watch itself would also be discontinued before a revival in 2016. But in the intervening years, the Portugieser Chronograph took its place in the IWC lineup.
1998 saw the introduction of the black leather strap copy IWC Portugieser Chronograph, a tilting pinion chronograph with applied numerals, a large – almost bezel-less – 41mm case, and a leather strap. Well, not much has changed in the 22 years since that release. In fact, in terms of aesthetics, the watch has been an absolute model of consistency. It actually takes guts to actively not change something as much as IWC did not change the Portugieser Chronograph in this time. The only other watch that I can think of in a similar vein is the Omega Speedmaster Professional, but there are practical reasons behind its stability – namely a lot of red tape associated with it keeping its NASA flight qualifications. Well, the IWC Portugieser Chronograph is no space watch, and has no restrictions leveled upon it to maintain its appearance. The watch just works, and IWC knows it, which is why it has remained the way it has for 22 years.
For the first 21 years of production, the watch was powered by the Valjoux/ETA 7750 movement. At some point, the supply of movements also came from Sellita. As these were not in-house calibers, they sat concealed behind a closed caseback. That notwithstanding, The best replica IWC is well known for the work it does on its ebauches, often adjusting and regulating non-in-house movements to great levels of accuracy and performance. In the years since the release of the Portugieser Chronograph, the watch has become arguably the most popular watch in the Portugieser lineup and can very well be considered an icon in its own right.