IWC Introduces the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Milan Boutique Edition

The Schaffhausen watchmaker brings back the Portugieser split-seconds chronograph in a limited run to mark the opening of its boutique in Milan.

Last in the catalogue in 2006, the IWC Portugieser split-seconds chronograph was a classic of the late 1990s, powered by a cleverly designed movement that simplified the rattrapante function. Slim for a split-seconds at just 12.5mm high, case and all, the Portugieser rattrapante was discontinued as IWC migrated to in-house movements for most of its line-up (the movement inside the rattrapante was based on a Valjoux 7750).

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Milan Boutique 371215-3

But to mark the opening of its third store in Italy, IWC has revived the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante for a 100-piece limited edition (ref. 371215). The 41mm case is red gold, while the dial is a deep metallic blue. Unlike the typical Portugieser split-seconds, the Milan boutique edition has both tachymetric and telemetric scales on the dial, to measure speed and distance respectively.

But the double scale dial is not new: in 2004 IWC made a 50-piece limited edition Portugieser chronograph (ref. 371212) with an identical dial for Barozzi, a now defunct retailer in Brescia, a city an hour and half east of Milan.

IWC Portuguese split seconds Barozzi

Portuguese chronograph Barozzi. Antiquorum

The reverse of the Milan boutique edition features the biscione, a coiled serpent devouring a child. But IWC has rendered the biscione on the case back child friendly, leaving out the flailing figure from the jaws of the snake. The biscione has a long history in Milan, being the emblem of the Visconti family that ruled the Duchy of Milan until the 15th century, before being succeeded by the Sforzas, who then incorporated the biscione into their own coat of arms. Being a Milanese company, Alfa Romeo’s logo features also features the biscione.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Milan Boutique 371215-1

Pricing and availability 

The Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante “Boutique Milano” (ref. 371215) is limited to 100 pieces, available only at IWC boutiques in Italy until December 2016, after which it will be available at boutiques worldwide. It is priced at €21,500, including 22 percent tax. In Singapore the price will be S$28,700.

Update July 1, 2016: Availability updated. 

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Vacheron Constantin Introduces the Historiques American 1921 in Platinum

Inspired by a vintage driver's watch, the Historiques American 1921 is now available in platinum for the first time.

First introduced in 2009 in rose gold, followed by a quiet launch of a yellow gold version for the Chinese market in 2014, the Historiques American 1921 is now available in platinum.

One of the Vacheron Constantin‘s most distinctive timepieces, the 1921 is modelled on a wristwatch from that year designed with the dial angled at 45 degrees from the vertical. This was intended to allow the time to be readable while gripping a steering wheel, hence the “driver’s watch” label.

The modern day 1921 sticks to the unusual design of the vintage original, albeit with a mystifying twist: the seconds sub-dial is aligned with the vertical, so out of sync with the hours and minutes.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 platinum 2

The 1921 in platinum has the same look as its rose and yellow gold counterparts, except for a variation in colours. On the platinum version the Breguet numerals are in a striking blue, and matched with blued steel Breguet hands, while the dial is silver-plated with a grained finish.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 platinum 1

The case size remains a modest 40mm, though the shape of the watch gives it tremendous presence on the wrist. Inside is the calibre 4400 AS, a hand-wound movement with a 65-hour power reserve. A large movement with a diameter of 28.6mm, the calibre 4400 AS fills up the case nicely, though its layout with two large bridges is somewhat plain.

The calibre 4400 AS as seen inside the Patrimony hand-wind

Pricing and availability 

As gorgeous a watch as it is, the 1921 has always been inexplicably expensive compared to equivalent models with the same movement. That remains true for the new platinum version, which is 30 percent more expensive than the 42mm Patrimony hand-wind in platinum that was just introduced earlier this year.

The Historiques American 1921 in platinum (ref. 82035/000P-B168) is priced at US$44,000 or S$67,800. It will be available at Vacheron Constantin boutiques and authorised retailers around October 2016.

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