Continuing with its occasional practice of special editions to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year, IWC debuts the Portugieser Automatic 40 Edition “Chinese New Year” to commemorate the Year of Water Rabbit that begins in early 2023. The limited edition retains the style of the classic Portugieser but dressed up with a riveting burgundy dial with gilt numerals and hands.
As an admirer of vintage timepieces, I find few watches that match the distinctive simplicity of the original Portugieser ref. 325 from 1939. So the Portugieser Automatic 40 is easy to like since it echoes the feel of the vintage original.
The Portugieser Automatic 40 Edition “Chinese New Year” stands out with its unusual dial. Bright red is the traditional colour of Lunar New Year, but its darker counterpart is a more appropriate hue for a dress watch.
While the design still evokes the original – the gold hands and numerals give it a vintage feel – the burgundy dial is more dynamic than the conventional silver alternative, giving it a more versatile feel than the formal original.
More importantly, the new Portugieser is not merely a fancy dial catered to Asian buyers. The case back reveals the in-house movement that’s one of the better automatic movements in this price segment.
Lastly, the Chinese New Year edition costs US$1,000 more than the standard edition, which is an acceptable premium for the new dial as well as the commemorative rabbit rotor. The only downside for a collector is the fact that it’s a limited edition of 500, which is a substantial number, meaning the watch won’t be that uncommon.
Year of the Rabbit
According to IWC, the Portugieser was chosen for the commemorative edition as the original ref. 325 was introduced in 1939, which coincidentally was a Year of the Rabbit.
Naturally, the animal is present on the watch. Besides the dial, the new Portugieser is set apart by the gold-plated oscillating weight shaped like a rabbit. It represents the Year of the Water Rabbit which begins on January 22, 2023 and lasts through February 9, 2024. Amongst all the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac, the rabbit is considered one of the most auspicious, and those born during such years are believed to be calm, kind, and serene.
The rest of the watch is identical to the standard edition. The steel case is just over 40 mm in diameter and contains the cal. 82200 that features IWC’s signature Pellaton winding system that’s now made up of wear-resistant ceramic components.
Key Facts and Price
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 “Chinese New Year”
Diameter: 40.4 mm
Height: 12.4 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 82200
Functions: Hours, minutes, and small seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Black calfskin leather strap, with an additional burgundy-colored gradated calfskin leather strap.
Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: Now at IWC boutiques and retailers and on IWC.com
Price: US$8,450; or 12,400 Singapore dollars
For more, visit IWC.com.
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