IWC Debuts Customisation for Portugieser Chronograph

Mix-and-match in Shanghai and Dubai, for now.

With luxury brands vying to offer clients individuality in products, customised watches are now fairly common. The trend began at aftermarket providers, but establishment watchmakers are gradually making such offerings available beyond their highest-end clientele.

The latest entrant is IWC with its Individualisation Service, a surprisingly straightforward customisation process that’s a first for a mainstream watch brand. Available at just two locations for now, the service allows clients to personalise a Portugieser Chronograph; anyone can walk into either of the IWC stores in Shanghai or Dubai and select a case material, match it with a variety of dials and straps, with the finished watch ready in about three weeks. The caveat: the customised watch costs an CHF1,500 over the retail price of the standard-production model.

Initial thoughts

Despite the clunky name, IWC’s Individualisation Service is definitely a welcome development since it’s a factory-official customised watch that is relatively accessible in price. Customisation is typically offered to only a brand’s biggest-spending clients, so this democratises the concept to a degree. Granted, it’s being trialed at just two locations, but it will surely be rolled out more widely once its commercial viability is proven.

That said, the Individualisation Service has limitations. It allows clients to choose from a range of fixed options, rather than allowing free rein to tweak or redesign the watch. So if you were thinking of a unique dial colour or special emblem on the dial, that won’t happen. And customisation is limited to a single model, the Portugieser Chronograph ref. 3716.

All this comes at a price of CHF1,500, which is pricey relative to the retail price of the steel model but acceptable for the gold version. It’s especially expensive for the steel watch considering the fixed range of options. 

This is a good idea that makes a regular production watch more interesting, but it costs a bit too much. IWC should be offering more options or more flexible customisation at that price. That said, I hope to see this extended to IWC’s time-only models such as the Portugieser Automatic, which are more affordable to start with, and also offered in more locations.


The Individualisation Service is a straightforward process that allows the client to customise his or her watch via a design console at the boutique. Rather than software, IWC has opted for a physical design console made up of actual components like cases (in either steel or gold), dials, and straps. 

The client can mix and match these parts to create an ideal combination. Though the options are fixed, they are numerous, at least compared to the standard versions of the model.

The console offers 16 different dials assemblies (complete with hands and crystals), ranging from turquoise to indigo, all of which are exclusive to the Individualisation Service. The dial assemblies have magnetic backs, allowing them to be secured to the sample cases for a lifelike mockup.  

Similarly, the strap can be selected from a number of options, including a steel bracelet and straps in TimberTex, the brand’s proprietary leather alternative composed of plant fibres. 

Once the design process is completed, IWC will assemble the personalised chronograph, which will be delivered in about three weeks. The customised watch will bear an “I” (for Individualisation) on the seconds register at six o’clock.

The cost of the Individualisation Service is a fixed CHF1,500 that covers the dial and strap choice, which is on top of the retail price of the Portugieser Chronograph.

For more, visit

Addition March 16, 2023: Price of service added.

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Citizen Introduces the Eco-Drive 365

One-year power reserve and retro style.

A pioneer in solar-powered watches, Citizen has hundreds of such models in its catalogue. But the brand’s latest solar-powered offering, the Eco-Drive 365, is different. Distinctly 1970s in style, the oversized and chunky case is modelled on the Quartz E.F.A. of 1973, one of the brand’s first quartz watches.

Named after its 365-day power reserve, the Eco-Drive 365 makes its debut in three variants: a pair of regular-production models in muted colours as well as a limited edition remake of the Quartz E.F.A. that celebrates the 1970s with its ruby-and-gilt dial.

From left: The Eco-Drive 365 in steel, black-coated steel, and the limited edition with synthetic ruby markers

Initial thoughts

Most Eco-Drive watches are either chunky sports watches or conservative and plain. The Eco-Drive 365, on the other hand, is bold and retro. In other words, it is a different solar-powered watch.

Almost over the top in style, the large case easily evokes the chunky forms typical of the 1970s. On its face the combination of 1970s design and a solar-powered movement might seem peculiar, but the styling makes this far more interesting than the typical Eco-Drive. Citizen would certainly do well to install the Eco-Drive movements in more watches like this.

I’ve yet to see the Eco-Drive 365 in the metal, but assuming the build quality is on par with similarly priced Citizen watches, it should have good tactile feel, particularly for the US$500-ish price tag.

And while it costs slightly more at over US$800, the limited edition is undoubtedly the coolest watch of the trio. It’s essentially a remake of the Quartz E.F.A. but bigger and bolder. The large size combined with the ruby hour markers and gold chapter ring are 1970s style almost to excess, but it is striking and original.

The regular production model in steel with a black-coated bezel

Retro tech

Citizen launched the Quartz E.F.A. – short for “Extra Fine Adjustment” – in October 1973, just a month after its first-ever quartz watch. While the Quartz E.F.A. was the brand’s second quartz watch, it was Citizen’s first top-of-the-line quartz watch, explaining its unusually elaborate design.

Priced at almost double the standard model with a similar but non-E.F.A. movement, the Quartz E.F.A. featured a gilt chapter ring with synthetic ruby hour markers – both of which have made it into the Eco-Drive 365 limited edition.

The Quartz E.F.A. of 1973

Sporting a sparkly dial finish, the dial of the Eco-Drive 365 is modelled on that in the vintage original, including the chapter ring with integral hour markers.

As with most Eco-Drive watches, the dial is translucent, allowing light to charge the solar cells below the dial. The dial itself is actually polycarbonate finished with “glittering accents”. Notably, the new watch does away with the date on the chapter ring, allowing for a symmetrical, unbroken hour track – an improvement for purists no doubt.

Also reproduced on the Eco-Drive 365 is the shell-like case of the Quartz E.F.A. But the design has been scaled up to 42.5 mm wide and 11.1 mm high (while the original was under 40 mm wide), giving the Eco-Drive 365 a modern-day size.

Like the Quartz E.F.A., the limited edition has an entirely polished steel case

The Eco-Drive 365 limited edition is essentially a remake of the Quartz E.F.A. so its dial features four synthetic rubies set. Because the date has been repositioned closer to the dial centre, the chapter ring can accommodate four rubies at the quarters, unlike on the Quartz E.F.A. that had only three ruby markers due to the date at three.

The rubies are naturally products of Japanese technology: they are a type of synthetic gemstone known as Crescent Vert that was developed by Japanese materials giant Kyocera.

The regular production versions of the Eco-Drive 365 retain the same overall design, dimensions, and sparkling dial, but are rendered entirely in muted colours. Both feature a radially brushed case – a finish typical of the 1970s – along with a matching steel bracelet.

One version is entirely black thanks to an ion-plating process, while the other retains the natural steel finish with a black-coated bezel for contrast.

All three models are powered by the E365, a solar-powered movement that will run for 365 days on a full charge. The E365 is rated to within 15 seconds a month – half a second a day on average.

Key facts and price

Citizen Eco-Drive 365
Ref. BN1014-55E (steel case)
Ref. BN1015-52E (black case)
Ref. BN1010-05E (steel with lab-grown ruby indices)

Diameter: 42.5 mm
Height: 11.1 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Cal. E365
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: Quartz
Winding: Solar
Power reserve: One year

Strap: Matching steel bracelet for BN1014-55E and BN1015-52E; calfskin strap for BN1010-05E

Limited edition: 1200 pieces for the BN1010-05E, otherwise regular production 
Starting last quarter of 2023 at Citizen boutiques and retailers
BN1014-55E – US$480
BN1015-52E – US$530
BN1010-05E – US$875

For more, visit

This was brought to you in partnership with Citizen.

Correction March 15, 2023: The dial of the Eco-Drive 365 is not a solar cell, rather it a translucent polycarbonate dial that allows light to charge the solar cell just below. Additionally, the Quartz E.F.A. was the second quartz watch launched by Citizen, rather than the first. 

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