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IWC: new Portofino Midsize watches
New Models

IWC: new Portofino Midsize watches

Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Press Release
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7 min read

The new Midsize collection now makes the Portofino line from IWC Schaffhausen attractive to watch lovers who prefer a slightly smaller timepiece. With the Portofino Midsize AutomaticMoon Phase and the Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night, two radiant 37-millimetre beauties available in seven different versions designed to reflect the timeless elegance of the Italian coastal resort join the Swiss company’s watch family. Ten different Portofino Midsize Automatic models with 37-millimetre cases will be launched in 2014, available with or without a diamond-set bezel. Three Portofino Automatic versions featuring 40-millimetre cases set with precious stones round off the dazzling display.

The Portofino collection has been an expression of understatement and good taste for 30 years. Thanks to its puristic, timeless design, the watch family has established itself as one of IWC Schaffhausen’s most successful families and is equally popular with both men and women. Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, explains the thinking behind the new 2014 Portofino collection: “IWC has established itself as a global brand, and therefore keeps a close eye on what people are wearing when it comes to watches and jewellery, on what trends are developing. What we are currently observing is an increasing worldwide demand for watches set with diamonds.” IWC has reacted to this with a subtle development of its classic Portofino watch family, whose brand core remains unchanged: extravagant beauty and timeless elegance. “With the Midsize collection, we are making this successful, classic watch line more interesting for customers with slimmer wrists,” explains Georges Kern. “The diamond-set models will appeal to anyone with a preference for wristwatches that combine understated design with a touch of the exquisite.”

The 2014 Portofino Midsize collection includes three new 37-millimetre models in 17 different versions: the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase (Ref. 4590), the Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night (Ref. 4591) and the Portofino Midsize Automatic (Ref. 4581). In addition to the Midsize collection, IWC is also unveiling three new Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565) models featuring 40-millimetre cases.

Continuing a long tradition

“The Portofino Midsize collection responds to a current market trend, but at the same time draws on our past,” says Goris Verburg, Director Marketing & Communication IWC Schaffhausen, referring to IWC’s history. “Numerous different variations of watches with smaller cases, diamond-set bezels and mother-of-pearl dials have been a feature of our company’s 146-year history. For 20 years, most of the Portofino watches we sold were midsize models, and the manufacture of watches set with precious stones goes all the way back to IWC’s very beginning. The new Portofino Midsize models reflect a long tradition and open up a wider international market for the Portofino collection.” From the moment the watch family was launched in 1984, the impressive “pocket-watch-style wristwatch” (Ref. 5251) was accompanied by a smaller version with a case measuring just 34 millimetres in diameter. To mark its introduction, IWC created the slogan “The Portofino series by IWC. The daily enjoyment of wearing a little gold.” With the benefit of hindsight, the statement pointed to what to this day is one of the lasting reasons for the watch’s success – the tasteful combination of luxurious materials with a puristic design.

An impressive series of pictures exclusively to mark the launch of the new Portofino Midsize collection.
Peter Lindbergh’s gallery

In 2014, celebrated photographer Peter Lindbergh created an impressive series of pictures exclusively to mark the launch of the new Portofino Midsize collection, featuring well-known celebrities in the picturesque Italian harbour town of Portofino. It is the second time Lindbergh has created a shoot for IWC Schaffhausen to promote the Portofino, and he has once more managed to brilliantly convey in his work the spirit of timeless elegance that the town embodies. Remaining true to his artistic credo, Lindbergh chose to do the shoot in black and white. The leading roles were filled by esteemed Friends of the Brand Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Zhou Xun, Ewan McGregor and Christoph Waltz. Supermodels Karolina Kurkova and Adriana Lima added a touch of allure to the event in some breathtaking fashion shots. The exclusive collection of photographs will travel the world as an exhibition entitled “Timeless Portofino” to mark the launch of the Portofino Midsize watches. First stops in 2014 are the IWC events scheduled for the Zurich Film Festival, the Watches & Wonders watch fair in Hong Kong, the London Film Festival,Art Basel in Miami and an exclusive occasion in Dubai.

The new Portofino watches for 2014: an overview

The flagship of the new Midsize collection is the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase in white gold (Ref. IW459004). The dial, bezel and horns are decorated with a total of 174 pure white diamonds. The jet-black dial has several meticulously applied coats of lacquer and is the perfect backdrop to truly bring out the sparkle of the precious stones. For the first time ever, the designers have depicted the entire moon phase display as a star-studded night sky, with the moon and stars appearing to float in infinite space. For the dials of the red-gold and stainlesssteel versions of the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase, flawless, gently shimmering mother-of-pearl in white (Ref. IW459001/IW459002/IW459005) and black (Ref. IW459003) was chosen. The bezels, encrusted with 66 sparkling diamonds,are magnificent. “The use of diamonds and mother-of-pearl represents something of a renaissance in the history of our Portofino family,” explains Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen. “But our take on luxury is a modern one. For us, it is discreet and unpretentious. The Portofino from IWC has retained the clean lines for which it has become so well known and so popular. It is underscored by the mother-of-pearl dials, as well as those with a sun-pattern finish, both of which give the watches a wonderful depth and life of their own.”

The new Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night featuring a red-gold (Ref. IW459102) or stainless-steel case (Ref. IW459101) combines the luxury of diamonds and mother-of-pearl with the nonchalance of a new and more mobile generation. It is the perfect companion for people who do business globally, jet-setters and night owls – after all, Portofino has for decades been a popular destination for the international rich and famous. Thanks to a second time zone and 24-hour day/night display, the Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night ensures that even those whose parties turn night into day never lose track of the time.

 

A more opulent design with a slightly smaller case.

The Portofino Midsize Automatic (Ref. 4581) featuring a 37-millimetre case comes in four red-gold and six stainless-steel versions, each one either with or without a diamond-set bezel. This puristic three-hand watch with date display has been the silent star of the IWC range for many years, so the fact that this classic is now available in a more opulent design with a slightly smaller case will no doubt come as good news to devotees of timeless wristwatches. The sun-pattern finish on the dial and the meticulously finished case lend these timepieces a real air of luxury and exclusivity.

The Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565) featuring a 40-millimetre case and date display has three additional models in the new collection, each featuring a bezel set with precious stones. With the red-gold model, the buyer has the choice between a silver-plated (Ref. IW356515) or slate coloured (Ref. IW356516) dial. The Portofino Automatic in white gold (Ref. IW356514) is available exclusively with a silver-plated dial.

The Portofino Automatic (Ref. 3565) featuring a 40-millimetre case and date display has three additional models in the new collection, each featuring a bezel set with precious stones. With the red-gold model, the buyer has the choice between a silver-plated (Ref. IW356515) or slate coloured (Ref. IW356516) dial. The Portofino Automatic in white gold (Ref. IW356514) is available exclusively with a silver-plated dial.

Exclusive straps from Santoni

With the exception of two models, all the new members of the Portofino watch family are perfectly complemented by their fine alligator leather straps, produced exclusively for IWC by well-known Italian shoe manufacturers Santoni. These elegant leather straps from Santoni are among the finest work of their artisan craftsmen. The secret of Santoni’s success is the nuanced shading of the leather. Elaborately finished by hand, each strap has an exclusive patina-like shimmer with its own individual colour tones. To achieve this effect, the surface of the leather is polished with various different pastes until the desired shading and a perfect sheen are achieved. The wide choice of colours for the straps used with this year’s Portofino collection was inspired by the brightly coloured facades of the houses in Portofino, which lend the port its distinctive character.

Two of the new Portofino watches feature an exquisite Milanaise mesh bracelet: the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase (Ref. IW459005) and the Portofino Midsize Automatic (Ref. IW458110). The other Portofino Midsize models in the new collection are also available with stainless-steel or 18-carat red-gold Milanaise mesh bracelets in an elegant sixties-inspired style. Milanaise mesh bracelets are made of a wire mesh weave and, as well as being extremely robust, fit snugly around the wrist. A slightly finer weave was chosen for the Midsize collection.As the name suggests, Milanaise bracelets were invented in Milan and are thus ideally suited to watches that embody the Italian lifestyle.

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