Last year, IWC’s Portofino Midsize launch raised eyebrows for all the right reasons. Here’s our favourite from the collection, a dual-time that is as clever as it is beautiful
When IWC announced last year that its latest launch was to be a collection for women, it isn’t an understatement to say that eyebrows were raised.
This is, after all was the brand that has “engineered for men” as its tagline and creates watches inspired by the elite Naval fighter schools, Top Gun, or in association with Formula One teams, such as Mercedes.
This is not a brand you associate with diamonds or mother of pearl or any of the other things commonly used in women’s watch design.
But what a women’s watch collection it is. Gorgeous, sophisticated and accompanied by a Peter Lindbergh-shot photography exhibition featuring the ultimate style maven herself – Cate Blanchett.
Every single watch was an exercise in how to create beautiful watches women want, but the stand out for us was this Automatic Day Night.
This IWC Portofino Automatic Day/Night manages to combine the practical and the beautiful. It has a complication – the second time zone – that you will actually use, but rather than house that in a perfunctory watch, IWC has gone ultra feminine with a mother-of-pearl dial, diamond-set bezel and hour markers, and deep-blue leather strap.
The dual-time-zone complication at the heart of this watch is just one of the reasons it is noteworthy. As a rule of thumb, this is often a feature of men’s watches – probably because the Swiss think it is only men who work and who therefore need to know the time in a different part of the world to the one they are in. However, in no small part due to women not giving up their careers after having a family and travelling for work more, this is a complication that is starting to creep into women’s watches.
And this IWC executes it perfectly. The hour-and-minute markers display the local time, while the small blue hand points to your home time on the inner 24-hour ring. To make reading it even easier, the lower half showing the time from 6am to 6pm is white, while the half showing the time from 6pm to 6am is picked out in midnight blue.
Add to that the fact that this is a first for IWC – not just a Portofino for women, but a whole collection designed with us specifically in mind – and you’ve got a particularly discussion-worthy piece of horology on your wrist.
LOOK AND FEEL
The case diameter is a reasonably substantial 37mm – partly to help IWC market this as a unisex watch in markets such as Asia, where men aren’t averse to wearing diamonds – which means some people might find it a little too large. However, it fits so beautifully on the wrist and looks so elegant, that we challenge anyone who tries it on not to have great difficulty taking it off again.
In the photographic exhibition, by Peter Lindbergh, that accompanied the launch of this watch, Cate Blanchett wore hers with a dinner suit. While this is a look we love, it isn’t one that every woman can carry off, however it is a good place to start. Because this is a watch that cries out to be worn with tailored pieces. Channel your inner Hepburn – Katharine that is – and think synched waists, cropped, loosely tailored trousers, a white shirt with a popped collar and brogues. You’ll be sure to impress.
To get this look , click on the board
NEED TO KNOW
It is part of IWC’s first-ever collection for women, has a complication you can actually use, managed to combine serious horology with a smattering of diamonds and look sensational on the wrist.
IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Day Night RRP: £9,950; stainless steel case with 66 diamonds set into it and Santoni leather strap.
Buy Now: IWC