The people at IWC certainly know how to keep a secret. Forever IWC Schaffhausen has been a men’s brand. The news that they are making watches for women, announced today, 29 September 2014, comes as much as a surprise as George Clooney getting married to Amal Alamuddin at just about the same time. Up until now, IWC has been principally male sports-oriented watches and just the occasional appearance of sub-40 mm case sizes and some diamonds on the bezel. Today, with a lavish photo shoot by Peter Lindbergh featuring Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Zhou Xun, Adriana Lima, Karolina Kurkova, and the village of Portofino itself, IWC has embraced the more beautiful half of the world.
In their communications the company aren’t saying as much. CEO Georges Kern says simply that “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.”
The timing is perfect for the most important watch event in the second half of the year, Watches & Wonders, running in Hong Kong from 30 September to 2 October 2014. In a way, this provides a clue to IWC’s marketing for this collection, whose potential clients include women the world over, as well as men with slimmer wrists, and men who like a bit of sparkle on their watches.
Goris Verburg, Director Marketing & Communication IWC Schaffhausen, points out that midsize watches are nothing new at IWC. “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.” Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen, says, “The use of diamonds and mother-of-pearl represents something of a renaissance in the history of our Portofino family. But our take on luxury is a modern one. For us, it is discreet and unpretentious. The Portofino (…) is underscored by the mother-of-pearl dials, as well as those with a sun-pattern finish…”
The 2014 Portofino Midsize collection comprises three new 37-millimetre models, the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase, the Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night, and the Portofino Midsize Automatic. There are also three new Portofino Automatic models with 40 mm cases. The star of the show is undoubtedly the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase, above all the version in red gold with white mother-of-pearl dial, with 66 diamonds on the bezel. This is powered by the Calibre 35800 automatic movement. The moon phase display can be adjusted using a recessed correction button on the caseband at 2 o’clock. There are various strap options, with black alligator straps by Italian luxury leather company Santoni (who make a whole range of straps in various colours for the different models in the Portofino collection) or a red-gold Milanaise bracelet. The central seconds hand can be stopped using the crown, for precise setting (“hacking seconds”). The watch has a power reserve of 42 hours. The case is 11 mm thick, and has the standard 30 metre water resistance rating.
Read more about the collection on the IWC website.