Earlier this year, we discussed why the IWC Portofino should be the first watch in your collection. Today, we are going to look at the classic Portofino’s big brother, the Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase from IWC. Introduced discretely at the beginning of the year, the new Portofino (ref. 5164) is the completion to the collection which has, until now, been missing for three decades.
The original Portofino Moon Phase (Ref. 5251) debuted in 1984 with the complication located at 3 o’clock on the face. The Portofino was exceptionally large, powered by a pocket watch movement which IWC turned ninety degrees and inserted into a wrist watch case. Indeed, you could only truly call the original Moon Phase a wristwatch because the movement was placed in a case and featured a leather strap so that it could be worn around the wrist. In character, size, and all other aspects, it was a pocket watch operating in wrist watch clothing.
The 2017 Portofino is a truly elegant wristwatch beautifully crafted in classic Portofino Bauhaus style. The movement is no longer pre-empted from a pocket watch, but is the same base movement found in the new IWC Portofino Hand-Wound collection. The Hand-Wound series of Portofino watches are housed in 45mm diameter cases and the moon phase version is 13.2 mm thick. While this is not a watch you can easily cover with a dress shirt cuff, it wears exceptionally well for the size.
Featuring a small date window at three o’clock, the date dial is color matched to the watch face for seamless viewing. A small seconds subdial sits at the six o’clock position, highlighted by a characteristic red ‘60’ at the top. The power reserve indicator occupies the nine o’clock position, showcasing the eight day, hand-wound power reserve (Fun fact: according to IWC, the reserve could technically run for nine days, so you should always have that little extra bit of juice).
The power reserve highlights the hand-wound movement, which IWC has designed to stop before the reduction in torque could impact accuracy. This means you can safely wind the watch once a week without fear of damaging your Moon Phase timepiece.
A date window, seconds subdial, and power meter are great features for any watch, but this timepiece is called the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase, and what a complication IWC has produced. Extremely precise, the complication will only deviate from the actual moon by one day every 577.5 years. Showcased on the face at 12 o’clock, the moon phase dial is blue and highlighted by gold stars and a polished gold moon.
The striking display pairs nicely with the gold hands and indices across the watch face and is offset by the gold ring surrounding the circumference of the second subdial directly below the moon phase. The addition of the moon phase module to the movement adds 1.5mm in height to the case for the Portofino in comparison to other pieces in the collection, but the sacrifice is well worth the final product. The Moon Phase is a big watch, but that is kind of the point!
When you turn over the classic dress watch case, available in stainless steel or 18k red gold, the sapphire exhibition caseback provides a ringside seat to the hand wound 59800-calibre movement. Maintaining the classically understated elegance of the Portofino collection, the movement is simply decorated with Geneva stripes. The Portofino Moon Phase is finished by a soft and supple brown alligator leather strap with pin buckle from Italian shoe maker Santoni.
The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase is a versatile wristwatch perfect for daily wear. The larger diameter and well thought out design create a classic look with a touch of 21st century complication. That sounds like a recipe for perfection to us.