Hands-On: The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 3714
However, there was one reference that stayed unchanged: the Portugieser Chronograph Reference 3714. The watch originally saw the light of day during the 1990s, following on from the plan of the Portuguese rattrapante chronograph that went before it. Strikingly, it’s endured for almost 20 years, quite in a real sense completely unchanged aside from some infrequent updates to the accessible tones for the dials and hands, as perhaps the best watches of the post-quartz period. They sold quickly when they came out, they’re selling quickly right now, and as far as we might be aware they will continue to sell quickly long after each famous actor brand envoy presently alive is a blurring memory in Hollywood Babylon, The Year 3000 Edition.
How to represent its prosperity? It is anything but a watch that quickly shouts for consideration – truth be told, it’s restrained nearly to say the least. The bezel is thin to the point of lack of clarity; the hands are narrow and needle-sharp; the chronograph catches are… well, chronograph catches; and the crown is, as far as size, precisely in the Goldilocks zone of not tiny, nor superfluously enormous. It is a hair more than 40 mm in measurement, and therefore not eye-catchingly enormous nor harshly little. There is no objecting about with a tachymetric scale, or in reality some other sort of scale and the watch is round. Regular round. You see this watch, and you say to yourself, “That, old buddy, is a round watch.” There is nobody thing you can highlight on this watch that makes you say, hey, that’s a Portugieser Chronograph from old fashioned IWC, and there is surely nothing about it that makes you say, “Wow, Engineered For Men!” (indeed I’ve seen a reasonable few quote female customers unquote, who appreciate wearing one).
So why the hell is it such an attractive watch? Why is it so affable thus prominently wearable? Furthermore, affable it is, broadly so – I mean, telling watch enthusiasts that they should like the Portugieser Chronograph Reference 3714 resembles telling a bunch of GIs watching a USO show in 1968 that they ought to like the Playmate of the Month. How can it deal with the stunt of being both widely noticeable, and yet, appearing to be so close to home once you have it on your wrist?
What’s truly going on here, obviously, is an exemplary instance of the whole being more noteworthy than the amount of the parts. Nobody some portion of the watch stands apart on the grounds that they’re all cooperative individuals, and there’s no “I” in group. There are not countless components to the plan, yet each one is finished with a sort of unpretentious greatness and scrupulousness that is in reality beautiful uncommon in watchmaking at any value point these days
The hands, for example, are totally dazzling, swelling and tightening along their lengths with a Brancusi-esque visual clearness (the carefully thin, perfectly bended focus chronograph seconds hand alone is worth the cost of affirmation. Improperly cheap-looking hands are the most despicable aspect of present day horology, and this watch has hands so decent they should make a few other, much more costly watches I can think of kick the bucket from shame.) The numerals ascend from the dial like the corridors of some later-day horological Acropolis; the sub-dials rest in wonderful resistance like the adjusts of the balances of Justice herself, and the truly pleasant piece is, every one of these players do their thing without making a fight about it.
I’m helped to remember something somebody once said about Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac – that it is “not an incredible play, just an ideal one.” The IWC Portugieser is the Cyrano de Bergerac of watches – and I imply that as a compliment.
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph Reference 3714
Model shown: treated steel case, 40.9mm measurement, 3 bar water resistance
Dial: silver plated, gold feuille hands showing the hours and minutes; blued hands for the chronograph function
See them with everything taken into account their sagacious brilliance at IWC.