Large date complications are in vogue with contemporary design trends, but they are far from a new feature on an IWC replica watch. The tradition of including a large, easy to read date aperture is one that dates back to 1885 for IWC Schaffhausen, and it again appears on the Portofino Hand-Wound Big Date, as introduced at the 2013 Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong. The inclusion of a large date aperture compliments the already impressive dial landscape, which is derived from the IWC manufactured 59230.
Equally as useful as the big date, is the incredible 8-days of power reserve that the calibre 59230 provides. The Portofino Hand-Wound Big Date will run continuously for 8-days, or 192 hours, at peak accuracy. To prevent and compromises to accuracy, the watch will stop running once the reserve is spent, ensuring you’ll never never need to stress about the current state of your wind. The hand winding element of the movement creates an intimate connection between wearer and watch, bridging the gap between practicality, and interaction.
The dial layout of the newest Portofino is clean and modern, with classical inspiration. The date aperture placed under the Roman twelve creates a symmetry with the running seconds hand at 6 o’clock on the dial. The power reserve complication is displayed discreetly, yet usefully at the 9 o’clock position. The small accents of red in the power reserve and running seconds hand display are a subtle detail to be discovered.
The IWC manufacture movement, calibre 59230, features large bridges and plates classically decorated in “Côtes de Genève”. The movement fills the entirety of the sapphire exhibition caseback, and its small recesses (along with its 30 jewels) elude to the underpinnings of an impressive spring barrel feeding a robust gear train. Of course, the balance wheel is in full view, spinning away at 28,800 bph.
Overall the IWC Big Date is a beautifully engineered timepiece that balances classical good looks with technologically advanced execution. Never do the complications feel forced or in the way, they merely accentuate the already handsome Portofino Hand-Wound line with another layer of practicality. For more details about the IWC Hand-Wound Big Date.
People have been diving for probably thousands of years, but it really became a science in the 20th century, after lots of envisioning occurred in the 19th century. The first diving watch was a Rolex because of its water resistance (Rolex Oyster case), but divers, like all people needed a variety. IWC decided to release the Aquatimer in the late 1960s, perhaps a little late on the bandwagon, but the Aquatimer was a nice watch. With the IWC Aquatimer, IWC pays homage to the original Aquatimer while at the same time releasing a fully capable diving instrument.
Like each of the 2008 IWC Vintage line watches, the Vintage Aquatimer does history justice without sacrificing modern demands. The Vintage Aquatimer is a no nonsense watch. Bold hands for high visibility add to indicators which are lathered in luminant for the best possible underwater viewing. The internal rotating bezel can be easily operated with gloves and enjoy an arguably better legibility than an external rotating bezel. The entire watch reminds me of the Ball Engineer Master Diver watch series, and both Ball and IWC probably did s bit of copying of each other, but that is mere speculation and no offense in the watch world.
Once again with the entire 2008 Vintage line from IWC, each model will be produced in steel with a limited edition run of 500 watches per watch in platinum. A serious metal, for a serious watch. I imagine that the platinum watches will fall into the hands of the most serious collectors as their increase in price is not commensurate with any increase in utility or aesthetic. The rubber strap on the Vintage Aquatimer is interesting. The cross-hatching pattern on the strap is meant to simulate the canvas straps that once held diving watches in place. Here the patten makes for a nicely done weave texturing that is pleasing and brings out the smoother details on the face.
The entire IWC Vintage collection is conservative and tasteful. While these are not “revolutionary looks,” they have an essence of universal appeal and fit. I am happy to see that conservative does not have to mean boring. My experience is that the nicest watches are those that grow on you. The IWC Vintage collection all represent designs that have grown on enough people as to make them a classic, and the IWC Vintage Aquatimer is no exception.