Test Bench

IWC Portuguese Automatic

The Watch Quote™ - December 24th, 2004

At the last SIHH in Geneva, IWC presented three new Portuguese watches, the Portugaise Automatic, the Portugaise Tourbillon Mystère and the Portugaise Répétition Minutes Squelette. Three pieces that perfectly illustrate the highest art of horology.
Now, having taken a close look at the Automatic steel version with 7-day wound period, The Watch Quote™ shares its impressions with you in an exclusive Christmas Eve report.

The IWC Portuguese Automatic under the magnifying glass


The Portuguese Automatic under the magnifying glass


In 1936, two Portuguese traders, Rodrigues and Teixeira came to Schaffhausen to order a wristwatch that would incorporate the qualities of an on-board chronometer. Contrary to the trends of the time, it was to be an imposing watch, with impeccable accuracy. The International Watch Company met the challenge by relying on the integrity of its 74 Caliber pocket watch and, on a later, more advanced version, the caliber 98 set in a steel case.

From then on, everyone in the IWC factory referred to them as the “Portuguese” watches. The nickname stuck, and a myth was born.

The new Portuguese Automatic Power Reserve Indicator


The new Portuguese Automatic (reference 5001) is faithful to the spirit of the ancestor Rodrigues and Teixeira ordered in 1936. It has a classic face with the traditional slim hands, Arab figures and “railway” minute display.

A sapphire base lets you admire the splendid caliber IWC 50010 movement that makes it tick. Evolved from the caliber 5000, the caliber 50010 is the largest automatic movement available in the world. IWC first introduced it with the celebrated Portuguese Automatic 2000 limited edition.


With a diameter of almost 40mm and balance wheel frequency of 18,000 oscillations per hour, the caliber 50010 is in the great tradition of wristwatch movements.
With energy provided by an ingenious Pellaton winding system (part of IWC watches automatic movements since the 1950s), the gearing in the 7-day power reserve indicator, stops at 168 hours if it is not recharged, well before the accumulated power is exhausted, thus avoiding the risk of diminished precision due to reduced spring tension .
The escapement, with its screwed down balance wheel , Breguet spiral and adjustment cams on the balance wheel arms all contribute to its perfect precision.

The Portuguese Automatic 100% Schaffhausen


The steel Portuguese Automatic (just like its sisters in platinum and pink gold) is 100% pure IWC production, as the gold “Probus Scafusa” hallmark on the balance wheel and the winding crown attest.

On the wrist



It’s rare to find a watch that combines elegance and sobriety with a case that opens so wide. Once again, IWC has succeeded in redefining the perfect balance between all these three, which are notoriously difficult to get right together, and suits the marked trend toward large watches more than ever.
A steel case with 42mm of happiness, an impeccable finish and an exceptional mechanism. .. that’s the new IWC Portuguese Automatic.

Details



Yet again, IWC has proved to be incomparably demanding and perfectionist. Absolutely everything in the new Portuguese, from the alternating matt and brilliant polished finish of the case, to the magnificent crocodile bracelet’s massive yet practical folding clasp, including the dial with blue figures and hands, is simply perfect. ‘Obviously, ‘I can see you thinking: “Isn’t that what you own an IWC watch for?
Well, yes, we were just confirming it. You can’t imagine how unforgiving our photographer’s lens is to the slightest error. You’ve either got it or you’ve not. And as these enlargements show,. the Portugese has got the lot. All for the sake of a job well done.

Perfect detail


IWC Portuguese watches have always been timeless. Men and women alike will fall for our Portuguese Automatic at first sight.
Wide and open, it emanates sobriety and class, and is both functional and refined at all times and in all circumstances. The rounded profile of the sapphire, with non reflective finish, gives a real presence to the IWC time piece, as well as being supremely comfortable to wear and easy to read.
The decision to buy such a watch is not to be taken lightly. More than just a simple investment, owning an IWC means you are entrusting the management of your time to a brand that is rigorous, a brand for which technology rhymes with high performance, and sobriety with elegance.

The Watch Quote opinion


A perfect, timeless watch, a superb mechanism, hand finished by master master craftsmen, in impeccable good taste.

Strong points:

- Elegant
- Easy to read
- 8-day power reserve
- Sapphire back
- Mechanism

Weak points:

- None

Our rating: ****

Technical specifications


Case: diameter 42mm, steel

Movement: Self-winding mechanism,

Caliber: IWC 50010, diameter 40mm, frequency of balance wheel 18000 oscillations per hour, Pellaton winding crown, 7-day power reserve

Functions: hours, minutes, small second large date, 7-day power reserve

Crystal: non-reflective sapphire

Back: transparent sapphire

Bracelet: Alligator (large size scales) with folding IWC steel clasp.

Constructor’s reference: 5001

Recommended retail price: 8600 euros

Other versions: pink gold and platinum

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We would like to thank IWC France for their teams’ precious help, which enabled us
to share our passion with you.

Thierry Castagna / The Watch Quote™
Photos Luc Virginius

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