The IWC Portofino: Classic, Stylish Dress Watches
The Portofino collection represents understated elegance. Narrow leaf hands, delicate indices, and round cases define these timepieces. Top models are made of gold and feature a perpetual calendar or tourbillon.
The Epitome of Elegance
The IWC Portofino is best described as minimalist, sophisticated, and delicate. Round cases made of polished gold or stainless steel underscore its luxurious design. Some women's models have over 60 diamonds on their bezels, placing them among this Schaffhausen-based manufacturer's grandest timepieces. Like many of the men's models, these watches pair nicely with evening wear.
However, the Portofino is more than just a beautiful timepiece. IWC's repertoire includes in-house calibers with an eight-day power reserve, moon phase display, perpetual calendar, and tourbillon. The Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde is particularly impressive with its flying tourbillon, 192-hour power reserve, and retrograde date display. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that these watchmaking masterpieces make the Portofino one of IWC's most successful collections.
The stainless steel Portofino Automatic is the collection's entry-level model. Its moderate 40-mm case means it looks good on men's and women's wrists alike. IWC equips this model with the caliber 35111, which is based on a Sellita movement. The movement has a 42-hour power reserve and a date display at 3 o'clock. You can purchase this timepiece in mint-condition for around 4,600 USD.
Reasons to Buy an IWC Portofino
- The ideal dress watch thanks to a timeless and simple design
- High-quality finishes, materials, and accuracy
- Limited editions in celebration of the company's 150th anniversary
- Interesting for men and women
- Portofino Automatic 37 available with diamonds
Prices at a Glance: IWC Portofino
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, diameter, functions|
|Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde, IW516501||60,000 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm, tourbillon, power reserve, retrograde date|
|Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher, IW515104||24,500 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm, monopusher chronograph, date, power reserve, small seconds|
|Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase, IW516403||21,000 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm, moon phase, date, small seconds, power reserve indicator|
|Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days, IW510102||9,000 USD||Stainless steel, 45 mm, power reserve, date, small seconds|
|Portofino Chronograph, IW391031||5,600 USD||Stainless steel 42 mm, chronograph, day-date|
|Portofino Automatic, IW356502||4,400 USD||Stainless steel, 40 mm, date|
How much does the IWC Portofino cost?
You can purchase pre-owned Portofino watches for as little as 1,200 USD. Timepieces in this price range include vintage automatic watches from the 1970s and quartz editions from the 1990s. If you're looking for an affordable IWC Portofino from the current collection, you should keep an eye out for the ref. IW3565. This stainless steel watch costs around 4,400 USD. The same watch in rose gold demands roughly 11,000 USD.
At 5,600 USD, the Portofino Chronograph ref. IW3910 is only 1,200 USD more expensive than its Automatic counterpart. Prices for the Portofino Chronograph in 18-karat rose gold sit upwards of 14,000 USD.
Fans of classic manual timepieces should enjoy the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days ref. IW5101. Thanks to the in-house caliber 59210, this timepiece has an impressive power reserve of 192 hours (i.e., eight days). New models sell for around 9,000 USD in stainless steel and 17,000 USD in rose gold.
The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde is the collection's most impressive model. As its name implies, this timepiece features a tourbillon and a retrograde display. The term "retrograde" refers to displays with a linear scale that jump back to their starting position at the end of each cycle. The Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde comes in 18-karat rose gold and can be yours for about 60,000 USD.
Portofino Automatic: An Entry-Level Model
IWC offers the 40-mm Portofino Automatic ref. 3565 in stainless steel or rose gold. The case is 9.2 mm thick and water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). You can choose from a silver-plated, black, blue, or slate-gray dial. IWC refers to their slate-gray dials as "Ardoise." Narrow leaf (or "feuille") hands, long indices, and Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o'clock display the time. The gold editions also feature an image of the port of Portofino engraved on their case backs. You can purchase a mint-condition gold model for around 11,000 USD. Stainless steel versions cost significantly less at roughly 4,400 USD.
Black or brown alligator leather straps highlight the classically elegant look of this IWC timepiece. The stainless steel version is also available with a Milanese stainless steel bracelet. Both the strap and bracelet are 20 mm wide.
Women's Portofino Watches
IWC also produces smaller Portofino Automatic models that are 34 or 37 mm in diameter. Watches with a diamond-studded dial or bezel are especially feminine. The ref. 458107 is the most impressive 37-mm model. A total of 66 diamonds stud the bezel of this 18-karat gold timepiece. Its lilac alligator leather strap comes from Santoni, an Italian manufacturer of fine leather shoes. Be sure to set aside about 17,000 USD for a never-worn model. The standard-edition stainless steel models are much more budget-friendly at about 5,500 USD. These timepieces feature silver or Ardoise dials with twelve diamond indices.
The IWC Portofino Automatic 34 is a fantastic option for narrower wrists. The Swiss manufacturer offers this model in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. One particularly exquisite example is the ref. IW357406 with 92 diamonds on its case and a further twelve diamond indices on its glimmering silver-plated dial. A black alligator leather strap from Santoni completes the look. This stunning gold watch has an official list price of 19,900 USD.
You can save a significant amount by purchasing a stainless steel model with twelve diamond hour indices. One of these women's watches will set you back around 5,200 USD. Couples looking for matching timepieces will find these watches pair well with the 40-mm men's Portofino editions.
Impressive Endurance: Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days
The in-house caliber 59210 makes the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days this collection's highlight thanks to its 192-hour power reserve. Should it run out of energy before being wound, the movement will automatically come to a halt even though it still has enough energy stored for one more day. IWC developed this automatic stopping mechanism to guarantee the highest possible accuracy. A power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock lets you know when you need to wind the movement. This timepiece also features a date display at 3 and a small seconds dial at 6 o'clock.
The manual Portofino has a stainless steel or rose gold case that measures 45 mm wide and 11.7 mm thick. A sapphire crystal case back offers a view of the beautiful movement and its Geneva stripes.
When it comes to the dial of the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days, you can choose from silver, black, Ardoise, green, or blue. IWC only produced 100 copies of the version with a green dial, making this particular model especially rare. As seen in the automatic models, these manual watches use leaf hands, delicate indices, and Roman numerals to show the time. An alligator or suede strap or Milanese stainless steel bracelet rounds of this timepiece.
A mint-condition stainless steel watch demands around 9,000 USD. Pre-owned, it sells for about 6,700 USD. Never-worn pieces on a Milanese bracelet demand roughly 10,500 USD. The 18-karat rose gold model costs around 17,000 USD new and 13,500 USD pre-owned.
The Portofino With a Moon Phase Display
The Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase also boasts an eight-day power reserve. What's more, its in-house caliber, the 59800, comes with a moon phase display at 12 o'clock. This complication brings the watch's total height to 13.2 mm, though its 45-mm diameter remains the same as that of the Hand-Wound Eight Days. You can choose from models in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. At around 21,000 USD, new gold models cost about 7,200 USD more than their stainless steel counterparts. You'll also find pre-owned pieces for some 16,000 USD in gold and 9,000 USD in stainless steel.
IWC also produces an automatic moon phase watch, which they have aptly named the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase. This stainless steel timepiece is 40 mm in diameter, making it a fantastic choice for all wrist sizes. The manufacturer outfits this model with the caliber 35800. This movement is a modified version of a Sellita SW300 and has a 42-hour power reserve. The Portofino Automatic Moon Phase requires an investment of about 7,000 USD.
Top Models With Complications
The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde is among the collection's top models. This tourbillon watch is 45 mm in diameter and comes in 18-karat rose gold. Its retrograde date display stretches from 7 to 11 o'clock and sits directly across from the power reserve indicator at 3. You can also view its tourbillon spinning at 6 o'clock. The in-house caliber 59900 can run for up to eight days (or 192 hours) before needing more energy and also boasts a stop-seconds mechanism for setting the time to the exact second. The Portofino Hand-Wound Tourbillon Rétrograde is the most expensive watch in the Portofino collection and costs around 60,000 USD new.
The perpetual calendar is one of the most popular and complex watch complications. IWC first released a Portofino with this function in 1995: the Romana Perpetual Calendar. This model is especially exciting for collectors of used watches, as the manufacturer stopped producing it in 2001. At only 6 mm thick, the Romana was one of the flattest watches with a perpetual calendar of its time. If you're interested in this timepiece, be sure to have around 9,600 USD on hand.
The IWC Portofino ref. 3541 combines a perpetual calendar with an automatic movement. This watch first appeared in the late 1980s and costs around 7,800 USD pre-owned.
The practicality of a chronograph makes it one of the most highly sought-after complications. Its stopwatch function is useful in all sorts of situations. Chronographs have been part of the Portofino collection since the late 80s, though these early timepieces used quartz movements. You can purchase the women's model with the reference number 3730 for about 1,900 USD pre-owned. The men's version (ref. 3731) sells for around 2,400 USD.
If you'd prefer a mechanical chronograph, you should take a look at the current collection. The automatic caliber 75320, which IWC builds based on the Sellita SW500, powers these timepieces. Like many chronographs, its 12-hour counter sits at 6, 30-minute counter at 12, and small seconds dial at 9 o'clock. There's also a day-date display at 3 o'clock.
The stainless steel or rose gold case is 42 mm in diameter and 13.6 mm thick. It's also water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). Gold models have an engraving of the port of Portofino on their case backs. The dial comes in your choice of silver, black, blue, or Ardoise. As with the other Portofino models, these chronographs are worn on an alligator leather strap or Milanese stainless steel bracelet.
A stainless steel chronograph changes hands for about 5,700 USD new and 4,400 USD pre-owned. Prices for the gold edition sit between 10,500 and 15,000 USD.
Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher
The Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher is a special type of chronograph. Its single push-piece is integrated into the crown and is responsible for starting, stopping, and resetting the stopwatch function.
The chronograph caliber 59360 has a power reserve of eight days. Like the other manual Portofino models, it also comes with a power reserve indicator. You'll also find the date at 3, the small seconds at 6, and a 60-minute counter at 12 o'clock. A central chronograph seconds hand shows how many seconds have elapsed.
This 45-mm wristwatch comes in 18-karat rose or white gold. The white gold edition has an Ardoise dial, while the dial of the rose gold version is silver-plated. Santoni provides IWC with their alligator leather straps for this timepiece. The white gold model's strap is gray, while that of the rose gold model is dark brown. Plan to spend around 24,000 USD on a new gold timepiece. Used watches sell for about 14,500 USD.
High Society Since the 1980s
IWC introduced the Portofino in 1984, and these timelessly elegant wristwatches have been an integral part of their catalog ever since. When designing the Portofino, IWC looked to their Lépine pocket watch for inspiration. This timepiece was listed under the reference number 5201 and debuted in the 1970s. For the original Portofino, IWC turned the Lépine's dial 90 degrees and added a moon phase display to the pocket watch's movement at 3 o'clock.
The first Portofino bears the reference number 5251. Its design, movements, and 46-mm case bridge the gap between pocket watches and wristwatches. At the time, cases of this size were almost unheard of. Most watches in the 1980s were under 40 mm in diameter. The original Portofino has a yellow gold case, Roman numerals, a white dial, Breguet hour and minute hands, a small seconds at 9, and a moon phase display at 3 o'clock. You can purchase a pre-owned ref. 5251 for around 22,000 USD.
The Portofino gets its name from an Italian fishing village. The village is located on the Gulf of Tigullio near the city of Genoa. Members of high society have been meeting there for decades. The Portofino's elegant design reflects this luxurious lifestyle. IWC showcases their classic side with this wristwatch. The company, which was founded in 1868, is otherwise most famous for its pilot's watches.