In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at watch pairs. We’ve selected an elegant dress watch and a sports watch for each pairing; two watches that complement each other and offer their wearer an appropriate watch for any occasion.
Two very different watches
A few years ago, I found myself in a bar in New York having a heated debate with a fellow watch enthusiast. There was nothing particularly special about the bar, just your standard dive in the Lower East Side. I don’t even remember what it was called or what I had to drink. What I do remember clearly, however, was the topic of our debate: watch case sizes. My companion was adamant that anything above 42 mm was abhorrent and crass, whilst I thought 44-mm and in some instances even 46-mm cases were perfectly acceptable (hey, these are the types of things you argue about in a bar, don’t judge us).
Eventually, we agreed to disagree and I haven’t given it much thought since. That is, until I was asked to write this watch pairs article comparing and contrasting the 40.9-mm IWC Portuguese Chronograph 3714 with the 44-mm Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days. At first glance, it’s probably fair to say that you couldn’t find two watches that are more different. The IWC is elegant and refined, whilst the Panerai is big and bold. It’s for this very reason, however, that they pair so well together. I don’t know about you, but after wearing a suit all day at the office, the last thing I want to do is come home and change into another suit; the same goes for my watch.
Once you look past the obvious differences, however, you quickly realize that these watches have a lot more in common than you first thought. Both are highly synonymous with their respective brands, both are instantly recognizable on the wrist, and both are loved by watch enthusiasts around the globe.
IWC Schaffhausen Portuguese Chronograph 3714
For me, the IWC Schaffhausen Portuguese Chronograph 3714 has always been something of an enigma. It’s been serially produced since the 90s, is largely unchanged in design and construction even today, and remains one of the most recognizable and arguably desirable IWC watches available. Its design is simple and well thought out. There are no fancy tricks or bold splashes of color and yet, it is very eye-catching on the wrist.
The 40.9-mm case – available in steel and precious metals with a number of different dial variations – is just about the perfect size for a modern dress watch and somehow, despite the inclusion of a chronograph, it doesn’t appear sporty. This is probably largely due to the fact that the bezel is very thin and a tachymeter is noticeably absent, which would certainly break up the clean lines of the design.
Inside is the highly reliable Calibre 79350, an automatic chronograph movement offering up to 44 hours of power in reserve. In addition to displaying the time, the Portuguese Chronograph also offers a stopwatch function with minutes and seconds; perfect for discreetly timing how long it takes your boss to lecture you on the importance of submitting accurate expense reports.
Everything about this watch screams good taste, without actually screaming it, of course, because that would be in bad taste. It’s the perfect office warrior that you can throw on with pretty much any suit and tie combination and keep it on when you head to a restaurant or bar later that night.
Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days
However, when you want to cut loose and let your hair down a bit, it’s time to switch to the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days, a brawny beauty with the brains to match. The Luminor is arguably Panerai’s most popular case style and comes in a range of sizes, including 40 mm, 42 mm, 44 mm, and even 47 mm. The Luminor Marina 8 Days, with its massive 44 mm, is instantly recognizable on the wrist. There is no doubt this is a Panerai watch.
Even from a distance, anyone can recognize it on your wrist. Look past the large case size, though, and you soon realize that this is an exercise in refinement. The inherent simplicity of the dial makes it easy to read at a glance, with hours and minutes shown on the main dial and small seconds shown on a subdial at 9 o’clock. This is all the information you need to know when you’re out and about over the weekend having fun with friends. Plus, the watch looks great in just about any casual setting.
The Luminor Marina 8 Days is more than just a pretty face. Simply turn it over and the sapphire exhibition case back reveals the P.5000 calibre, a manually-wound movement made in-house by Panerai. Best of all? It comes with an incredible 8-day (192 hour) power reserve! Though you probably already guessed that from the name. Like the Luminor Marina 8 Days itself, the P.5000 calibre is an understated affair, aesthetically speaking. The only things visible are the balance cock, intermediate wheel, and the variable inertia balance wheel. This is not Panerai being lazy though; rather the brand is paying homage to the older Angelus movements that used to power Panerai’s dive watches in the 50s and 60s. Back then, it was commonplace to hide away most of the details of the movement. After all, these were intended as utilitarian timepieces, not works of art.
So there you have it, two watches to take you from the boardroom to the beach and back again. Each runs around 5,000 – 6,000 euros in steel and both will make an impression wherever you go. Suffice to say, I think I win the argument about watch case sizes, too.