It was about this time last year that I wrote about the then new IWC Portuguese collection that was just presented at the super luxe watch fair SIHH in Switzerland. I have been an admirer of IWC since I first discovered the brand as a young lad, and the IWC story is pretty amazing to me. The company was founded by an American named Florentine Ariosto Jones in Switzerland in 1868 with the idea to take American manufacturing techniques (a la Mr. Henry Ford) and combine them with skilled Swiss labor. Hence the name International Watch Company. And at the time that Jones started the company — if you can believe it – the skilled labor in Switzerland was considered inexpensive. 143 years later, IWC is still producing some of the world’s finest timepieces.
In 1939 two Portuguese business men approached the International Watch Company (the only major Swiss watchmaker that was founded by an American) to create a watch collection to honor the great 15th-and-16th century Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan—men who pushed the limits of exploration. Seventy one years after the now successful Portuguese watches were introduced, IWC led an expedition of its own back to the coast of Portugal to unveil its newest addition to the Portuguese family of watches, the IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph.
Time and navigation are siblings, and an accurate chronograph is a crucial tool in piloting a seaborne vessel — the old school analog way. To celebrate the launch of the Yacht Club, the newest member of the Portuguese collection (IWC’s most popular series we might add), the Schaffhausen, Switzerland based watchmaker chartered two racing yachts and devised an old school navigation school to extol the virtues of the new Chronograph. Our group disembarked from the marina at Cascais, a town not far from the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon, for a day-long nav course on Portugal’s coastal waters of the Atlantic ocean.
Equal parts want and desire. This nice looking Oyster Perpetual, Submariner will be up for auction at Antiquorum on June 10th (lot #63) in New York. Estimates place the sale price to likely be between $20,000 – $30,000. Now, before everyone gets all crazy about the price, I just want to say that this is a “money-is-no-object” type of want. An itch that for me will go unscratched barring an ACL sale to [INSERT NAME OF GIANT MEDIA COMPANY] or a successful strike at the lotto. A regular sub would do the trick perfectly, but it would be more fun to say that your watch was originally sold to the Royal Navy.
Recently at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva, Switzerland watchmaker IWC unveiled the update to its popular Portuguese line of watches. The Portuguese — which was originally introduced in 1939 — is by far my favorite model from what could be my favorite maker. To celebrate the launch of the new collection, IWC made a short film with Jean Reno called The Spirit of Navigation, which is interesting once you can stop thinking about Jean Reno in Ronin. (Side note: remember that Audi car chase?) The Portuguese collection is inspired by the great Portuguese seafaring explorers and the IWC film explains the interesting connection between time and navigation. Essentially, time is navigation and vice versa. Portuguese to me is the perfect combination of beauty, precision and luxury. I hope to own one soon. In the interim, I suppose I will just have to enjoy the five new Portuguese timepieces pictured below via the internets.
In my world, there aren’t many things better than a military watch. The fantastic Hodinkee featured this vintage 1940′s pilots watch from German watch maker A. Lange & Söhne. I have a personal connection with Lange, since I helped with their PR at one of my previous jobs. Near the end of WWII the A. Lange & Söhne factory in Saxony was bombed and completely destroyed by the Allied war machine, forcing the closure of the company for nearly fifty years. The brand lay dormant until its revival in the early 1990′s by Switzerland’s Richemont Group. So this pilot’s watch is one of the last remaining time pieces from the old German factory and is something you won’t see five of your friends wearing, that’s for sure. More on the watch here.