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 â€” if you can believe it â€“ the skilled labor in Switzerland was considered inexpensive. 143 years later, IWC is still producing some of the world’s finest timepieces.
Honestly, before last year I had never even heard of the SIHH fair or knew how important it was to all of the watchmakers. It is at this trade show in Geneva that draws all of the important retailers and press from around the world to buy and see all of the new designs from the entire stable of Richemont brands. It is a pretty serious affair, which is why I was slightly taken aback when the IWC folks extended me an invitation. Me of all people, a lowly and humble man of the internets. But as far as brands go, it would be hard to find one I like more than IWC. So the decision was definitely a non-decision.
It was at SIHH this year that IWC unveiled their new Portofino collection, which I had a chance to see first hand and share with you via these photos. The company also took the opportunity to unveil its new website during the fair and I have to say they did a pretty amazing job. (Extra bonus points for the HTML5 too.) Getting back to the watches, the Portofino family is comprised of four models that are offered in various precious and standard metals. The group includes the Dual Time (which is perfect for travel), Hand-Wound Eight Days, Portofino Chronograph and the Portofino Automatic. The collection is inspired by the elegance of the Italian riviera, La Dolce Vita from the early 1960s and features elegant and sophisticated designs that fit that beautiful lifestyle. Not to say that if you buy one of these watches you will automatically assume that life, but it seems to me it would be a good place to start.
The photos below from IWC help to better illustrate how sleek the new Portofino collection is.