The Portuguese is a staple of the IWC brand. They first created the model on commission for a group of Portuguese businessmen. Then, IWC decided to add the watch to their permanent catalog. The Portuguese is instantly recognizable for its distinctive design that draws inspiration from the brand’s early pocket watches and in 2018, the model celebrated its impressive 150th anniversary. For over a century, this collection has captured the hearts of fans of the brand and watch collectors around the world. Buying an IWC Portuguese watch is an excellent addition if you’re looking for a time-tested design. Browse through our selection of exceptional used IWC Portuguese watches for sale.
The history of the IWC Portuguese begins in 1939 with the Reference 325. The 1930s were a challenging time around the globe, and the watch industry experienced a direct impact. The world was experiencing an economic depression and on the verge of WWII. In turn, the demand for watches was declining and brands needed to get creative about their products.
In response, IWC started to look to new markets to introduce their watches. This led them to connect with a pair of Portuguese businessmen. In Portugal, wristwatches were increasingly growing in popularity, but there was a void in the technical accuracy of their movements. So, the Portuguese wholesalers placed a very specific order for wristwatches in steel cases with the precision of marine chronometers. IWC used one of their best pocket watch movements and housed it in a wristwatch case. This creation ultimately founded the Portuguese collection.
At first, the Portuguese was made exclusively for the Portuguese market. Then, as the economy rebounded worldwide, others began to take note of the model. As a result, production increased and continued for the next several decades.
In the 1970s, the watch industry faced another challenge: the Quartz Crisis. Like any other manufacturer of mechanical watches, IWC felt the impact of the shifting trends. In turn, they had to assess their production and determine which models performed best. The fate of the Portuguese was uncertain, but ultimately, it remained in production. IWC fared in these challenging times, and by the 1980s, the novelty of the quartz movement had started to die out.
The popularity of the Portuguese surged in the 1990s, and the brand commemorated its 125th anniversary in 1993. To celebrate, they unveiled an all-new, special edition variation of the Portuguese. The limited edition Jubilee Portuguese wasn’t just a success in its own right. It also reignited interest in past references of the Portuguese.
In the new millennium, the Portuguese collection has continued to flourish and expand. IWC has added a number of new iterations featuring complications, like a perpetual calendar, minute repeaters, and a tourbillon. These additions have elevated the Portuguese family of watches to the iconic collector's status it boasts today.
2018 marked the 150th anniversary of the IWC brand. They celebrated the occasion with the release of a number of special watches. This included an incredibly unique iteration of the Portuguese: the Constant Force Tourbillon Edition 150 years. IWC made this special variation in an exclusive limited edition run of just fifteen pieces. However, IWC has also continued to vary the Portuguese line in less ornate ways. Later in 2018, they launched a stainless steel variant of the model. It still maintains the refinement that distinguishes the Portuguese line. However, the stainless steel construction makes the collection more accessible to those looking for a watch suitable for everyday wear.
Video: IWC Portuguese History
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