A first look at a very special limited edition Portugieser from IWC
It’s no secret that we’ve developed a pretty big passion for mechanical watches here at HSS. It’s a topic that follows naturally from our commitment to quality, timelessness – pun unintentional – elegance, attention to detail and respect for craftsmanship.
In that sense, we feel mechanical watches are the perfect complement to what you’re already accustomed to here on the site. Until now, we’ve just sort of waded into those waters, but for the first time, we’re excited to share something more in depth and very special with you from our friends at IWC.
Introducing the limited edition IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D. H. Craig USA” Reference IW546306.
Before getting into some history what makes this watch so special, let’s take a closer look at some of the details. As a limited edition piece – only 27 of these watches are being made – it’s not surprising that we’re dealing with some exquisite materials and details.
An 18-carat red gold case and pin buckle. A silver-plated dial. A black Santoni alligator strap. The IWC hand-wound 98900 caliber with a 54-hour power reserve. And, of course, a gorgeous minute tourbillon at nine o’clock on the dial.
If you’re familiar with the other examples of the Reference 5436, you’ll obviously notice a lot of similarities. But the one difference – the F. A. Jones signed dial – clues us in to what makes this particular watch such a special one.
Florentine Ariosto Jones was IWC’s American-born founder and IWC is launching this watch to commemorate the centenary of his death. Jones is a significant figure in watchmaking for several reasons, though chief among them is the fact that IWC Schaffhausen is the only – let me emphasize that again, only – Swiss watchmaking company ever founded by an American.
In addition to being a tribute to F. A. Jones, this watch also pays homage to the namesake in its description – D. H. Craig. Daniel Hastings Craig was Jones’s uncle as well as a successful businessman. And IWC’s legacy owes almost as much to him than to Jones himself as he likely provided financial support when his nephew established IWC in Switzerland.
This isn’t the first time an IWC timepiece has carried the D. H. Craig inscription. IWC fans will know that Jones actually engraved his uncle’s name on one of the most exquisite movements he ever produced, the 2N Pattern H caliber.
In the mechanical watch world, every detail and design decision is made for a specific reason and the choice of the Portugieser for this watch is no exception. An icon of the IWC lineup, the Portugieser stands in the tradition of the pocket watches Jones made when the company was first established in Schaffhausen.
On the wrist, the watch wears extremely well. At 43 mm, it’s certainly on the larger side as a classic dress watch, but I have to tell you that it doesn’t look or feel as large as that number suggests.
To give you a bit of context, I have a fairly small wrist and feel most at home and at ease with a 36 mm case. And 40 mm is about where I top out. However, as you can see, even on my admittedly small wrist, it’s not imposing at all.
In terms of wearability, one other thing I feel compelled to point out is how versatile this watch is. With any precious metals timepiece – especially one with a tourbillon – I think it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that it can only be worn in extremely dressy settings. Not so here.
We deliberately styled it with a business casual tweed and chambray combo to illustrate this. And personally, I think it looks even more handsome in this context. Such is the case with a timepiece that is as timeless as it is elegant.
In addition to creating a watch that celebrates and preserves IWC’s history, with the launch of this special edition IWC is also supporting Save America’s Clocks, an organization committed to compiling an inventory of American street clocks and maintaining them.
In particular, IWC will work with Save America’s clocks to maintain and restore a street clock in New York City, where D. H. Craig was active as a businessman. An important piece of preservation from a brand committed to paying tribute to the fine craftsmanship and work found throughout its own history.
The IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D. H. Craig USA” will be available exclusively at IWC’s US boutiques and select authorized retailers. Included with each watch is a numbered passport holder by Santoni and a copy of the the book F. A. Jones – His Life Legacy and Watches.
The price for this piece of IWC history is $57,000.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style