Navigating Through Time

15 Nov 2020

Ref. 325 – Portugieser Wristwatch – 1939
IWC’s first wristwatch produced for the Portugal market was as precise as marine chronometers

Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust, and easy for customers to use. Preferring the principle of “form follows function” over decoration, the Swiss watch manufacturer’s timeless creations embody their owners’ dreams and ambitions as they journey through life.

Having come this far in a century and a half, IWC takes a moment to reflect on its illustrious heritage and share its story through an exhibition. Unveiled since mid-October, IWC Schaffhausen has been showcasing its broadest display of historical Portugieser timepieces in South East Asia to date at its ION Orchard and Marina Bay Sands boutiques. Entitled IWC Portugieser – Navigating Through Time, the retrospective exhibition brings together nine striking creations that have marked defining moments in the lineage of the Portugieser family.

Curated by the IWC Museum in Schaffhausen, the exhibition presents visitors the opportunity to navigate through over 80 years of the company’s best-known collection, immersing the visitor in the engineering ingenuity and timeless spirit of the Swiss watch company.

Deck Watch (Observation Watch) for the Royal Navy – Calibre 52 T.S.C – 1943
IWC manufactured most of the deck watches for the English navy as early as 1917. These deck watches inspired the clean, functional look of the first Portugieser wristwatch.

On show for the first time in South East Asia is an observation watch IWC had built for the British Royal Navy in 1943. Found on the decks of warships, submarines, or aircraft carriers, the observation watch served as inspiration for the clean and functional look of the iconic Reference 325 – the first IWC Portugieser wristwatch from 1939.

Ref. 811 – Yacht Club – 1967
The best-selling Yacht Club combined elegance and durability and were especially popular as gifts. The spring-mounted movement was highly impact-resistant.

Other notable highlights include the Yacht Club Ref. 811 from 1967 which, housing a spring-mounted movement, was lauded for its elegance and durability; the 42.5mm Portugieser Anniversary Edition from 1993 that started a global trend favouring larger watches; and the first Portugieser Chronograph from 1998 which became one of the most recognisable creations in the entire watch industry.

“The Portugieser’s beginnings in sailing and navigation paved way for IWC to develop a watch family which, today, incorporates so many of the technical facets of haute horlogerie that our company is known for,” says Mr. Stanislas Rambaud, IWC’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia. “Over 80 years on, the Portugieser continues to exude the same classic, functional appeal that first got it noticed. It is that timeless modernity which we invite visitors to discover at the exhibition, as they trace the roots of this extraordinary collection,” he adds.