This is not the first time that Portugieser models from IWC have featured a panda-like dial. I would even say that it is an aesthetic approach inherent to the collection because the contrast between the background of the dial and the color of the counters has been a theme regularly implemented by the manufacture. One of the most famous examples is the Portugieser 5000 with its black dial and white counters. A “reverse panda” watch, of course, but which proves that the Portugieser collection lends itself perfectly to the exercise. Another famous “reverse panda” is obviously the Portugieser Chronograph Anthony Zimmer but it is very easy to find examples of real panda dials in the past as well.
The Portugieser Blue Panda Chronograph:
The watches unveiled by IWC at the end of the summer are the Portugieser Chronograph and the Portugieser Automatic, combining in both cases a white dial with blue counters. The contrast is played out on two levels: first obviously at the level of the colors (we can qualify these two watches as blue pandas) but also in the respective finish of the elements. Indeed, the white of the dial is lacquered while the blue of the counters is snailed. This difference is very pleasant to observe because the luminous rendering of the dial highlights the subtle reflections of the counters.
At the same time, IWC offers us a third contrast which this time manifests itself not in each watch but by comparing them. Due to the aesthetic treatment of the dials, the alignments of the counters appear more clearly and the horizontal alignment of the Portugieser Automatic contrasts with the vertical alignment of the Portugieser Chronograph. It is interesting to note that the horizontal alignment seems more natural in the context of a chronograph and the panda finish recalls, in a way, all the originality of the Portugieser Chronograph with its vertical alignment.
The caliber 69355 is visible through the transparent back, which is a change from the Portugieser Chronographs of yesteryear:
If the level of horological content of the Portugieser Automatic has more or less remained constant over the years (the first version was already equipped with a manufacture automatic movement with a 7-day power reserve, the caliber 5000), such This is not the case for the Portugieser Chronograph, which has now definitively abandoned the caliber based on the Valjoux 7750 to use only the in-house caliber 69355. As a result of this development, the price of the Portugieser Chronograph in its steel versions is 8,950 euros, which represents a fairly significant increase compared to the prices charged a few years ago by the versions powered by the Valjoux 7750.
The Portugieser Automatic panda blue:
The Portugieser Chronograph “blue panda” also has a specificity. It is marketed with a blue rubber strap which is also very well designed because it fits perfectly into the design of the case. This choice may come as a surprise because the vocation of the Portugieser Chronograph remains very urban, in particular because of its water resistance of 30 meters. But why not ? The bracelet relaxes the watch and makes it very pleasant to wear.
The price of the Portugieser Automatic is 13,300 euros. The price difference compared to the Portugieser Chronograph is explained by the type of movement that is used. Caliber 52010 is on another level due to its performance, size and technical solutions. It belongs to the family of 52000 calibers which are an evolution, notably with an increase in frequency, of the 50000 calibers stemming from the original caliber of the Portugieser Automatic. These movements are, in my opinion, among the most beautiful current automatic calibres. Not because of their finish, which remains neat but without any particular effect, but because of their architecture. Their visual rendering is impressive because of their diameters, their depth effects and the very beautiful oscillating weight.
The impressive caliber 52010:
Be that as it may, I found the new versions of these two well-known IWC watches very appealing, bringing a welcome little sporty touch. They are hardly surprising but they effectively complete the collection which was far from obvious at the start given the number of references that make it up.