IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph

Designed to with stand extreme conditions of ocean sailing, the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph is the sportiest timepiece in a watch family steeped in tradition. At the request of many watch lovers, and to mark the 75th anniversary of the legendary Portugieser line, the Yacht Club Chronograph model is now available in a smaller case size with ergonomically designed strap horns and a new strap. Thanks to several restrained design modifications, the chronograph is now more luxurious and more balanced.

The most important design change in the new Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph (Ref. 3905) is immediately obvious: the case diameter has been reduced from 45.4 to 43.5 millimetres. IWC Schaffhausen has listened to many potential buyers who have expressed the wish for a slightly smaller version of the sportiest model in the Portugieser watch line, one more suitable for a slim wrist. Pleasant to wear and exceptionally rugged, the rubber strap perfectly complements the watch’s character: it is slim and sporty.

The model in the 18-carat red gold case (Ref. IW390501) is now available with a silver-plated dial. The stainless steel chronograph (Ref. IW390502) also with a silver plated dial looks no different than its predecessor. In the stainless steel version (Ref. IW390503) the slate-coloured dial has been decorated with a sun-pattern finish and, thanks to the black flange – a slightly higher rim – has a colour that sets it apart.  Modest modifications to the design have given the chronograph a more luxurious and harmonious appearance.

The robust, IWC-manufactured 89361-chronograph calibre with flyback function and analogue display of stop times longer than a minute on a subdial makes the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, which is water-resistant to 6 bar, an ideal sailing companion. The signal red seconds hand and the flange with its quarter-second scale for measuring short stop times, together with luminescent hands and indices are an indication of the watch’s sporting qualities.

The screw-in crown, protective shoulders and the chronograph push-buttons reminiscent of the bitts found on the decks of sailing ships underscore the special status of the Yacht Club Chronograph in the watch family. Despite its unusual role, the watch remains a dyed-in-the-wool Portugieser. The clearly structured dial with its classic railway-track-style chapter ring, the plain, simple Arabic numerals and slim, leaf-shaped feuille hands: the latest model borrows all these style-defining elements from the original Portugieser of 1939. After all, some things cannot be significantly improved, even after 75 years.

 “We make only a few watches for a few individuals. But they are of the highest possible quality.” So ran IWC’s advertising for its “Club” watches in the 1970s. Back then, the legendary 1967 Yacht Club and its successor, the 1977 Yacht Club II, were the bestselling watches from Schaffhausen. There were many reasons for the Yacht Club’s resounding success. Its design is timelessly elegant, and the versions in yellow and white gold even exude luxuriousness without concealing the watch’s fundamental character, which is sporty and extremely robust: an irresistible combination for sailing enthusiasts. The unassuming case concealed an automatic movement that was the most advanced of its kind at the time, with unsurpassed protection against shocks. The 8541 calibre was spring-suspended inside the case and bearing-mounted on rubber buffers.

This shock-absorption system effectively neutralized the effect of impacts. It predestined the Yacht Club for use on the high seas, as did a new automatic pressure-limiting system for the crown, which ensured that the case seals became tighter with increasing water pressure. Its successor, the Yacht Club II, available with either a quartz or automatic movement, was self-assuredly advertised as an
“Exclusive model … for the most exacting demands”.

In the late 1990s, IWC was considering the idea of offering the successful Yacht Club model not only as a three-hand watch, but also as a chronograph. These plans disappeared inside a drawer until 2010, and it was only then that the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph’s hour had come.

Technical details
Model: Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph
Ref. IW390501 ∙ IW390502 ∙ IW390503

IWC-manufactured calibre 89361
Mechanical chronograph movement
Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 38
Power reserve: 68 h
Winding: automatic

Date display
Stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds
Hour and minute counters combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock
Flyback function
Small hacking seconds

Case, dial and strap
Ref.  IW390501: case in 18-carat red gold, silver-plated dial, black rubber strap, pin buckle in 18-carat red gold
Ref. IW390502: case in stainless steel, silver-plated dial, black rubber strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Ref. IW390503: case in stainless steel, slate-coloured dial, black rubber strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
Crown: screw-in
Water-resistant: 6 bar
Diameter: 43.5 mm
Case height: 14.5 mm
See through sapphire glass back

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.