Sunday, December 11, 2016

The IWC 3714-45 Portugieser Chronograph - An In Depth Review

Some of you may have read in my earlier post that I was gifted an IWC Portugieser Chronograph by my fiancé as an engagement gift. I wrote a post about it with a short review, however, I've had this watch on my wrist for the last two months and I feel I can write a more comprehensive review on it now. So here goes...

Quick history on IWC and the Portugieser Chronograph
IWC, which is short for International Watch Company, is a luxury watch company located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The brand is very well known and respected in the watch collector community and even among the 'regular people'. Although known more for their Big Pilot watches, the Portuguese or as it is now called the Portugieser collection is also very popular.

The 3714 Portugieser Chronograph collection comes in a few different colour options, the most popular being the ref# IW371446 and IW371445. The IW371446 comes with the same dial as the IW371445, but has blue hands, numbers and strap. In this review I'm of course going to be discussing the IW371445.

The box
The watch was actually shipped to my finance's apartment from Philadelphia, so it had styrofoam, around the actual box, therefore I'm not sure if that's a part of the original packaging. I'm going to be talking about the black IWC box that contained the watch.  Like the 3714, the box seems elegant, with just IWC Schaffhausen written on the top. Once opened, you of course see the gorgeous time piece inside. You also have the documents and the warranty card that one can normally expect to find, these are under the panel that's holding the watch. I think the box could have been nicer for a luxury watch like this. The one that came with the Panerai was much better in my opinion.

Design and build
The watch has a 40.9mm diameter, which seems larger due to the thin bezel, but doesn't look oversized at all on my 7 inch wrist. Everything about this watch seems simple and yet so elegant. The dial has a silvery white colour which changes it's shade slightly depending upon the light. There are two sub dials, the bottom dial is for the running seconds and the top dial counts the minutes when the chronograph (stop watch) is activated. If you look closely, each of these dials have their own beautifully engraved pattern.

Perhaps my favourite part about this watch is the numerals and the hands. The combination of gold with a bit of blue just works! Though they're made of rose gold, you'd be forgiven to think it's yellow gold, as like the dial, the colour varies depending upon the light. The blue also shifts between blue and black. Because of this, I love just staring at the watch and moving my wrist to try and catch the light at different angles.

While we're on the topic of the hands, the attention given by IWC doesn't stop there. Both the minute and the hour hands are curved at certain angles so as to minimise parallax. The minute hand is curved downwards at the tip and the hour hand curved very slightly upwards.

The applied numerals and markers display quality and craftsmanship that you would normally expect to see on much more expensive watches. The chrono pushers have a great 'push' to them and like the rest of the watch seem very sturdy and well built.

All this neatly sits in a stainless steel case with a WR of 30 meters, which is good enough to handle the any light showers and splashes you may encounter.

The solid caseback may not appeal to a lot of people but it doesn't bother me at all. The front of the watch is so mesmerising that it makes up for it.

Unlike some of the more expensive IWCs the 3714 does not have an IWC in-house movement. What it does have is a heavily modified ETA 7750 movement which is a very robust machine.

Time keeping
From what I've read, IWC doesn't follow the COSC or Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres standards for it movements and in fact has a stricter tolerance when it comes to time keeping - they do not accept their watches to run slow.

I've been doing my own time testing on it and found my watch to gain under 3 seconds a day on average, which is very good.

Leather strap
The 3714-45 comes on a 20mm black croc leather tapered strap. The short strap is attached to the 6 hour end and the long strap is at the 12 hour end. I think I read somewhere that IWC follows this for a lot of it's watches. While it looks fantastic, I do have a complaint. The padding inside the strap is too stiff at the short end. This makes the strap sit a bit raised at one end on my wrist. I have tried bending it around my wrist with some force but it just won't curve.

It's by no mean bad, but something that could have been better. I've contacted IWC about this and still waiting for a reply. Hopefully there is a way to soften it.

Overall thoughts
The Portugieser Chronograph had been on my wish list for a long time. And sometimes when that happens, you are a bit worried that the image in your head may be too good to be true, and that the watch may not appeal to you when you put it on your wrist. Sure, I had seen it at a dealer before, but it was wrapped in plastic and I never really got to wear it properly. Once I did finally get my hands on it, all that worry disappeared. The watch really impressed me and I can see clearly why it is so popular. For me, it is the perfect dress watch.

isn't it?

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