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The IWC Portuguese Automatic is a classic because it’s persuasive on every level. There are loads of beautiful watches, and even quite a number of watches with excellent moves, and other watches with interesting histories, but it’s a relatively rare thing to bring all three into a single model. For all those reasons, the Portuguese Automatic is, with no doubt, my single favorite IWC, among my favorite watches we take along with one of my favorite watches of time.If you have been after IWC for the past couple of decades, you are aware that they’ve taken a somewhat different tack in introducing new watches in the annual SIHH exhibition in Geneva — rather than exert themselves to make new watches across several selections, as would be the norm, the company’s been concentrating on a single collection annually. Remarkably, it has persisted for nearly 20 decades, quite literally completely unchanged except for some occasional updates to the available colors for your dials and hands, as one of the most prosperous watches of the post-quartz era.
Conceived by IWC and Dubai retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the Portugieser Chronograph Edition “Seddiqi – Al Jalila Foundation Dubai” is a familiar watch with an unusual dial in a first for the watchmaker.
All the numbers on the dark blue dial – from the hour markers to chronograph registers to the seconds on the flange – are in Eastern Arabic script.
Numerical characters that commonly used in the Arab world, Eastern Arabic numerals have recently been fashionable, appearing on wristwatches by a diversity of brands, from Rolex to MB&F.
While Eastern Arabic numerals are increasingly common on wristwatches, the Portugieser Dubai edition is the first to eliminate conventional numbers entirely.
The rest of the watch is classic Portugieser – stainless steel and 40mm in diameter. Inside is the IWC calibre 79350, which is actually a robust Valjoux 7750.
The case back is engraved with the logo of the Al Jalila Foundation, a charity dedicated to promoting medical education and tackling healthcare problems in the Gulf. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the Portugieser Dubai edition will go to the foundation.
Price and availability
The Portugieser Chronograph Edition “Seddiqi – Al Jalila Foundation Dubai” (ref. IW371489) is limited to 200 pieces. It’s available only at the IWC boutique inside the gargantuan Mall of the Emirates, a shopping centre with its own ski resort.
The price has yet to be announced but as a benchmark, the ordinary version of the same watch retails for US$7600.