Since its debut in 1998, The cheap IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3714 watches has become the most sought-after, the most recognisable, and certainly the best-selling model in the Portugieser family. Apart from being a veritable design success, this watch has acquired cult status for one reason: it hasn’t changed a bit since its inception. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this modern icon, we thought it was time to take an in-depth look at this watch with a review of the Portugieser Chronograph 3714.
The buy IWC watches (not referred to as Portuguese or Portugaise any longer) has its roots in the country that gave its name to this iconic watch. Portugal has a rich history of navigating legends, with explorers of the stature of Vasco da Gama or Ferdinand Replica Watches UK Reviews Magellan, but maritime exploration has nothing to do with the name of this watch.
The IWC Portugieser was introduced in 1939, under the reference 325, after two Portuguese businessmen – Rodrigues and Teixeira – paid a visit to the sale IWC watches manufacture in Schaffhausen with an unusual request. They wanted all the precision of a marine chronometer in a wristwatch format. This resulted in the creation of a large, legible stainless steel watch, equipped with a pocket watch movement. Fitted with the hand-wound calibre 74, it was slightly modified to become a hunter-movement so the crown could be positioned on the right side of the case.
The Ref. 325 was an impressively large watch for those days. Measuring 43mm in diameter, when most contemporary watches measured under 34mm, the style of the watch was eminently functional with a focus on legibility, breaking with the prevailing trend of overly-designed Art Deco watches. The key elements of the design were the simple Arabic numerals, an ultra-thin (almost non-existent) bezel, leaf-shaped hands and a functional minutes/seconds track. All of these design elements have stood the test of time and are featured in the modern versions of the IWC Portugieser.
From 1939 until 1993, the copy IWC watches was in short supply. Only 304 pieces with Calibre 74 were produced and 371 pieces with the evolution of this movement, the Calibre 98 (and its subsequent version, Calibre 982). During the 1970s and 1980s, the watch was sold exclusively on the German market and many thought it was the end of the marine chronometer wristwatch by IWC.
In 1993, the situation changed and the copy IWC watches made its comeback for the 125th anniversary of the brand with the Jubilee Edition Ref. 5441 – a 42mm watch produced in 1,750 pieces (1,000 in stainless steel, 500 in rose gold, 250 in platinum), which was extremely faithful to the original Ref. 325, including a pocket watch-inspired movement, Calibre 9828 (an evolution of the Calibres 98 and 982). However, the true comeback of the replica IWC watches Portugieser, as a consistent collection, occurred in 1995 with the introduction of two important watches. The first one was the Ref. 5240, a minute repeater produced in 550 pieces (50 in platinum, 250 in rose gold and 250 in yellow gold), with a repeater mechanism fitted on a hand-wound Calibre 95. Even though it was a highly complicated model, this watch retained the classic look of the Portugieser collection.
The most important introduction has to be credited to the fake IWC watches Chronograph Rattrapante Ref. 3712 (or DoppelChronograph), which was introduced in 1995 and would become the inspiration for the model we are reviewing today. Both in terms of design and technicality – with the incorporation of a simplified split-seconds complication, adapted on a hand-wound Valjoux 7750 (a module developed by Richard Habring, and used now in the Habring2 Doppel-Felix) – the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante is the foundation stone of the current collection. In the following years, the collection will expand with dozens of different watches (think IWC Portugieser Automatic 7-day in 2000) and complications (QP, tourbillon, annual calendar, in-house chronograph or even a Grande Complication).