Red Bull Racing and TAG Heuer, Ferrari and Richard Mille, Aston Martin and Girard-Perregaux, McLaren and Richard Mille, Williams and Bremont, Mercedes-AMG Petronas and IWC Schaffhausen: If you’re a fan of Formula 1, you’re probably aware that most teams have a sponsorship deal with a watch brand. IWC and Mercedes is probably the most famous one of all. The team’s drivers even wear gloves with an image of an IWC Portugieser on them – quite a clever marketing tool to make people aware of the partnership.
IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes-AMG Petronas: Partners for a Decade
The partnership came to be in 2013, and in the past decade, we have seen a host of special limited editions. Two recent examples are the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and the IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works collector’s set. We’ve also seen two limited editions made in collaboration with Mercedes’ star driver Lewis Hamilton. Formula 1’s most successful driver ever is known as a watch and fashion aficionado, so it makes sense that IWC worked with Hamilton on their newest timepiece, the third collaborative effort from the pair.
The IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton
The end result is the spectacular Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton, which took two years to develop. IWC present this very special version of their Portugieser in a limited run of just 44 pieces. The number 44 was chosen as it’s the number Hamilton has been racing under since the beginning of his career. So, what makes this such a remarkable watch? Well, there are a number of points when it comes to materials, technology, and exclusive details that make this a standout timepiece. The model is housed in a 43.5 × 15.9-mm platinum case paired with a vibrant, teal dial and matching textile strap. The platinum and teal color combination is quite unique in the world of watches and never before seen in the Portugieser lineup.
A Stunning Piece of Haute Horlogerie
The dial features several details that are worth mentioning. First off, you’ll find the logos of both IWC and Hamilton to indicate the special collaboration. Additionally, the dial features a recessed display for the retrograde date indication. This means the hand will indicate the date from the first to the end of the month, gradually moving up. When the month changes, the hand jumps back down to the 1st of the month. Since the watch is a chronograph, it allows you to time different events, but while most chronographs have at least two subdials to indicate the elapsed minutes and seconds separately, this Portugieser features a recessed chronograph subdial at 12 o’clock that shows both the elapsed minutes and seconds. That way, you can read both the minutes and the seconds at a glance.
To make it even more impressive, the watch features a one-minute flying tourbillon with a stop-seconds at 6 o’clock, meaning this is not only a standout piece in terms of colors and materials, but a proper piece of haute horlogerie that is very impressive technically. To up the exclusivity factor, the dial also features 12 diamonds next to the hour markers. Usually, Portugieser models feature dot markers to punctuate every five minutes, but the sparkling diamonds give it a really refined touch.
The In-House IWC Caliber 89900
The brilliant technology behind this watch is all made possible by the in-house caliber 89900, which is among the brand’s most complicated movements. It was first introduced in 2017, and has only been used for IWC’s high-end pieces. The automatic movement is visible through the sapphire case back and looks nothing short of stunning. Quite a few parts feature gold-plated decoration for an added visual boost, while the partly skeletonized rotor is made of 18-karat gold. The movement comprises 375 individual parts and operates at 28,800 vph or 4 Hz. It offers 68 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
First Impressions of the IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton
The new IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton is impressive to say the least. Both technically and visually, IWC and Hamilton made sure to come up with a unique watch. I love the teal that’s used for the dial and textile strap; it was actually chosen by Lewis Hamilton himself and is, therefore, his signature element of the collab. While I’m usually not a big fan of diamonds on a dial, I have to say that the twelve diamonds on this one are tastefully done. They are there, but not at all in your face, and I appreciate that.
The movement is super impressive and has the visual show-off factor to boot – as it should with a technically complicated movement like this one. A flyback chronograph, tourbillon, and retrograde date combined in a single watch is rather spectacular. As such, this spectacular timepiece comes with a matching price tag. The 44 limited-edition pieces will be on sale for CHF 150,000 (approx. $165,000). That’s a lot of money, making the watch an option only for the happy few. Of course, what they get in return is truly unique and the best collaborative effort that IWC and Lewis Hamilton have created to date.
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