The moonphase display has a number of uses, from the practicality of assisting sailors with tide predictions to the more mundane reminder of why we might be having more trouble sleeping than unusual. The IWC calibre 35800 self-winding mechanical movement used in the new Portofino Midsize collection incorporates just such a moonphase display into its workings and offers a power reserve of 42 hours.
Even though the five moonphase models are the stars of the new Portofino Midsize collection, the Portofino itself is no stranger to the moonphase complication, which it offered in the very first Portofino collection when it was launched 30 years ago. The new models, which are available in white gold, red gold or steel, sport a feminine interpretation of the moon phase on a star-studded disc visible beneath an aperture in the dial at 12 o’clock.
Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, describes the overall design of the new collection, with the use of diamonds and mother-of-pearl as “something of a renaissance in the Portofino family.” Indeed, after a period of overtly masculine communication, almost to the point of chauvinism, the brand now seems to be mellowing with a new collection geared almost exclusively to women but whose design and discreet stone settings could well appear to male customers in certain regions of the world.
“For us, it is discreet and unpretentious,” Mr Knoop says of the design. “The Portofino from IWC has retained the clean lines for which it has become so well known and so popular. It is underscored by the motherofpearl dials, as well as those with a sunpattern finish, both of which give the watches a wonderful depth and life of their own.”
It’s worth dwelling in particular on the attention to detail in this moonphase indication. Rather than opt for simple colour contrasts on each model, IWC instead offers a tone-on-tone blue/blue display on the stainless-steel version that not only matches the blue alligator leather strap (all the leather straps in the collection are supplied exclusively to IWC by renowned Italian shoe manufacturer Santoni) but also makes the moon appear to float on the dial and disappear magically shortly before the new moon phase. The same effect is achieved on the white-gold version with a tone-on-tone black/black indicator and the added sparkle of diamond hour markers and an additional inner circle of diamonds on the black lacquer dial, for a total of 174 diamonds encrusting this top-of-the-range model.
But luxury need not necessarily mean pricey. In addition to the moonphase models, the new Portofino Midsize collection offers day/night models with a second time zone display over 24 hours, as well as automatic models available in steel, still with a discreet setting of 12 diamonds on the dial, starting from a very reasonable 5,600 Swiss francs.