Not only is Lewis Hamilton celebrated as a top-tier athlete in motorsports, but he’s also identified for his unique fashion sense and iconic wardrobe choices. The renowned Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team driver continually experiments with his attire, showcasing vibrant colours, intriguing patterns, and innovative designs. Now, as the IWC ambassador, Hamilton collaborates once again with IWC’s Chief Design Officer, Christian Knoop, and team to unveil his third exclusive timepiece.
The Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph (Ref. IW394008) is enclosed with a 43.5-mm platinum case, one of the purest and most valued metals available. Its platinum hue beautifully matches the teal-coloured dial, further accentuating 12 shimmering diamonds. The dial, set with slightly indented displays for both the chronograph and retrograde date, presents a detailed, three-dimensional appearance and proudly bears the seven-time F1™ world champion’s logo. The watch is beautifully paired with a coordinating textile band and a folding buckle.
The main attraction of the dial is the flying hacking minute tourbillon, positioned at 6 o’clock. A Tourbillon is a mechanism where the balance wheel rotates within a tiny cage. The purpose of a tourbillon is to counteract gravitational effects on the oscillating system, enhancing the watch’s precision. Though the tourbillon was developed mainly for pocket watches, watch manufacturers would create one to showcase its strength. The tourbillon stop feature ensures the system can halt entirely, enabling precise time settings. Comprising 56 individual components and weighing a mere 0.675 grams, constructing this mechanism is daunting for watchmakers.
Powering the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph is the IWC’s proprietary 89900 calibre, supporting a chronograph function. The hours and minutes are distinctly shown in a singular counter at the 12 o’clock mark, simplifying the reading of elapsed time. It also showcases a retrograde date display. With the escape wheel and pallet lever crafted from silicon and layered with a diamond coat, the innovative Diamond Shell® technology minimizes friction, promoting a smooth energy flow within the movement and resulting in an impressive 68-hour power reserve. The movement’s elements, such as the bridges, are coated in gold and can be enjoyed via the sapphire crystal case back. This is a notable milestone for IWC, marking its first gold-plated movement since the renowned “Il Destriero Scafusia” in 1993.