Sep 26, 2023
In the interwoven world of wristwatches and car races, few platforms carry as much glitz and glamour as Formula 1.
Among the motorsport’s top talent, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is more than a brand ambassador for Swiss luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen; he’s a collaborator.
Today, IWC is unveiling a limited-edition Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph co-designed by Hamilton. Unlike the white ceramic IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Lake Tahoe he wore during the Miami F1 grand prix in May—a month before its release—the Portugieser channels the driver’s daring sartorial style.
The watch is bold: A lustrous, teal-colored dial with 12 diamond hour markers is matched by a teal textile strap. The 43.5 mm platinum case features a sapphire crystal back that acts as a window into the IWC-manufactured 89900-calibre automatic movement, which powers the timepiece, and its 18-carat gold oscillating weight.
The face also presents three complications (the industry term for features that go beyond telling the time). A chronograph function subdial, which could be used to time an F1 race, for example, rests at 12 o’clock. Curving along the left side of the dial, the timepiece incorporates a retrograde date display.
Most impressive, at 6 o’clock, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph sports a flying “hacking” minute tourbillon. This eye-catching, kinetic feature oscillates to reduce the impact of gravity on the watch’s mechanical elements, allowing them to maintain accuracy. Inside, IWC’s proprietary diamond coating—dubbed Diamond Shell technology—on the pallet lever and escape wheel reduces friction.
This is Hamilton’s third special edition IWC design since 2014. He began with a titanium Ingenieur Chronograph Edition Lewis Hamilton. Five years later, he released the black ceramic Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Lewis Hamilton,” accented with a Burgundy dial and an 18-carat gold crown.
This is Hamilton’s first Portugieser, an icon of the watch world that first debuted in the late 1930s. A collaboration with IWC Chief Design Officer Christian Knoop, the model is limited to 44 pieces (a nod to Hamilton’s F1 racing number) and is likely to be gone in a flash.