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Article: A piece of versatile Elegance - The IWC Portofino | VARIO

A piece of versatile Elegance - The IWC Portofino | VARIO

A piece of versatile Elegance - The IWC Portofino | VARIO

iwc portofino watch with vario leather watch band

We always think about saving, is in our nature, if you love a brand and you want to become a part of their legacy we often circulate around their entry level product, for example, the Apple iphone SE will give you that apple experience without being as expensive as their flag ship model, probably well-built and with a similar software, sure you won't get the crazy features that you would never use but, you are an apple owner, what a weird concept. Same is true with watches, to me IWC is one of those brands that I always tend to gravitate to, maybe is the Portugiesier on Frank Underwood's wrist (shout out to Kevin Spacey and House of cards) or the history with their flieger pilots, but at the end of the day I love the brand. Thinking a bit on the IWC catalogue and you will find something for everyone, well to be honest, almost everyone. The Portugiesier chrono is one of the best know models and now with an in-house movement and bracelet representing one the best value for an IWC but, it would still be over 7K GBP. Then we have the Mark XVIII, very good looking but not the best value out there, 4K would get you a non-in-house variant, very expensive in my opinion. So how do you get to IWC ownership without breaking the bank? Well think on a secondhand Portofino, yes is the entry level watch for IWC but it has the classiness of the Portugieser and the heritage of the Mark series, best of both worlds.

The watch is so versatile that it would be the best subject to experiment my favorite watch straps on the market today: the Vario straps.

iwc watch with vario leather watch band

The specifications:

The Portofino is 38mm, perfect for today's world, easy to pull on an elegant dinner or as an everyday watch, it just works. With a very thin profile under 10mm the Portofino exudes elegance but at the same time lots of attitude, it would be hard to imagine that someone bought this watch not being a watch lover. The very Germanic simplicity of the dial makes it one of the darkest black I've encountered, very unique approach with a simple date at 3 o'clock. Silver leaf hands complete the package, precise with just a line 'Automatic' at 6 o clock and IWC at 12, no need to know the name of the watch, you already knew that when you bought it. The case houses a Sellita base caliber, nothing wrong with the movement as it has been regulated and decorated by IWC, easy to service and reliable, just like the whole package.

The strap and wearability:

One of the beauties of this case are the lugs and this is the reason why it is a strap monster. The lugs have this wired welded lugs look making the watch feel like world war accessory , it is like someone grabed a pocket watch and put some lugs into it, making the heritage looks kicks in without being a vintage re issue. Vario's vintage leather strap paired great with this beauty, we tried the black, the orange and the green and all of them work, you can have a very casual look or a very elegant one. I think the green against the black gives the Portofino a look that screams look at me but without losing the grace. The quality of the leather is outstanding, it feels very luxurious and with a tapering from 20mm to 16mm even more charm is added to this IWC, the quick release system is a welcome addition to the strap, I personally travel with the piece and a second strap set, ready to change the look when needed.

iwc portofino watch with vario leather strap


The IWC Portofino might be the entry level watch from IWC but this doesn’t mean that you don’t get to flirt with the big boys, the branding and heritage are there and the classiness its assure with a good set of straps, at some point this watch reminded me as the Rolex Explorer, simple and sometimes called boring but it is an icon for a reason, try to pull a Yachtmaster II at work every day and you'll see what I mean, I love that watch but not versatile. The Portofino is quiet, solid and with lots of history, I am sure just like when you go to a restaurant you never order the most expensive wine on the list, you ask for the 2nd less expensive as I am sure it would offer more value.

iwc portofino watch with vario leather watch strap

Written by Robbie from Robbie & Watches

Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.

For the full range of Vario's watch straps, please visit

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