A historically important, very rare, and remarkably crisp oversized wristwatch with lacquered black gilt dial and luminous indexes

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  • Manufacturer: IWC
    Year: 1942
    Reference No: 325
    Movement No: 931’986
    Case No: 1’072’461
    Model Name: Portugieser
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 74, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, and movement signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The origins of the IWC Portugieser are somewhat shrouded in myth, but it is widely agreed by scholars that in 1939, Portuguese watch importers – a Mr. Rodrigues and a Mr. Teixeira – made a special request of IWC: to create an oversized wristwatch with a highly accurate movement. IWC took up the challenge, utilizing first their pocket watch caliber 74, a manually wound savonette movement with subsidiary seconds and a 54-hour power reserve. The wristwatches of the era were typically quite small, with a 36mm diameter being considered oversized, so a 42mm diameter wristwatch was positively gigantic.

    The first reference 325s, now dubbed the "Portugieser", were shipped to Lisbon in 1942 to Mr. Rodrigues, later of the firm Rodrigues & Gonçalves, Ltd. And indeed, the present lot was one of these first Portugiesers fulfilling Rodrigues’ request of three years earlier, having been shipped to Lisbon on June 17th, 1942 and confirmed by the manufacture as being a part of the very first shipment. Further evidence is provided by a small but crisp armadillo hallmark on the lower right lug – the Portuguese import mark for non-precious metals. Each hallmark was applied by hand – this is typically called a punçao – when the watch passed through the Portuguese Assay office, and accounts for some variation in the location where the punçao has been placed. According to IWC, only 304 examples of the reference 325 were produced with the caliber 74, with 690 examples in total produced between 1939 and 1981. Over these 42 years, only 141 actual Portugiesers were imported to Portugal. Though prized by collectors today because of their rarity, size, and history, the reference 325 did not enjoy acclaim during its actual production.

    The IWC Portugieser has been the bastion of the IWC line-up since its introduction in 1942, thanks to the curious inquiry of Señors Rodrigues and Teixiera. The style has been reinterpreted, the movement improved upon, and complications added and subtracted, but the overall physical profile – a slim and oversized men’s wristwatch with short, broad lugs – has remained the same. It is integral to the DNA of the IWC brand and retains a timeless aesthetic.

    The rarity and historical significance of the present lot should be enough to capture the heart of any collector, but these elements are further enhanced by this Portugieser’s exceptional case condition and beautiful glossy gilt dial with luminous Arabic indexes. The dial boasts a vivid black lacquered surface – completely original – with perfectly intact luminous hour markers and stunning silver gilt printing. The case is sharp, unpolished and as delivered from the factory, with its punçao hallmark strikingly crisp and deep. One can conclude the present watch sat in a safe for most of its life, having been cherished and loved by its owner. Phillips is proud to offer this remarkable example for the first time at public auction, without a doubt one of the finest and most important Portugiesers to ever appear on the market.

    Phillips wishes to sincerely thank Dr. David Seyffer, IWC Museum Curator, for his invaluable assistance in researching the present lot.

  • Maker Bio

    IWC

    Swiss • 1868

    With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world's leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining high precision with masculine design. Vintage wristwatches such as the oversized Portugieser, Aquatimer, Ingenieur and the B-UHR pilots watch are especially desirable for collectors.

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Ο63

IWC

Ref. 325
A historically important, very rare, and remarkably crisp oversized wristwatch with lacquered black gilt dial and luminous indexes

1942
42mm Diameter
Case, dial, and movement signed.

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 
CHF79,700-120,000
€69,500-104,000
HK$627,000-941,000

sold for $68,750

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

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