IWC Releases 27 Portugieser Watches in Honor of American Founder
The International Watch Company (now IWC) was founded in 1868 by an American from a small town in New Hampshire. Having made watches since he was 16, Florentine Ariosto Jones started the company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, before he turned 30, with the hopes of selling well-made Swiss watches to an American audience. It didn't quite turn out that way; less than a decade later, he was removed from the company and returned to the U.S. IWC survived the break and is now one of the best-known watch brands in the world—and it doesn't hold a grudge.
Despite those rocky years, IWC announced that, in an effort to honor Jones, it will make a limited edition of 27 units of a watch it's calling the Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D.H. Craig USA,” timed to hit the market on the centenary of Jones's death.
And what's in that name and why the odd number?
The number 27 is a nod to Jones's age when he founded the company, and the name "D.H. Craig" belongs to Jones's uncle. (Back story: The watchmaker's most famous mechanism while he was running IWC in Switzerland was called the Jones 2N Pattern H caliber, and he had his uncle's name inscribed in the metal to honor the man he viewed as a mentor. Putting someone's name on a watch movement as a tribute was a common practice then.)
The watch itself is a spin on the manual Portugieser Tourbillon, with the tourbillon beating at the 9 o'clock hour on the face. Like previous offerings, the case is rose gold, but here the hands and indexes are blued steel, which increases overall legibility and adds an appropriately vintage feel to the piece.
F.A. Jones's signature is on the face, and alongside the sapphire caseback you can see "D.H. Craig" stamped into the gold, as well as its unit number (1 to 27). The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters and holds its power for 54 hours. Collectors who buy one will also get a numbered passport made by the same shoemaker (Santoni) who created the black alligator strap for the watch.
The Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound Edition “D.H. Craig USA” will be sold for $57,000 only at boutiques in New York and London.
In tandem with this new release, IWC is teaming up with an organization called Save America's Clocks, which aims to document and preserve street clocks across the country. Together they will target a specific clock in New York to save and maintain.