The engineers, who create those nerve-racking Formula One engines, are tech wizards. Going by the F1 rulebook, they build engines smaller than that of a regular Ford Corolla car, but they ensure that these deliver 1,000 horsepower. Then there are other F1 wizards, such as Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton, who smash records at regular intervals. Joining hands with F1 stakeholders from time to time are some of the most revered luxury watch brands in the world.
It all started in 2014 with the release of the Ingenieur Chronograph Edition Lewis Hamilton, marking the beginning of a time-tested collaboration between IWC Schaffhausen and the seven-time Formula One World Champion. Continuing the partnership, the brand has now released a 44-piece limited-edition watch, Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton (Ref. IW394008). The watch isn’t just about colours and aesthetics, but it’s also about honouring the collaboration and precision watchmaking.
Hamilton wears many hats — he is an environmentalist, fashion designer, musician, and social activist, combating racism and pushing for increased diversity in motorsport. Making his debut in 2007 at the age of just 22, alongside the then World Champion Fernando Alonso, Hamilton’s maiden F1 season started at the Australian Grand Prix. He remained in title contention until the very last round and narrowly missed out on the title by just one point.
The IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton watch is the first collab piece of its kind in the Portugieser collection. The watch is bold, has more depth in terms of complexity, and is in perfect sync with the quintessential Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph, to which Hamilton has added his own personal touch. However, there are some upgrades that merit a sharper focus. The 43.5 mm platinum watch gets brushed and polished surfaces. The lugs, the chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock, and the crown at 3 o’clock have also been crafted from platinum. The watch gets a teal dial, embellished with 12 sparkling diamonds on the outer periphery.
In terms of aesthetics, the watch gets a one-minute flying tourbillon with stop-seconds at 6 o’clock. Between 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock, there is a retrograde date indication while a chronograph with a flyback function and elapsed hours/minutes is displayed in a single totaliser at 12 o’clock. Classic design elements of the Portugieser can be found on the rhodium-plated, leaf-shaped hour, minute hands with the signature Arabic numerals. The pallet lever and the escape wheel are made of silicon and feature a diamond coating. The Diamond Shell® technology reduces friction and improves the flow of energy in the movement. At 3 o’clock, just below the IWC logo, one can also find the image of a stylised winged figure, resembling the letter “V”, personifying speed, freedom, and the ‘obligation of victory’ — the logo of the ace racer.
Powering the watch is the IWC-manufactured, self-winding calibre 89900 with 68 hours of power reserve. The movement components, such as the bridges, are gold-plated and can be admired through the sapphire glass back with an 18 ct gold oscillating weight and the engraving of the individual watch number out of 44. This is the first time IWC has produced a gold-plated movement since the creation of the legendary “Il Destriero Scafusia” in 1993. Its architecture is based on the in-house chronograph, developed by Kurt Klaus in 2007, and it comes with an integrated column-wheel architecture with flyback function. The timepiece is fitted on a matching textile strap with a folding clasp.