We don’t mean to be judge-y or anything, but women sort of get the short end of the stick when it comes to luxury watches. Aside from glittery, diamond encrusted timepieces (which we do love), there isn’t very much when it comes to everyday basics, which is why we’re pretty excited about Portofino, the newest collection from IWC Schaffhausen. The new line reimagines a brand classic—medium sized and unisex, made for the most timeless of styles. Even the brand’s latest project to support the release is a series of androgynous black and white shots featuring “Friends of the Brand,” actors, singers and models posing in the latest timepieces for legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh, who will be displaying the images around the world as an art exhibit.
To truly encapsulate the feeling and inspiration of the newest collection, the brand brought an A-list cast to the collection’s namesake town of Portofino to create a video and series of photographs that will be shown during Art Basel on December 3 in Miami. The exhibit, entitled Timeless Portofino, will also be shown worldwide at the Zurich Film Festival, the Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong, the London Film Festival and an exclusive show in Dubai. Including such names as Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz, Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Zhou Xun, Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova, the campaign was set up as an artistic collaborative effort rather than an advertising campaign. Lindbergh shot the stars as they talked and laughed together, enjoying each other’s company and getting lost in the slow momentum of the idyllic city, making for gallery-worthy images. “We have long-standing partnerships based on friendship; the stars are part of the brand. Cate Blanchett and Kevin Spacey, for instance, have produced plays for us. We are interested in more than the red carpet and logo wall,” explains Georges Kern, IWC’s CEO.
Tapping into the casual elegance of the area, IWC Schaffhausen draws parallels of luxury, beauty and timelessness from the city, something they take great pride in. They see the town as a part of their brand—a place of elegance, timelessness and great beauty. And it would seem that even the celebrities felt that way. “Portofino is one of the most magical places on the planet. Being dressed in a tuxedo, wearing these amazing pieces of art while speeding along the Italian Riviera, I wished for nothing more than to stop time and linger just a little longer,” Christoph Waltz said. Emily Blunt agreed, “To work together with Peter Lindbergh in Portofino was an experience I will not forget, because his magnificent sense of beauty and attention to detail allowed us as cast members to truly transcend in time and space.”
Within the collection lies a complete series of options that are made for both men and women in the form of a smaller, luxury timepiece. While the original Portofino Midsize watches were created in 1984, the revival is getting a well-deserved makeover. The pièce de résistance of the new line is the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase, a timepiece with a jet black dial, framed in white gold and trimmed in 174 white diamonds. Each watch is understated, with subtle touches of diamonds, mother-of-pearl and golden moon-phase displays made of genuine goldstone crafted on the Italian island of Murano and set into the watch face. “Our take on luxury is a modern one. For us it is discreet and unpretencious,” Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen explains. “The Protofino from IWC has retained the clean lines for which it has become so well-known and so popular.”