IWC “Gilt 325” Portugieser

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Up for grabs is an incredibly rare and extremely well-preserved IWC Portugese, nicknamed the Portugeiser, the Reference 325.  The Reference 325 was made by IWC after a special request in the late 1930s by two Portuguese businessmen who wanted larger wristwatches, as during this era most watches were produced in much smaller sizes (think 30mm for a man’s watch) – the Portugeiser was made in a large (even by today’s standards) 42mm steel case.  IWC produced the Reference 325 in very, very small quantities (690 pieces total), spread over 4 decades, and utilized three different pocket watch movements to power them (the Cal. 74, 98 and 982, in that order).  The present example is from the 1st batch of watches produced with the Cal. 74, and was produced from 1939-1951.  This watch is accompanying by an Extract from IWC’s archives, confirming its production.

The condition of this IWC Portugeiser is exceptional.  Very few have survived or been found over the years, and even fewer in good condition, as these cases were not waterproof. The case was likely lightly polished, with thick and even lugs and minimal wear.  The dial is beautiful, with only the lightest of wear visible under a loupe (minor hairlines or radium burn near the markers), and no serious flaws, and remains very glossy.  Finally, the original radium lume remains present on both dial and hands, aged to a nice yellow color, and reacting very strongly on a geiger counter.

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