In the watch industry today, it is common practice for renowned watch manufacturers to work together with world-famous brand ambassadors from film and television, the music industry and, above all, sport. Swiss watch brand IWC Schaffhausen and legendary Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton have enjoyed a particularly intensive collaboration of this kind. A collaboration that recently resulted in a new strictly limited luxury watch: the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton. In this article, we focus on the partnership between IWC and Hamilton and take a closer look at the Portugieser timepiece that is currently the talk of the town.
The partnership between IWC and Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton, who guarded a Mickey Mouse watch like his greatest treasure as a child, is now regarded as a style icon. The celebrated driver for the Mercedes team feels at home in the world of fashion and has a pronounced weakness for watches from the luxury segment. So it seems natural to team up with a successful watch brand.
How the collaboration began
IWC has now been working with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team as an "Official Engineering Partner" for a proud ten years. The partnership, which began in 2013, has produced a whole series of IWC special editions over the years, including the very recent Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 Edition "Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team", which was released in 2022. Lewis Hamilton has always been particularly involved in the collaboration. With his help, the third "Hamilton x IWC" watch has now seen the light of day.
Shared values and goals
The greatest common denominator between Lewis Hamilton and IWC Schaffhausen is certainly their unbridled passion for highly functional, luxurious timepieces. Hamilton, whose Formula 1 career always comes down to fractions of a second, and IWC, the manufacturer of extremely precise watches - a dream team with no shortage of new ideas for joint projects.
Both parties place the highest value on the finest quality and are enthusiastic about impressive complications that create functional added value. However, Hamilton's commitment extends far beyond his excellent eye for beauty and the expensive. The successful Formula 1 driver is committed to social justice and advocates for a community in which people have the same opportunities regardless of their background.
IWC: a renowned watch brand
The "International Watch Company", or IWC for short, was founded in 1868 and is based in Switzerland, more precisely in Schaffhausen. The brand, which is definitely one of the long-established Swiss manufacturers, has built up a fantastic reputation over the decades and is now one of the top destinations for watch fans from all over the world.
IWC as a manufacturer of luxury watches
Of course, IWC's range is not exclusively made up of watches created in the context of the cooperation with Mercedes. Interested watch enthusiasts will find a fine selection of versatile collections from this renowned manufacturer, from the Portofino and Aquatimer to the Grande Complication.
The importance of brand ambassadors in the watch industry
Collaborating with brand ambassadors is almost a matter of course in the watch industry. Even if we stay with racing, there are numerous partnerships with watch manufacturers. Want a few examples? No problem: Richard Mille and Ferrari, TAG Heuer and the Red Bull Racing Team as well as Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin. As partners, the watch brands always sponsor the respective team in some way - but what do they get out of it?
The short version of the answer is: attention and image cultivation. If a new IWC watch is worn by a great like Lewis Hamilton, the manufacturer can be virtually certain that demand will increase and that both watch enthusiasts and Formula 1 fans will take notice. The stars, who naturally represent the watch brand as ambassadors, also have a major influence on how the brand is perceived by the public. The collaboration with selected celebrities and teams - whether from the sport or from a completely different industry - has proven to be an effective marketing measure and ultimately serves both parties.
Lewis Hamilton's influence on watch development
As a die-hard watch enthusiast, Hamilton's contribution to the collaboration with IWC is by no means limited to "just" wearing the watches. On the contrary: he was repeatedly involved in the development of new special editions. This is particularly true of the new Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde, whose dial is even adorned with the racing driver's logo.
Hamilton had a major influence on the design of this highly limited Portugieser piece of jewelry, of which only 44 were produced - based on Hamilton's starting number. It is thanks to him that the dial and strap of the watch shine in a bright, truly extraordinary shade of blue-green. A shade reminiscent of vibrant peacock feathers and paradisiacal seas. In combination with the solid platinum case and the discreetly integrated diamonds, which further enhance the dial, the color is shown to its best advantage and automatically draws all eyes to this very special watch - it couldn't be more glamorous!
In addition to the design, it is above all the technology that makes the "Hamilton x IWC" Portugieser watches an already acclaimed novelty. Behind the diamonds, the color and the platinum lies the complex IWC Caliber 89900, which the proud owner of the watch can see very closely through the sapphire crystal back. The movement, which is one of IWC Schaffhausen's most complicated in-house movements, impresses with its reliability, maximum functionality and 68-hour power reserve.
Let's be clear: what can the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton do? As the name "chronograph" suggests, the watch is equipped with a sub-dial that can be used to measure time precisely. There is also a retrograde date display, which blends effortlessly and harmoniously into the overall appearance of the watch with its filigree hand. The one-minute tourbillon with stop seconds crowns the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde's range of functions and once again demonstrates that no expense or effort was spared in the development of this watch.
The opinion of watch critics and collectors
When the new Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde was announced, the majority of watch critics and collectors had one question: How much should the watches with the colorful dial cost?
If you combine the big name IWC Schaffhausen with the numerous functions and high-quality materials of this watch and then add to this the limited number of only 44 watches, it becomes clear that this cannot possibly be a bargain. The new watch from the collaboration between IWC and Lewis Hamilton is priced at 164,000 euros and is therefore clearly in the category of absolute high-end timepieces.
Nevertheless, many collectors and connoisseurs of the scene agree: luxury, rarity and quality have their price. Overall, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Lewis Hamilton has been extremely well received and is already repeatedly described as the best "Hamilton x IWC" watch.
Conclusion: The synergy between IWC and Lewis Hamilton
With its radiant dial, luxurious details and range of complications, the new Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde watch reflects what characterizes the partnership between IWC and Hamilton: An unparalleled quest to bring out the absolute best in a watch. This latest special edition is simply further proof that the watch brand and its brand ambassador have found in each other someone who perfectly matches their own ideas and values.