IWC's Portugieser Is Celebrating Its 75th Anniversary This Year

Matthieu Dupont, Managing Director of IWC Southeast Asia, talks about the new Portugieser.

BY Leong Wong | Dec 1, 2015 | Interview

Photograph from IWC.

ESQUIRE: How do you find Singapore, and how have you settled in?

MATTHIEU DUPONT: I love Singapore, as I have been here many times before. It is very different from Dubai where I was based previously. I love the weather, and the culture is quite amazing. I love the food too. The people in Singapore are so friendly. Getting around Asia is very easy as well, because Singapore is the hub of Asia. It is also right in the centre of the most beautiful part of the world.

ESQ: What is the working philosophy of IWC?

MD: IWC is about passion for watchmaking, per-fection in craftsmanship and technical innovation. These are the three things that we care about the most. On the manufacturing side, we are con-cerned with precision and performance during the production process of each timepiece that we make. When there is a problem or a challenge, we solve it with innovative solutions. There’s always something going on, and there’s never been a dull day since I started working with IWC. The work-place is always vibrant and full of energy, because we have a dynamic CEO. It is all about moving forward, and the direction is clear, and it is reflected in the brand’s dynamism. As Georges Kern once said, “A brand is a living organism. If it is stagnant, then it is dead.”

ESQ: What changes have you seen during your time with IWC?

MD: I started working with IWC in 2005. I was based in the UK first, and then I went to the Middle East. In all the years that I have been with IWC, I have seen it evolving, and it still is. We have very strong watches, and every range is doing well. We have also become actively involved in CSR. We partnered with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which helps to promote sports and educa-tion among underprivileged children around the world. We also established the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation, which helps to de-velop the future of underprivileged youth, in addi-tion to a few other arts foundations. We have a new A new state-of-the-art manufacture too.

ESQ: Let’s talk about the Portugieser and its 75th anniversary celebrations.

MD: The planning started about a year ago. The marketing of the watch itself was done a year in advance. It is certainly an honour to celebrate the anniversary of the Portugieser. While it will take place regionally throughout the course of the year, the celebration will be more localised and on a smaller scale, so that we can have more intimate encounters with our clients, watch enthusiasts and fans. We hope to celebrate the Portugieser again in 75 years’ time.

ESQ: Three new calibres have been intro-duced for the anniversary. How long did they take from inception to completion?

MD: The calibres took longer; they started out years ago, as technical expertise and engineering were required. The process of producing a movement also depends on technological advancements and availability. In the Calibre 52000, we used the latest technology available, which is the best that innovation can allow right now. The new calibres are designed to accommodate additional compli-cation modules; apart from the Automatic in the latest collection, we have added the Annual Calendar and the Perpetual Calendar. For the moment, they are used for these particular Portugieser models, but further down the road, we definitely plan to expand the 52000 into other ranges.

ESQ: All IWC ranges are well established, with some that are considered truly iconic. Will we be seeing the introduction of a new range in the near future?

MD: As you pointed out, our ranges are already very strong, and we have something for nearly ev-eryone. We’re not trying to attract a younger crowd with a new range, but instead enhancing existing ranges to attract them. It’s working, because the numbers are growing, and we are very pleased with that.

First published in Esquire Singapore's December 2015 issue.