Men’s Passion spoke with IWC’s Regional Brand Director Luc Rochereau on the occasion of the launch of the brand’s Portugieser Automatic Edition “Kuwait”.
What brings you today to Kuwait?
We are here to celebrate our partnership with the Behbehani family and we are launching a special edition exclusively for the Kuwaiti market – the Portugieser Automatic 7 days. It’s one of our iconic models, and this unique edition was designed in partnership with the family to create this unique green color and the transparent back holding the golden medallion featuring the letter “B” of Behbehani. The collection is limited to 98 pieces, which pays tribute to the date of our partnership with the family in Kuwait, which is 1998.
Any reason for using the green color?
The green color represents hope and is as well a request from our clients. With the many years we have been in the Kuwaiti market, we noticed that our clients are great connoisseurs for watches, movements and aesthetics. We have interesting talks with them whenever we visit, and we were recently here for the watchmaking class with our Head of Design and historical watchmaker Kurt Klaus. We interacted with clients and got this feedback about the color.
The specialty of the watch is that this particular green is unique; the color itself does not exist in IWC collections – we have developed it for this special edition.
When did the idea come?
The seed of the idea came many years ago. We had been discussing what to do and how to create something that pays tribute to Kuwait and at the same time stays within the DNA while moreover reflects the esthetic codes of the brand. We had to go back and forth many times before getting all the ingredients to work on the creation. We are very fortunate to be close to the family, and we can easily interact. At the last SIHH we held a focus group with the Behbehani team discussing this and brainstorming ideas. The Behbehanis are very dear partners to us.
How long did it take to produce it from conception to actual production?
It took us about a year to produce the first pieces, from the design to the validation, making sure we worked on all the little details; such as putting gold plated numerals or silver plated, trying two different versions to decide on the final one, Arabic or Roman numerals, etc.
The 98 pieces will be available in the next few weeks to come.
Does it have any variations?
No, this is the size, the color and the bracelet for the 98 pieces. The bracelet was made especially for this piece in partnership with the shoemaker Santoni, and they produced all the bracelets for this watch. They usually work on our complicated watches, but for this exclusive edition we wanted a state-of-the-art bracelet for this model. We really liked the combination of the green color with the case and the bracelet.
Will women be able to wear this timepiece?
This watch is mostly destined for men’s wrists, but it is not over-large and could be easily worn by women. We have a similar white dial piece in our collection with a totally different combination that has had a great success among women.
How is your women’s collection doing in Kuwait?
It’s doing particularly well and even before catering to dedicated lines our products were selling well. We have always had a women’s line – particularly the Portugieser and Portofino, and with the Portifino 37 launch we saw a big difference because now women started to enter our boutique.
Today we are inviting all collectors, enthusiasts to come and discover the watches, and my presence here is to help our clients understand the manufacture and delivery process, because our partner has received many requests already and not all the pieces are yet available at the boutique.
Have you done any limited edition for any country or any other partner in the region?
Actually, the Kuwait edition is the first we dedicate to a country, but we recently launched, at the Dubai Watch Week in November, a model in partnership with the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in Dubai for Al-Jalila Foundation. Headed by the governor’s daughter, the foundation supports research and development in the medical field and for each watch we sell we contribute DHS5,000 to support their research.