The Elusive IWC 5251

Part Five Epilogue

While the 5251 is not listed in the new IWC catalog (“Time for a new millennium”, 1999/00), they did pay, what perhaps might be, final tribute to this wonderful timepiece:

“The ‘mother’ of all Portofinos, a collector’s item with a pocket watch 9521 movement, is affectionately referred to by watchmakers at IWC as a “pocket wristwatch”. One of watchmaking’s most notable achievements, it is a successful combination of discreet classicism and daring extravagance. A truly great – in every sense of the word – role model for the Portofino watch line”

So there you have it, the IWC 5251 Pocket/Wristwatch with Moonphase, on strap, NIB with papers. A large and an incredibly beautiful example of the artistry of Swiss craftsmanship that has been passed down and carefully preserved. It is as hard to imagine the skills required to produce this watch, as it is to imagine no such skills at all. Whether you like this watch or not, at the very least appreciate that the talent to make it still exists.

While gone forever, but not forgotten, this watch will obviously do well on the auction circuit in years to come. I think we will eventually learn from IWC that the production of this watch was very limited. If they made 10 per year while in production, that would total 170 pieces. As hard as they are to find, that might not be too far from the actual number. On the other hand, there might be a small country somewhere, where every citizen has one. There could be literally thousands of these watches, some perhaps even in quartz. Keep an eye out. You just never know!

Terry Russell

Post Script
For other fine examples of people who have lost their sensibilities over IWC watches, may I suggest William Massena’s “Searching for the Holy Grail“, and Richard Smith’s “From Newbie to Portu’Geezer“.

I would also like to offer an expression of gratitude to Michael Friedberg, who selflessly pointed me in the direction of this watch, and who, by any definition, would make a much better steward than I for its journey into the future.