It's not so hard to believe that this is the first time IWC has employed a suede band on a watch. The Swiss watchmaker is associated with ultra fine materials such as the highly nuanced alligator leather or calfskin straps made exclusively for IWC by Italian shoemakers Santoni.
Lovely as leather may be, suede offers a nice shake-up for the watchmakers. Introduced in the expanded range of the Portofino Collection, the soft and tactile material offers a counterpoint to the classic, uncluttered designed of the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days (IW510115).
It's a visual contrast that reflects how men dress now: an uptown sport coat with dressed-down sneakers, a slick leather jacket with well-cut trousers, a fine watch with a polo shirt. Frankly, the mix of materials just makes the classic watch more interesting.
Of note, the gray suede band has been selected well as it coordinates with the slate dial of the watch. This looks like a timepiece built for the desert or a concrete utopia (where will you wear it?). A bonus: Suede is also very comfortable to wear, even in intense summer heat.
Not to be outdone, another Eight Days model (IW510116) debuts a new look with the pairing of a steel Milanaise mesh bracelet with a blue dial. This, too, plays with contrast via tones: the light-catching silver of stainless steel against that icy blue.
Finally, we can't not mention the nifty counter on the left side of both dials. The power reserve display, is a visual (and beautiful) reminder for you to do something. Powered by the 59210 manufacture calibre, both watches boast of 192 hours—or eight days—of reliable and accurate running. When eight days elapse, the movement stops (actually, the watches are designed to run smoothly for nine days), so you should, as indicated by the hand, wind it up.