Cigar Aficionado

IWC Portuguese F.A. Jones

It isn't very often you find a major Swiss watch-making company paying tribute to its American roots. That's because none of them have American roots. None, that is, except IWC, which honors the legacy of its American founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones, with its latest release, the Portuguese F.A. Jones.

The watch is classic in appearance—simple yet stylish—and when you compare the Portuguese F.A. Jones with today's multitude of timepieces that are fraught with functions, it seems like a throwback to watches of yore. Even if you put appearance aside, it is still a throwback in that it features the same mechanical movement that Jones originally developed, the mechanism that is now known as the Jones Calibre.

But who exactly is F.A. Jones and how is it that he came to create the International Watch Company in 1868? As the story goes, Jones was living in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the manager at E. Howard & Co. watch concern. At that time, the American watch industry was facing staggering production costs, so Jones, aware of the then low labor costs in Switzerland, relocated to Schaffhausen. It was here that Jones founded IWC and began designing pocket watches.

Today, more than 135 years later, IWC is extolling Jones with the Portuguese F.A. Jones. It features the Jones Calibre and its technical features for precision timekeeping that were advanced in their time and still are, including a bimetallic balance to compensate for temperature changes and an elongated index used for adjusting the movement known as the Jones Arrow.

The IWC Portuguese F.A. Jones is a limited-edition watch: 500 were made in platinum cases ($31,500), 1,000 in 18-carat rose gold ($16,200) and 3,000 in stainless steel (pictured, $9,900). All of the styles are manually wound and the face, which measures 43 millimeters across, keeps hours and minutes, with a subdial for seconds. The bands are made of alligator leather.

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