The new IWC Portofino Midsize watch arrives in grand style in London

IWC Portofino Midsize watches are in London with the Timeless Portofino photography exhibition and a kick-off gala dinner for the London Film Festival.

In the morning, IWC launched the Portofino Midsize watches with Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz alongside Peter Lindbergh's "Timeless Portofino", a black-and-white photography exhibition. Image by: PHOTOPRESS/IWC

By Maria Doulton in London

Yesterday was a big day for Swiss watch brand IWC in London. Two important events were held to welcome the new IWC Portofino Midsize watch range, culminating in a star-studded gala dinner on the eve of the London Film Festival. 

In the morning, IWC launched the Portofino Midsize watches alongside Peter Lindbergh's "Timeless Portofino", a black-and-white photography exhibition. Actors Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz, who appear in the Portofino shoot, stepped on stage with CEO of IWC Georges Kern before a crowd of over 100 European journalists to share their experiences of the Italian shoot last May.

London actress Emily Blunt, who most recently starred in Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise, has risen to fame thanks to roles in films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Young Victoria and Wild Target. Her role in Gideon's Daughter with Bill Nighy won her a Golden Globe, and she has just finished shooting Sicario alongside Benicio del Toro, a film about bringing down a Mexican narcotics ring. 

Christoph Waltz, actor and producer, is perhaps best known for his award-winning roles in Quentin Tarantino films: the Nazi officer Landa in Inglorious Basterds and Dr King Schultz in Django Unchained. His latest project is Tulip Fever, based on the Tom Stoppard play, in which he stars alongside Cara Delevingne.

Emily Blunt spoke of how she came to select her pretty diamond-set rose gold IWC Portofino Midsize watch on a hand-polished lilac Santoni strap. "I chose it to go with my duck egg blue suede dress, of course," she joked. But not entirely untrue as Emily confesses to being guided by good looks when it comes to style.

Christoph Waltz was wearing the IWC Portofino Eight Day Power Reserve, a handsome manual-winding watch. He was proud of the sapphire crystal case back and took off his watch to show the audience the inner workings of the watch. "Watchmaking is true precision and an art," said Waltz, who is clearly a devout horophile.

Both Waltz and Blunt spoke of the ease with which photographer and filmmaker Peter Lindbergh works. Over three days, 21,000 shots were taken and two mini movies made. "It was a rather magical atmosphere," said Blunt of working with Lindbergh. "And the difference of working with Peter Lindbergh over other photographers is that you don't feel like you are being micro-managed and told how to hold your hand, or if a piece of hair is out of place."

In the evening, the IWC Gala dinner, in honour of the British Film Institute, marked the start of the London Film Festival's red carpet season. Held in Battersea Park, once again Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz were the star guests.

British comedian Rob Brydon, who sang and joked throughout the dinner, drawing in fellow actors Stephen Fry, John Hurt and Julie Walters, led the entertainment. Stephen Fry and Julie Walters were both presented with IWC Portofino Midsize watches. "It's absolute heaven," said Walters on receiving her watch, remarking, with her characteristic humour, how delighted she was to be given a watch since the only use for a BAFTA award is propping a door open. Rob Brydon had to be more resourceful in securing himself an IWC watch. Singing to the tune of Beauty and the Beast, he convinced IWC Chairman Georges Kern to part with his watch.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the British Film Institute, thanked IWC for supporting its work, both in preserving its archives as well as nurturing the future of British film talent. Nevill said: "What a great relationship it is with IWC. The archive is looking after treasures for future generations and IWC creates treasures; they understand about beauty and Georges Kern is completely bonkers about film. It's so lovely to have a partner who has film down in his DNA to support the BFI."

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