One of the world’s top Swiss watch manufacturers, IWC Schaffhausen is a must-have watch among collectors and enthusiasts. A leader in luxury watchmaking since 1868, IWC focuses on innovation and traditional Swiss watchmaking, producing top-notch watches that are loved by connoisseurs and regular watch lovers alike.
For more than 150 years, IWC has been a leader in Swiss luxury watchmaking. The brand is mainly known for being one of the five original manufacturers of Flieger watches during the war. To add, their collections, such as the IWC Aquatimer, IWC Portofino, and IWC Portugieser have become fan favorites in the watch community for their finely-crafted complications.
There’s an IWC watch for every occasion. True enough, their catalog consists of timepieces from pilot’s watches to dress watches. Moreover, they produce a wide range of complications, such as perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, and tourbillons. Some of these complications even go beyond the ordinary. A few examples are a 7-day power reserve and a watch case that can resist magnets.
How much is an IWC watch?
IWC Portugieser Grande Complication
Total of 20 complications
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar
Perpetual calendar, moon phase
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Perpetual calendar, moon phase, chronograph
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 7-Day Power Reserve
1-week power reserve
IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Double Chronograph
Double chronograph, date
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph
Chronograph, date, magnetic resistance
IWC Aquatimer Ocean 2000
2000m water resistance, date
IWC Portugieser Chronograph
IWC Ingenieur Automatic
Date, magnetic resistance
IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII
Prices for the IWC Portugieser: Elegance and Complication in One Watch
Legend has it that the IWC Portugieser was inspired by two Portuguese businessmen who wanted the most precise watch. So in 1930, they requested IWC (then called International Watch Company) to make it a reality. More than 90 years after the Portugieser’s birth, the collection continues to improve. Now, the lineup consists of models with various complications like chronographs, tourbillons, perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, and grande complications. To add, these models are known to have an elegant design with Arabic numeral hour markers and leaf-shaped hands.
In terms of price, the chronograph models can go from as low as $6,200 USD and as high as $13,000 USD. Meanwhile, the ones with an annual calendar and perpetual calendar complications are more expensive, costing at $17,000 USD and $29,000 USD, respectively. For a more complicated watch, you can have the tourbillon version for around $29,000 USD up to $40,000 USD.
Finally, the most complicated Portugieser is called the Grande Complication. This watch has a ton of features like a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, chronograph, moon phase, and others. All in all, it boasts 20 displays and functions. Of course, with all those features, this model comes at a premium price of around $200,000 USD. That being said, these models are some of the most expensive IWC watches in the market.
Prices for the IWC Pilot: An Aviator's Must-Have
In case you didn’t know, IWC was one of the five original manufacturers of flieger watches during World War II. Their models in the Heritage and Classic lineups even retained the same design of the older IWC pilot watches. As an example, these timekeepers have diameters that range from 40mm to 55mm. Under the hood, they run on various movements, such as Sellita, ETA, or in-house movements. Price-wise, the time-only version costs around $3,700 USD, while the more complicated versions like chronographs cost around $12,500 USD.
To pay homage to one of the best pilot films in history, the brand released a Top Gun edition of the IWC Pilotcollection. Although these watches’ designs are slightly modern, they still share the same DNA as their ancestors. Another thing that makes these models unique is that they come in ceramic cases to make them harder and more durable. While most Top Gun models come in black cases, the Top Gun Mojave Desert comes in a sand-like colour. Watches in this collection come in a time-only version, which costs as low as $6,000 USD, while the chronograph is around $12,500 USD.
Another special-edition watch is the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry models. French pioneering aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was mostly known for his novel The Little Prince. Timepieces in this lineup come with cases made with precious metals like platinum or gold. A time-only model goes for around $4,500 USD, while a double chronograph or annual calendar version can cost up to $10,000 USD. Lastly, a complicated version with a tourbillon and moon phase has a price tag that’s north of $225,000 USD.
Prices for the IWC Portofino: Timeless & Elegant
If you’re looking for IWC men’s watches that you can use for formal occasions, the IWC Portofino is a good match. The aesthetic of these watches is both timeless and attractive. In particular, their designs are inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of the Mediterranean. True enough, they keep it simple with thin hour markers and leaf-shaped hands.
Portofino models come in various complications, calibres, and even materials. Of course, the cheapest versions are made with stainless steel and don’t have any other features aside from the time. But for more complicated models with gold materials, expect to pay more. These watches come in either automatic Sellita calibres or manual in-house movements.
Like the previous collections, the Portofino has models that range from simple to complicated. Their stainless steel time-only editions start at $3,400 USD up to $4,500 USD. These are also available in precious metals like gold, which costs around $7,000 USD. Meanwhile, chronograph versions have a starting price of $5,600 USD for the steel version, while the gold version starts at $5,600 USD.
The most expensive IWC watches in the Portofino range costs $30,000 USD. This model comes with a moon phase, a gold case, and diamonds on the dial. The complications along with the precious metals are responsible for its premium price.
Prices for the IWC Aquatimer: A Quintessential Dive Watch
Apart from pilot watches, IWC is also good at making dive watches like the IWC Aquatimer. In fact, the watchmaker has over 50 years of experience when it comes to developing and producing tools for professional divers. Today, the Aquatimer is one of the most-loved sport watches in the watch community.
The collection boasts a few design highlights that make their divers stand out. One of those is the patented bracelet quick-change system. This makes it convenient for customers to change from a steel bracelet to a rubber strap without using any tools. Another is the reliable sealing system, which protects the timepieces from dust, water, and other external factors. Lastly, these watches have a two-colour luminescent coating that makes it a breeze to read time underwater.
How much is an IWC Aquatimer watch, you ask? Well, a simple, time-only model costs around $5,000 USD. These models come in various dial colours like white, black, and navy blue. Meanwhile, a more complicated chronograph version will set you back for around $6,800 USD up to $12,000 USD.
The IWC Aquatimer Special Edition Galapagos Islands watch, for instance, has a premium price tag of $10,600 USD. Inside, it runs on the IWC 89365 calibre that has a flyback system. Furthermore, it has a dominantly black case with neon yellow highlights.
Prices for the IWC Da Vinci: Classic & Versatile
According to the brand, the IWC Da Vinci collection focuses on the connection between technology, creativity, and beauty. The series started in 1969 when the brand released the Da Vinci Quartz Electronic, which ran on the first Swiss-made quartz movement. According to reports, the watch was 10 times more accurate than a tested chronometer movement. These watches are suitable for both men and women as they have a versatile size of 36mm up to 44mm in diameter.
Modern watches in this collection share the same design highlights. One of those is the round-shaped case with a slightly recessed inner circle inside the dial. These timepieces also have a dome-shaped crown and a date window at the 6 o’clock position. Lastly, they have articulated strap horns and curved lugs for maximum comfort. These details let the integrated straps fit snugly on your wrist.
These models come in various materials and complications. One of the cheapest IWC watches in this category is the stainless steel version that has a three-hand display, which costs around $4,500 USD. However, those with a chronograph function are more expensive, costing at around $11,500 USD. If you want a model that comes in a gold or diamond-studded case, expect the price to bump up from $24,500 USD up to $36,500 USD. Meanwhile, vintage IWC Da Vinci models will only cost around $1,100, to the delight of vintage watch lovers’ fans.
Prices for the IWC Ingenieur: Watches for Engineers
As its name suggests, the IWC Ingenieur was made for engineers or people who work near magnetic fields. In fact, when it was released in 1955, it was one of the few tool watches that were resistant to magnets. IWC achieved this feat by using an extra inner case that’s made with soft iron. Years after its release, the IWC Ingenieur became even more popular when famed watch designer Gerald Genta redesigned the watch. The new design had a barrel-shaped case, a bezel with porthole design, and an integrated bracelet that’s very similar to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Now, the iconic watch comes in various materials and complications. It can go from as simple as a three-hand watch to a perpetual calendar. When it comes to materials, customers have several options to choose from, including stainless steel and 18K yellow gold.
If you’re interested in the modern Ingenieurs, expect to pay around $4,100 USD up to $46,500 USD. Older models from the ‘70s and ‘80s can cost around $3,800 USD to $9,500 USD, depending on the watch’s condition. Meanwhile, vintage watches from the ‘50s and ‘60s will set you back from $5,600 USD to $11,000 USD.
For the latest version of the time-only model in stainless steel, expect to pay around $4,400 USD. But a chronograph model will set you back at a higher price of $6,300 USD. Meanwhile, limited-edition models like the Aquatimer Sharks and Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month have a premium price tag from $11,000 USD to $38,500 USD. The price hike is because of the 18K gold material.
Prices of the ‘60s model with two crowns go for around $22,500 USD in good condition. But models from the late 1990s and early 2000s are more accessible at a price range of $2,200 USD up to $3,400 USD.
Prices for the IWC Jubilee Collection: Iconic Watches Revisited
The IWC Jubilee Collection aims to rediscover old icons. With that said, it was released in 2018 to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary, which is why this is the perfect chance for retro lovers to get an updated version of watches in IWC’s past.
An in-demand model is the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”. According to IWC, it’s the first-ever IWC wristwatch that has a jumping numeral module. What this does is it allows to tell the exact time like a digital watch. The only difference is that the numerals of this watch are powered by the gears inside. This watch costs $23,100 USD for the stainless steel version, $36,600 USD for the red gold, and $57,800 USD for the platinum.
Another IWC classic that belongs to the Jubilee collection is the Portugieser “150 Years” series. This includes the Portugieser in various complications like a perpetual calendar ($110,000 USD), a chronograph ($39,000 USD), and an 8-day power reserve ($7,150 USD). All of these models are sold in limited numbers.
Moreover, the Big Pilot’s Watch also received a “150 Years” edition. The well-loved Flieger watch now has a big date window just below the 12 o’clock position. It’s the first time that they did this to a pilot’s watch. This watch comes in two colours — blue and white — that both cost $13,800 USD.
IWC’s Milestones and Achievements
Mechanical Perpetual Calendar
Kurt Klaus, IWC’s head-watchmaker, wanted to translate the Gregorian calendar into a mechanical program for wristwatches. So in 1985, they released the first chronograph to feature a perpetual calendar that’s programmed for the next 500 years. Despite being complicated, the calibre only had 80 parts. Another unique feature of this calibre is the four-digit year display.
Flieger Watches with Top-Notch Accuracy
During the second world war, IWC became one of the five manufacturers to produce pilot watches. These watches had to undergo extreme testing, which is why all of the pilot watches produced by IWC are guaranteed to have supreme accuracy as well as durability. Though the war was long gone, the brand continued to make IWC men’s watches that pay homage to the Flieger watches of the past.
A Watch that Can Run for a Week
In 2000, IWC introduced the calibre 5000 inside a Portugieser model. On the outside, this automatic calibre looks nothing special, but on the inside, it can power the watch for up to a week! That is a lot more than the average power reserve.
5 Reasons to Buy an IWC watch
1. IWC is a respected watch company with over 150 years of experience.
3. IWC has watches for different lifestyles (divers, dress watches, etc.).
4. IWC watches have great market value.
5. IWC boasts excellent craftsmanship and can produce complicated watches.
IWC as a Luxury Watch Brand
IWC has always been recognized as one of the world’s most popular Swiss luxury brands. In fact, it is often compared with the likes of Omega, Breitling, and even Rolex not only for its price but also for its high-quality work. Some people would even argue that IWC is a tier above the former watch brands.
This brand is widely known for its Flieger watches, which they’ve been making since the 1930s. Many of these pilot watches have become legends like the 1936 Spezialuhr für Flieger, the IWC Mark 11, Spitfire, and even Top Gun. Apart from these, their collections like the Portugieser, Da Vinci, Portofino, Ingenieur, and Aquatimer are all iconic in their own rights.
Speaking of excellent craftsmanship, IWC produces complications that are hard to achieve. A good example is the Grande Complication with a total of 20 complications like a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and moon phase. These complications, along with precious materials like gold and platinum, cause IWC prices to shoot up. So if you’re wondering how much is an IWC watch is, expect to bring out large sums of money.
Of course, it is not only the price that makes it a luxury brand. Some IWC men’s watches are available in very limited quantities. In fact, a few models are available in less than 100 units. The inaccessibility and high-demand for these models further cement their place in the luxury watch industry.
History of IWC Schaffhausen
Despite being a Swiss luxury watch brand, IWC was actually the brainchild of an American watchmaker called Florentine Ariosto Jones. He fought in the Civil War and when it ended, he went to Boston to work for E. Howard & Company, one of the leading watchmakers during that time. During his stint, Jones quickly gained respect and experience until he decided to produce his own high-quality pocket watches for the American market.
In 1868, he travelled to Switzerland with the hopes of founding his own watch company. After arriving, he met Johann Heinrich Moser, an owner of a watch factory and hydropower plant in Schaffhausen am Rhein. In addition, he also met experienced Swiss watchmakers which he invited to work with him. Jones rented a few spaces in Moser’s factory and together with his team of watchmakers, he started making watches.
Unfortunately, the watch company did not do well in the first few years. Although labour costs were low, the demand was also low and import duties were high. As a consequence, the company went bankrupt and the factory went to the Schaffhausener Handelsbank (commercial bank). Meanwhile, IWC was turned into a stock company.
In 1880, Johannes Rauschenbach bought IWC and it remained in the family for generations. The company became stable that even psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung bought shares along with Ernst Jakob Homberger. Ernst’s son, Hans Ernst Homberger, took care of the company in 1955 and was the last Rauschenbach family member to manage IWC.
A Member of the Richemont group
When the Quartz Crisis came, Hans Ernst Homberget was forced to sell the company to a German company in 1978. In particular, they were under VDO Adolf Schindling AG, a manufacturer of speedometers. Note that VDO also incorporated Swiss brand Jaeger-LeCoultre the same year.
VDO merged with Mannesmann corporation in 1991, which was then bought by Vodafone in 2000. However, Vodafone was not interested in Mannesmann group’s watch companies, so they sold them to Richemont instead. Up to this day, IWC is part of the Richemont Groups along with other watch brands like Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Cartier.
Famous Patrons of IWC
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story actor Darren Criss wears an IWC Portofino Automatic. In fact, he was wearing it when he received an award at the Golden Globes. His IWC Portofino watch comes in a silver-coloured case paired with a black leather strap.
Actor, producer, and retired professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson has been spotted many times wearing the IWC Spitfire Perpetual IW503601. His watch boasts a unique combination of an army green dial and a bronze case. It runs on the in-house 52616 calibre that features a double moon display and a 1-week power reserve.
Musical genius Ed Sheeran wore an IWC Big Pilot IW500901 during one of his concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium. This watch is one of IWC’s most popular models and it comes in a classic black dial with a matching leather strap. Furthermore, it runs on the 5111 calibre that boasts 168 hours of power reserve.
Last but not least, director Quentin Tarantino loves his IWC Big Pilot IW500401. In fact, he has been seen wearing it a number of times during events. His watch comes in a black dial with luminous markings. It also runs on the 51110 movement. However, this exact model is no longer available.
IWC: An Innovative and Respected Watch Brand
There’s a reason why IWC is one of the most respected watch brands in the world. Apart from their innovations and contributions to the watch industry, there is no doubt that their watches look good.
When you’re looking for an elegant watch, we highly suggest taking a deeper look into IWC’s Portofino collection. Sporting more of a laid-back style, the Portofino collection offers timeless pieces. Being one of IWC’s more successful watches in the men and ladies watch community, the Roman numerals and features make it a forever classic.