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Luxury watches with high quality calibers, made by the expert hands of master watchmakers with years of history behind them. We are talking about IWC watches – both for men and women – one of the most appreciated brands thanks to the attention to detail exhibited by its products. Anyone who has had the good fortune to wear one of these watches must have noticed the accurate design and technical qualities used. A lover of luxury watches cannot fail to have an IWC timepiece within their collection. We will recapture exciting times by relating the story of the company’s inception, and of its individual collections. Let us carry on with this journey through our article, in which we will explore not only the story, but also take a look at the model list, the prices, and give useful advice on the purchase of both new and used watches.
IWC WATCH PRICES
IWC is one of the most appreciated luxury watch brands in the world; it addresses a high-end clientele, and so its prices are not accessible to everyone. After all, we cannot forget that the great work of master watchmakers lies behind every single piece of the collection. It’s not only their place as status symbols, but the supreme quality of these watches that justifies their high cost. Indeed, evaluating the materials used and the production method, the price is absolutely in line with the resulting product. But how much, exactly, does an IWC watch cost? Depending on the collection and the model, the price can vary widely, from a basic Aquatimer model of around $ 4,000 to limited editions that can even reach six-figure prices.
CLASSIFICATION OF MODELS
IWC, as mentioned above, is a company in step with the times, producing some of the most appreciated watches on the luxury market. The models feature exclusive designs and precision mechanics that have made the IWC brand so recognizable. IWC watches are aimed primarily at men, but there are also some female models. Depending on the style sought and the specific use, IWC offers timepieces that respond to the most disparate needs and desires. Since its inception, IWC has been synonymous with unique and innovative products. So let’s look at the different collections together.
IWC Portugieser – Portuguese
The Portugieser – also called Portuguese – is an icon of style, a classic and timeless beauty. But how did this watch come about? In 1930, the company received a commission from Portuguese merchants for the production of watches that were as precise as those of the navy. For technical reasons, the watch was too large and noticeable relative to the fashion of the time, and was not appreciated by the public. Sixty years later, with the change of fashion, this watch became a style icon. Even today, the dial of this watch collection uses a small “chemin de fer” hardware, inspired by railway tracks.
The family of Portugieser watches is timeless, and in order to celebrate the 75th anniversary in 2015, IWC – in addition to reviewing its models and launching six new ones – introduced another innovative detail. Namely, the Portugieser Annual Calendar was born , an annual and perpetual calendar whose design took a good five year to conceive. It shows the month, date and day and only needs to be adjusted once a year, specifically in late February. Thanks to this feature, this watch is one of IWC’s most unique and original models. The glass has a rounded and sapphire shape, while the back – also in sapphire – is open, so as to be able to admire the caliber.
Other interesting models in the Portugieser catalog are: the Grande Complication with a dark brown alligator leather strap; the Perpetual Calendar in 18-karat red gold and an ardoise-colored dial; the Chronograph Classic , minimalist, in steel, with a blue dial and a black alligator leather strap; the Tourbillon, with its classic and proportionate appearance; and the Yacht Chronograph , the most sporty watch in this collection, adorned with a rubber strap.
The Portugieser collection presents models that are real luxury masterpieces, dedicated to a very high customer base. The cost can even reach $ 80,000.
IWC Da Vinci
The first Da Vinci model was born in 1969 and, in truth, has nothing to do with what the Da Vinci collection is today. It was the first watch with a Beta 21 “Swiss made” quartz movement – where 21 refers to the number of companies and manufacturers involved in the design of this mechanism – and its hexagonal design definitely made it stand out among the masses. In the following years, the shape changed radically, to such an extent that the newest watches seemed to belong to a whole different collection. In 1985, the first big “revolution” in the Da Vinci collection occurred when IWC introduced the perpetual calendar, one of the most appreciated details.
More recently, in 2007, IWC launched a sort of tribute to the first model of this collection, recalling its hexagonal design. From a technical point of view, however, there were clearly some new features; indeed, the first IWC chronograph movement was introduced, called caliber 89360. Tradition meets innovation.
The new Da Vinci collection was launched this year, also dedicating ample space to women’s models, such as the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 . As the name implies, this watch is equipped with a moon phase indicator. This timepiece is offered in three variants: 18-karat red gold with a bronze-colored alligator leather strap (the jewel of the collection); in steel with 54 diamonds and a dark brown alligator leather strap; and in steel with a dark blue alligator leather strap. To honor the name of the collection, the “Flower of Life” – the famous geometric figure drawn by Leonardo da Vinci with several overlapping circles – is engraved on the back.
Other models in the Da Vinci collection include: the Tourbillon with a dark brown alligator leather strap; the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 18-karat white gold; and the Automatic 3 6, made for a mainly feminine and modern audience.
A Swiss luxury watch brand like IWC is practically obliged to have a diving timepiece in its catalog. Thus, in the Sixties, the Aquatimer collection was born , dedicated to divers. In 1967, the first Aquatimer model was conceived, with a case that was waterproof up to 200 meters / 660 feet deep. At the beginning of the 1980s, thanks to a collaboration with Porsche, a watch was launched on the market capable of reaching a record depth of 2,000 meters / 6600 feet.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the IWC Aquatimer watches, and to celebrate the occasion the Aquatimer Perpetual Digital Date and Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer” model was launched. This watch has a Ceratanium case, a titanium alloy that develops a ceramic surface coating after undergoing a heat treatment. Also, this model – like all those of the Aquatimer collection from 2014 onwards – is equipped with the IWC SafeDive system, a combination of an external and internal rotating bezel that prevents the involuntary movement caused by immersion times.
The watch can reach a depth of 100 meters / 330 feet – which may appear to be quite low, but in reality is much further than most amateur divers go. Those who need greater water resistance will most likely not take a perpetual calendar watch seriously, since it is a superfluous detail. In addition, all Aquatimer watches feature green and blue luminescent Super-LumiNova coatings that guarantee excellent dial readability in all conditions.
Among the most interesting models in the catalog, one cannot fail to mention the Automatic model , the smallest watch in the family, and the Chronograph, with a puristic design suitable for longer dives.
IWC Ingenieur watches
The history of IWC’s Ingenieur collection began in the 1950s, a time of rapid technological development. Such advancement is what led to the birth of the first watch in the Ingenieur collection. Many of the new technological devices of the time generated magnetic fields that negatively impacted the accuracy of contemporary mechanical clocks. Engineers and scientists in particular were exposed to it. IWC therefore had the brilliant idea of developing a new line of watches that offered effective protection against magnetic fields. Thus, in 1955, the Ingenieur collection was born.
These watches are made with materials usually used for cars – racecars in particular – and so some of the models are dedicated to the world of Formula 1 and famous pilots.
In 2017, IWC launched four new models: Ingenieur Automatic , essential and sober; Ingenieur Chronograph , also available in 18-karat red gold; Ingenieur Chronograph Sport , a limited edition of 500; and the one and only Ingenieur Digital Perpetual Calendar Date and Month. There are only 100 pieces of this limited series in 18-karat red gold, with a perpetual digital calendar and a 45-millimeter case that differs significantly from its predecessor from the 2013 collection, which presented a dark, cold, and “robotic” appearance. The watch also stands out as one of the largest, heaviest, and most expensive watches in the IWC collection, with a price of around 49,500 Swiss francs.
IWC Pilot’s Watches
This collection is dedicated to and inspired by all manner of aircraft pilots. The first IWC Pilot’s Watch was built in 1936 for civil aviation. Clearly, it had to be a robust watch, resistant to temperature changes (even extreme ones) and immune to magnetic fields. In 1949, the first model of would become the legendary Mark 11 was launched . This watch was designed for Royal Air Force pilots, and will go down in history.
In 2016, Pilot’s Watches celebrated 80 years. For the occasion, the latest Mark XVIII model was presented in three variants, including the limited edition “Le Petit Prince” with midnight blue dial, inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s eponymous short story. It features an engraving on the back of the Little Prince himself.
It should be emphasized that this timepiece is water resistant up to 60 meters / 200 feet, so it is not particularly recommended for water sports enthusiasts, even if its resistance is higher than other watches in this collection. The Mark XVIII watch maintains the characteristic features of past models, but sells at a much lower cost than its predecessors. It is a model that, regardless of its birth and its history, is perfect for a casual look and in everyday life. A practical and easily readable watch, with a sophisticated appearance and reliable internal components.
Among the best models in this collection are the Automatic 36 , with an elegant, clear, and essential dial; the Chronograph with a black calfskin strap; and the Big Pilot’s Watch, well in line with the tradition of this family. Other models that must be mentioned are the highly precise Spitfire and the Top Gun , with an integrated flyback function and a design inspired by the famous Top Gun.
The IWC Portofino collection , as the name implies, is inspired by the charm and atmosphere of the Ligurian city. Portofino is, in simple terms, synonymous with luxury, a place where famous and prominent people meet. All this comes together in the watches of this collection, born in the Seventies, its first model a pocket watch called Lépine . In 1984, a new type of timepiece was created: a pocket watch for the wrist, nicknamed ” Giant Portofino ” because of its large size. From that moment on, the Portofino watch collection was enriched with numerous models that maintained a classic and sober style, with dials marked by Roman numerals and stick indexes.
This collection of watches is appreciated by men and women alike, so there are plenty of models made for a female audience – often embellished with diamonds. It is likely the most successful IWC collection.
In 2017, the latest model of the Portofino Collection, Hand-Loaded Moon Phase, was launched . For the first time in this collection, a moon phase indication was combined with an IWC 59800 caliber, boasting an 8-day power reserve. At 9 o’clock, we find an indicator that shows the residual power. This model is an homage to the previous Portofino of 1984.
We cannot fail to mention the other models in the catalog of this collection, including the Automatic with a silver dial and a Milanese mesh bracelet in steel (also available with an alligator leather strap); the Chronograph and its elegant yet sporty design; the Hand- Wound Pure Classic, which is similar to the more traditional Portofino watches; and the Automatic 37 – a model addressed to women above all – with prestigious features such as the 66 diamonds on the bezel and a lilac leather strap.
WHERE TO BUY
It is inevitable that after having read about the history, characteristics, and peculiarities of IWC watches, the desire to buy one does not arise (assuming there wasn’t one already). These watches are all collector’s items, and every fan should at least have one model. Considering the different lines and the different designs, it will not be difficult to find the piece that best suits your style and personality. Here is a list of the best shops where you can find these wonderful timepieces:
USED IWC WATCHES
We have already said that the cost of IWC watches is not accessible for everyone. These are timepieces of the highest quality, produced by one of the most popular brands on the market. Anyone with a more limited budget who wishes to enjoy the luxury of owning an IWC model can always opt for the purchase of a second-hand item. Our advice is to buy from retailers in compliance with the law and not from private individuals; in the event of fraud, resolving the problem would certainly be easier with the former.
There are numerous fakes and imitations in circulation, and it is therefore prudent to buy second-hand watches in conditions of absolute safety. One of the safest, most convenient, and totally reliable methods to purchase a used watch is through auctions. In this article on watch auctions, you can find more information on the methods these events follow, and more importantly, the best sites where you can participate in auctions.
Boston watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones had a dream: to combine Swiss watchmaking with American technology. In 1868, he turned this dream turned into reality with the opening of the doors of the International Watch Company – or IWC – in Schaffhausen. Indeed, Jones found the ideal conditions in Switzerland: a modern factory, a hydroelectric plant to power the machinery, a secular watchmaking tradition, and low wages for workers. The original intention was to produce watch movements for the American market, taking advantage of Swiss know-how. But IWC was destined for much more.
The company had an excellent reputation from day one, and the innovative spirit of IWC was widely appreciated soon enough. Indeed, as early as 1885, the company was making watches with revolutionary digital displays to mark hours and minutes.
Nowadays, despite having gone through financial ups and downs during its history, IWC enjoys “splendid health” and holds a secure place in the global luxury market with over 1,000 outlets located all over the world, including Dubai, Hong Kong, and Moscow.
IWC is not just about the watches: it has chosen to incorporate ecological responsibility and social commitment in its corporate philosophy. This has led to the creation of projects all over the world where the company supports organizations and associations that help people in need or that fight climate change. Each project then becomes the theme of a special edition line of IWC watches.
With one of its slogans being “engineered for men,” which can be said to mean “made for men,” there is no doubt about IWC’s target audience. Its goal is to offer a complete but rigorously curated selection, suitable for any type of wardrobe. Indeed, in the IWC catalog, you can find an elegant wristwatch (Portofino), numerous models for women, a flight watch (Pilot’s Watch), an “instrumental” watch (Ingenieur), a diving watch (Aquatimer), and, of course, an everyday classic (Portuguese).
In almost all cases, the designs combine functionality and versatility. The positive opinions surrounding this brand are endless. Any fan of luxury watches cannot fail to boast at least one IWC model in their collection, not only because it is a status symbol, but also because each watch is an object of incredible value and prestige.