How To Spot A Real IWC Watch

The esteemed IWC Schaffhausen brand is yet another example of Swiss horological brilliance. Find out how to spot a real IWC watch in our blog. 

17th February 2023

How To Spot A Real IWC Watch

The esteemed IWC Schaffhausen brand is yet another example of Swiss horological brilliance.

The IWC enterprise was founded by the American engineer Florentine Ariosto Jones in the late nineteenth century. Jones was clearly familiar with Switzerland as a central point for advancement in the watchmaking industry and decided to establish his luxury trade in the town of Schaffhausen.

The region was in danger of economic decline in the decades following the industrial revolution, but the birth of the IWC powerhouse established fresh and lucrative interest in Schaffhausen. Before long, IWC had soared to the top of the luxury watch business.

More than 150 years later, the brand has showcased the best of collaborative commerce, combining American entrepreneurship with Swiss artistry to cement its place in watchmaking history. With a long list of notable innovations achieved in military timekeeping, waterproofing technology, and navigational watches, IWC products bear all the prestige, historical significance, and expense that attracts the production of counterfeit models.

Spotting a fake IWC watch

Promise of a watch’s authenticity is, of course, best made by a professional in the business. The experts at Panache offer a free, no obligation, and thorough assessment of your IWC watch so that you can safely ensure you’re acquiring the best deal for you. However, there are tell-all signs in the materials, details, and functionality of an IWC watch that might want to make you question the product’s authenticity.

The Materials

The dependable, high quality materials used in IWC production acts as the brand’s major source of endearment to watch enthusiasts. The feel, weight, and look of all IWC materials ought to evidence skilled craftsmanship.

The sapphire crystals decorating the dial is a hallmark of luxury manufacturing. It’s a material favoured by most of the high-end watchmaking companies because of its endurability and scratch resistant qualities. You can easily test yourself whether your watch is protected with sapphire crystals or standard glass by pouring a drop of water on its surface. If genuine, the water droplet should stay pooled together as the crystal doesn’t disturb its tension. However, a water droplet on plain glass would quickly disperse and fall away.

Another point of interest is the specialised straps created by IWC. The lug (where the strap attaches to the case) typically has an uneven-numbered width measurement, the most common size being 21mm. Bogus copies are likely to drop a mm or so, as fraudulent manufacturers like to cut corners on production costs. You should also be able to change an IWC watch strap. The company ensures that the wearer is able to adjust the links in each of their stainless steel editions where mass produced counterfeits will likely skip this step.

The Details

All of the details on an IWC watch’s face ought to be clear, precise and uniform. Fakes might reveal themselves through numbers and letters appearing mismatched in sizing, font and colouring. Additionally, the hands that come with fraudulent watches often run shorter than genuine ones.

Sophisticated IWC watches often boast additional elements called complications, such as the chronograph function. These features enhance the potential of your timepiece and are particularly difficult to replicate without skill. The subdials within these complications should pair neatly with the rest of the watch’s face and correspond with its aesthetic theming. Dupes tend to fail in matching them accurately and often display them too close or too far from the centre of the watch’s face.

Serial numbers are another design detail that is important to assess. Each closed caseback ought to have a clear laser engraving of ‘International Watch Company’ on its surface, along with the name of the specific collection. If these are absent or awkwardly done, you might want to further investigate.


Verifying that your watch works as it is supposed to does seems like an obvious first step. However, a simple check that the watch’s hands tick over is not a thorough method of authentication.

Again, the additional features and complications are more difficult to replicate accurately, so pay close attention to these areas. For example, the watch’s hands should make a steady, sweeping motion that remains constant when the pusher is pressed down. Fake IWCs may certainly feature these additional complications and pushers but they are most probably merely ornamental and fail to perform a purpose.

Appropriate function of the watch’s crown is another aspect worth examining. It should feel smooth to wind, where counterfeit crowns may prove stiff to turn. The size of a real IWC’s crown is typically small and discreet with the intention being not to detract from the rest of the watch. Bulkier crowns can be a sign of fraudulence, since this kind is simpler to mass produce.

It is important to note that these signs are meant to be used as only a guideline to interpretation and there may be occasional discrepancies. For example, the crown belonging to the IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar is in fact a larger one, as this is what's needed to service its triple-position mechanics. And because of exceptions such as this, best practice is always to have your watch assessed by a trusted expert.

Sell your IWC watch with Panache

For further assurance on your IWC watch’s authenticity, contact Panache for a full investigation into the exciting history and condition of your timepiece.

Our staff have the latest insights into the resale market and can answer all your questions on which IWC watches hold value and the potential return rates of each model. It’s a secure, simple, and stress free process where payment can be made into your bank the very same day you drop off your watch.

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