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best IWC pilot watches for the aviation enthusiasts

IWC Schaffhausen, also known as International Watch Company, is a Swiss luxury watch brand that has been a present force in the industry since 1868. With over 150 years of history, the brand has established itself as a leader in the watch industry, known for its precision engineering and timeless designs. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of IWC watches, specifically IWC Pilot watches.

Founding of IWC

IWC was founded by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones, who saw an opportunity to combine skilled Swiss craftsmanship with modern American technology. In 1868, he established the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Jones’ goal was to create high-quality watches that could compete with the best Swiss brands, using the latest technology and machinery from the United States for the American market. He was also one of the first watchmakers to use the newly developed system of interchangeable parts, which made it easier and more efficient to produce watches.

Early Years

In the early years, IWC produced pocket watches for both men and women. These watches were known for their precision and accuracy and quickly gained a reputation for quality. In 1899, IWC introduced one of its first known wristwatches utilizing the small 64 caliber ladies’ pocket watch movement fitted with lugs, a watch which was designed specifically for women.

The watch was a commercial success and marked the beginning of IWC’s focus on wristwatches. In the late-19th and into the early-20th century, IWC continued to innovate with the introduction of the first watch with a digital display in 1885 (Pallweber system) and the Reference IW436 launched in 1936 for specific use by pilots with an oversized crown and rotating bezel aiding navigation.

History of IWC Pilot Watches 

With the introduction of the “Special Pilot’s Watch” (ref IW436) in 1936, IWC’s trajectory in supplying watches to pilots was set in stone. Indeed, IWC’s history is closely intertwined with the history of aviation. In these early days of aviation, pilots needed watches that were accurate, reliable, robust, and easy to read. 

IWC was one of the first watchmakers to recognize the need for such watches, and the high legibility and tech within the IW436 illustrate this well with its antimagnetic escapement (important due to the equipment within the cockpit) and large hands and numerals.

This was shortly followed by the “Big Pilot” in 1940 supplied to the German Air Force, a 55mm diameter goliath utilizing the pocket watch caliber 52 T.S.C. The Big Pilot would go on to influence the design language of German-style pilot watches in the following years, with its characteristic military triangle at 12 o’clock, sans serif numerals, and leaf-shaped hands present even in modern-day designs.

In 1948, we saw the arrival of the Pilot’s Watch Mark XI, powered by the (legendary) manually wound 89 caliber movement, a watch infamous for its use by the British Military. A soft-iron inner case is applied, further advancing IWC’s penchant for reliable tech into the mid-twentieth century. Built to British Ministry of Defense specifications, vintage examples are highly coveted today.

The Mark XI was produced as late as 1984, yet after a hiatus, it wasn’t until 1993 that the next Mark series watch, XII, was released as a near replica of its predecessor but with a self-winding automatic movement.  In 1999, the Mark XV was released at a larger size of 38mm and is widely considered the transition from a military watch to civilian use.

Now into the 2000s, the Mark XVI (2006-2012), XVII (2012-2016), and XVIII (2017-2022) are all released with various sizes and stylistic changes – yet all staying true to the heritage and inspiration of the classic Mark line as far back as the Special Pilot’s Watch.

IWC Pilot Watches Today

The IWC Pilot Watches of today can be broken into three distinct sub-collections: Classic (Big Pilot, Pilot, and Mark series), Performance Materials (Big Pilot and Pilot watches made with advanced materials), and Antoine De Saint Exupery (Big Pilot and Pilot special edition watches commemorating the famous author/pilot). Let’s explore further.

The Best IWC Pilot Watches

1. IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX (ref. IW328201)

 IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX (ref. IW328201)

When IWC quietly updated its brand icon in the Mark series in the late summer of 2022, a few notable changes were made from the prior Mark XIII (just don’t ask us what happened to the Mark XIX). 

Notably, the watch was trimmed down in both lug-to-lug length and thickness (40mm Diameter, 10.8mm thickness, 49.2mm lug-to-lug), the dial was rebalanced with a tweaked hour and minute markings along the outer track, a white date disc was added to aid in legibility (and repositioned, most popularly), but perhaps most impressively, the Mark XX is now powered by the caliber 32111 ValFleurier movement, increasing power reserve from the base 42 hours on the Mark XVIII to a dramatic 120 hours (5-day) in the Mark XX.

Retail Price: $5,250

2. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 46 (ref. IW501001)

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 46 (ref. IW501001)

They don’t call it the “Big Pilot” for no reason. Clocking in at 46.2mm in diameter, 15.5mm in thickness, and 57mm lug-to-lug, IWC’s classic Big Pilot of the 1940s is revived again in a technically smaller size than the original (originally 55mm in diameter and 17.5mm thick).

In aesthetic design, the modern Big Pilot is quite faithful to the original, with its iconic flared onion-shaped crown and altogether Germanic Pilot’s watch dial design (and power reserve sub-dial indicator at 3 o’clock). 

A robust and smooth leather strap is attached at both sides, with the eye-catching rivets echoing the original design. Powering the watch is the in-house caliber 52110, providing an automatic self-winding 7 days of power reserve. Though large in overall size, it’s hard to think of another definitive flieger-style watch with the historic chops and design to boot. 

Retail Price: $13,200

3. IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire (ref. IW326801)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire (ref. IW326801)

IWC’s 39mm Automatic Spitfire is a bit of a value proposition within the brand’s Pilot watch lineup. Measuring in at 39mm in diameter, 10.8mm in thickness, and about 50mm lug-to-lug, it’s also a modestly-sized watch suitable and comfortable for most wrists.

Powered by the in-house automatic movement, caliber 32110, the Spitfire also receives a 72-hour power reserve (with a silicon escape wheel and lever for increased anti-magnetism). 

Aside from the technical specs, visually, the Spitfire features designs that call back to IWC’s military heritage, with faux-patina colored markers along the outer track at 12, 3, 6, and 9 (as well as the Flieger style triangle and dots up top), and broadsword-styled alpha hands, encased in a stainless steel brushed case. 

Retail Price: $4,900

4. IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW327010)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW327010)

Continuing along the line of Mark series watches, the Mark XVIII utilizes a soft iron dial and inner case for increased magnetic resistance, much like its predecessors. Sizing is not far off either, at 40mm in diameter, 11mm in thickness, and 51.1mm lug-to-lug.

However, where the reference IW327010 really shines is in its sunray brushed blue dial against white text and dial markings, a striking look paying homage to the eponymous book (Le Petit Prince, in case you missed it). 

The case back also features an illustrated engraving in the same vein, and the “spitfire” style alpha hands offer striking visibility against the dial. Paired with the ever-solid Santoni-produced calfskin leather strap, the watch is an overall handsome look for pilots and non-pilots alike.

Retail Price: $4,500

5. IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium® (ref. IW371815)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium® (ref. IW371815)

As a leader in advancing innovative materials into standard watch production, along with a history of producing pilot watch chronographs, IWC’s forward-thinking Double Chronograph “Top Gun” Ceratanium watch continues that trend. 

The brand, the first to introduce a ceramic case back on a wristwatch in 1986, and having developed the reference 3711 DoppelChronograph (an industrialized split-seconds chronograph, traditionally a delicate and high-end complication), brings both ideas into the modern day with a new material, ceratanium, which combines ceramic and titanium to provide the advantages of both.

Corrosion and scratch resistance, lightweight and durable, in an all-black case, the Top Gun Ceratanium represents IWC’s strengths at its finest.

Retail Price: $16,100

6. IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (ref. IW324008)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (ref. IW324008)

For a pilot’s watch, visibility and legibility are of primary importance. For this reason, the genre is typically occupied by larger watches; look no further than the 46mm Big Pilot within IWC’s own lineup, and you’ll catch my drift. But what of options for the smaller wristed or those who simply prefer a smaller, more compact wearing watch? Enter the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (reference IW324008). 

Measuring 36mm in diameter, 10.6mm thick, and 46mm lug-to-lug, the Automatic 36 wears like a mid-size dream without the loss of that iconic styling present on its larger Mark series brothers. As the market continues its downward size trend in recent years, the Automatic 36 will continue to provide a smaller “safe haven”.

Retail Price: $4,350

7. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (ref. IW329701)

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (ref. IW329701)

Despite the polarizing “downsizing” of the Big Pilot from 46mm to 43mm diameter (14.4mm thickness, 52mm lug-to-lug), make no mistake that the 43 Spitfire is still a larger wearing experience relative to its modestly sized Mark series brethren.

In line with a reduced size, the 43 Spitfire is encased in a lightweight Grade 5 titanium, matte gray in appearance, achieved through polishing and sandblasting. 

The dial provides enhanced legibility with the minutes and seconds track in white on the outer ring, with an inside ring in gray containing the hour markings, 1 through 12. Powered by the in-house caliber 82100, the 60-hour power reserve movement is additionally reinforced with ceramic components, and the watch is further protected with a soft-iron case (for anti-magnetism).

The 43 Spitfire is a perfect option for collectors looking for a more wearable Big Pilot experience with traditional styling.

Retail Price: $9,500

8. IWC Pilot’s Chronograph “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW377717)

 IWC Pilot’s Chronograph “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW377717)

As the chronograph representative within the “Le Petit Prince” line, the reference IW377717 is a bold watch at 43mm in diameter, 15mm in thickness, and 53.5mm lug-to-lug. 

Made of entirely stainless steel and set on a five-link bracelet, the use of sunray blue is particularly showcased and accented by the three contrasting blue subdials of the chronograph registers (60-second, 30-minute, and 12-hour counters), balanced against the sharp white markers, Arabic numerals, and Spitfire alpha styled hands. The in-house caliber 79320 also provides day-and-date functionality, along with an estimated 44 hours of power reserve.

Retail Price: $6,850

9. IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph (ref. IW395001)

 IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph (ref. IW395001)

The IWC Timezoner Chronograph packs a punch, not only in sizing (46mm diameter, 17mm thickness, 55mm lug-to-lug) and visual weight (all of the complications and features!) but in functionality as well. 

First, we should mention it’s a chronograph, with sub-counters at 6 and 12 o’clock providing running seconds and hours, respectively. Secondly, it’s a flyback chronograph, meaning the chronograph can be quickly reset by actuating the pusher at 4 o’clock, which is useful for pilots in timing exercises. 

And finally (and perhaps most impressively), the Timezoner offers a timezone complication (did the name give it away?), operated by pushing the bezel down and rotating to the desired timezone, in effect setting the time zone with the date and 24-hour hand without needing to actuate the crown and jumping hour hand as with common “flyer” GMTs.

Retail Price: $12,300

10. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 “Mr Porter” (ref. IW329703)

 IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 “Mr Porter” (ref. IW329703)

For the uninitiated, Mr. Porter is a luxury fashion online outlet retailing hundreds of top designer brands in menswear. Owned by the same Richemont group as IWC, it makes sense that the two should collaborate on several watches, of which the Big Pilot 43 (reference IW329703) is part. 

Measuring the typical Big Pilot 43 sizing (43mm diameter, 14.4mm thickness, 52mm lug-to-lug), Mr. Porter’s take on the watch is a bit more modern leaning in aesthetic than the 43 Spitfire Bronze, for example, despite utilizing a similar bronze case.

Uniquely, the watch features contrasting gold hands and beige markers against a matte black dial (with the “1” Arabic numeral set with luminous material commemorating the first in a series of collaborations between the two brands). 

A titanium case back encloses the in-house caliber 82100 with 60 hours of power reserve with the usual soft-iron cage for anti-magnetism and an impressive 100m of water resistance overall.

Retail Price: $10,900

11. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun “Lake Tahoe” (ref. IW389105)

An all-white, modern, and punchy ceramic Pilot Chronograph from IWC? Sign me up! When the “Lake Tahoe” reference IW389105 first debuted at Watches & Wonders 2022, it quickly became a favorite by watch media, industry, and IWC fans alike. It’s not hard to see why.

The all-white ceramic case with white markers and dial printing, coupled with a white rubber strap, is an immediately fun and stylistic look that’s sure to brighten your day (literally). 

Named after the snow-filled mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, visible by Top Gun fighter jet pilots circling nearby base Reno, Nevada, the Lake Tahoe watch is otherwise a robust IWC Pilot’s Chronograph, powered by the caliber 69380 featuring a 12-hour chronograph, day-date complication and time display with a 46-hour power reserve. On the caseback, the Top Gun US Navy Fighter Weapons school logo is emblazoned; it just doesn’t get cooler than that.

Retail Price: $11,700

12. IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW395503)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW395503)

With the signature sunray blue of the “Le Petit Prince” series of Pilot Watches, the Timezoner (reference IW395503) is handsome not only in its use of color but overall design and functionality execution. Getting the hard specs out of the way, it measures 46mm in diameter, 15mm in thickness, and 55mm lug-to-lug.

But take one look at the Timezoner, and you’ll likely not recall a more striking yet balanced design with a timezone function. We mentioned a Timezoner earlier in the reference IW395001. The cleverness of the function is replicated here. Simply press down and rotate the bezel to actuate a change in a timezone on the watch (locales listed along the bezel).

Release and the hour hand for local time will be set to the correct time. No need to jump the hour hand via the crown; it’s entirely effortless. And whereas the Timezoner Chronograph added visual complexity overall, stripped down of all that, the Timezoner IW395503 is pure beauty in simplification.

Retail Price: $14,200

13. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire (ref. IW387902)

 IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire (ref. IW387902)

Debuting at the former SIHH trade show in 2019, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire in bronze (reference IW387902) is, at its core, a well-proportioned, vintage-cued, practical bronze-cased chronograph with an upgraded in-house movement.

With IWC’s historical penchant for no-nonsense tool watches, the use of bronze in the Chronograph Spitfire is a stylistic turn, which will provide a user-specific patina over time (caseback in Titanium for safety and health reasons). 

At 41mm in diameter, 15.3mm thick, and 51.5mm lug-to-lug, the watch wears more compact than its larger brothers (for example, the 43mm IW377709 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph). The smaller case also helps balance out the dial with its various subdials tightened up, given the smaller surface area. 

The olive green dial itself is a handsome look not often found on watch dial furniture but paired perfectly with the bronze against the gold-plated Spitfire-style hands. In sum, the IW387902 is a great option for those looking for a moderately sized IWC Pilot Chronograph with the potential for a unique patina over time.

Retail Price: $8,000

14. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun “Woodland” (ref. IW389106)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun “Woodland” (ref. IW389106)

As a “Woodland Green” variation to the all-white “Lake Tahoe” Pilot’s Watch Chronograph earlier on our list, the Woodland (reference IW389106) features the same specs and dimensions as the aforementioned model (44.5mm diameter, 15mm thickness, 54mm lug-to-lug), but with a dark green ceramic case and dial.

Both debuting at Watches and Wonders 2022, the Woodland is perhaps a soberer, yet still very much modern, take on the colored ceramic case theme. 

Taking inspiration from the flight suits of the naval aviators of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (better known as “Top Gun”), the deep green case is contrasted with the light green hue of the dial markers and hands, along with a matching green rubber strap (textile inlay) for an altogether militaristic look.

Retail Price: $11,700

15. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar (ref. IW503605)

 IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar (ref. IW503605)

As the flagship IWC model, the Big Pilot was paired with a perpetual calendar compilation for the first time in 2006, showcasing the high-complication production capabilities of the brand. Many variations have been produced since that initial limited edition run.

However, in 2021, IWC re-introduced a Big Pilot Watch Perpetual Calendar in steel as part of the permanent collection. The striking sunray blue dialed reference IW503605 is a large watch, much in the same vein as the original Big Pilot, which historically utilized a pocket watch movement.

The new Perpetual Calendar measures 46mm in diameter, 15.8mm thick, and 58.8mm lug-to-lug, but again places legibility and visibility at the forefront despite the added complication and subdials, and does so handsomely. All functions are accessed via the oversized onion-shaped crown: moon phase, month, date, day, and year. 

Retail Price: $33,000

16. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 “Mercedes AMG-Petronas Formula One Team” (ref. IW388108)

The first official team watch developed between Mercedes-AMG Petronas and IWC, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 (reference IW388108) is special in that it was produced not only as part of the ongoing IWC x AMG collaboration (many Formula One-inspired watches have been produced so far), but that it was also made to be worn by staff as well: race engineers, mechanics, and star pilots alike. 

The watch packs an immediate punch visually, owing to the application of Petronas Green (the signature color for the F1 team) for all dial printing and furniture set starkly against a matte black dial.

Size-wise, the IW388108 retains the familiar case size of the standard Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41, at 41mm in diameter, 14.6mm in thickness, and 51.5mm lug-to-lug. Beneath the sapphire exhibition case back, the in-house caliber 69385 provides column wheel chronograph functionality and 46 hours of power reserve.

Retail Price: $8,350

17. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar (ref. IW502706)

IWC Big Pilot's Watch Annual Calendar (ref. IW502706)

Often placing high-end complications within the heritage-driven Big Pilot line, the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar (reference IW502706) is no exception to the rule, extending a sense of high-end luxury further with its 18k rose gold case construction.

What is an Annual Calendar? Annual Calendar complications showcase the day, date, and month. However, they are different from Perpetual Calendar complications in that they require manual winding and date adjustment at the end of each February. 

Because of this, the Annual Calendar complication is oftentimes preferred by collectors who enjoy a closer relationship with their watch through manual operation. The watch is as large as the Big Pilot moniker intended: 46.2mm in diameter and 15.3mm thick.

In dial design, the 9 o’clock subdial provides running seconds, opposite the 3 o’clock subdial notating power reserve (approximately 168 hours, or seven days total), with the calendar set just under the 12 o’clock, presenting month, date, and day accordingly.

Retail Price: $32,400

18. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun “Mojave Desert” (ref. IW503004)

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun “Mojave Desert” (ref. IW503004)

Retaining the same case proportions and functionality of the standard Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, reference IW503605, the Top Gun “Mojave Desert” edition (reference IW503004) comes in a familiarly large case measuring 46.5mm in diameter, 15.4mm thick, and 58.8mm lug-to-lug.

Where the Mojave Desert differs, however, is in aesthetic and case material. Encased entirely in a sand-colored ceramic material, the watch coloration and aesthetic were inspired by the Mojave Desert, in particular, that of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake land area owned by the US Navy.

All dial printing and furniture are set with that same sand coloration, contrasted with a matte brown dial to increase legibility. The Mojave Desert is a welcome addition to the Perpetual Calendar range as a unique color variant for complication, which is often more conservative in design approach.

Retail Price: $40,900

19. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL (ref. IW357201)

How can one describe the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL (reference IW357201), a watch so experimental and “out there” in both concept and design? A bit Star Trek and concept car in personality, the true hero of the Absorber XPL is its resistance to extreme shock: 30,000G’s, to be exact. 

The 44mm diameter Ceratanium case (combining the durability of ceramic and the light weight of titanium into a new compound) is 12mm thick, a thickness that belies the advanced technology contained within. 

Suspended inside the case is the movement, held by a bulk metallic glass spring, providing increased elasticity than typical metals such as steel. Talk about shock absorption…The Absorber XPL was limited to 10 pieces a year beginning in 2021, with 30 pieces total planned.

Retail Price: $86,100

20. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW504803)

IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW504803)

Taking the Le Petit Prince line of watches to the highest tier (and perhaps the most romantic representation of the book itself) is the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Le Petit Prince (reference IW504803). Measuring 46.2mm in diameter and 16mm thick, the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon is encased in 18K Armor Gold (a new alloy developed by IWC to be harder than regular 18K rose gold). 

Perpetual Calendar functionality is presented via subdials at 3 (date and power reserve), 6 (month and moon phase), and 9 o’clock (date; the year window is placed just underneath 8 o’clock), but most impressively sits the mesmerizing tourbillon at 12 o’clock with its constant rotation of the balance wheel, balance spring, and escapement to negate the effects of Earth’s gravity in any position. 

The tourbillon is certainly a high-end complication, and prices for such watches are typically in the six figures. The IW504803 in question is no exception, with a retail price of $120,000.

Retail Price: $120,000


Over the past 150 years, IWC has established itself as a leader in the watch industry, known for its precision engineering and timeless design. From its early years of producing pocket watches to its modern-day sports watches and complications, IWC has consistently innovated and pushed the boundaries of what is possible in watchmaking. 

With a rich history and a commitment to quality, IWC watches are a true investment in both style and function. No matter which watch you choose from their Pilot range, should you choose one, take pride and comfort in your decision knowing this.


Are IWC watches better than Jaeger LeCoultre watches? Is JLC more prestigious than IWC? These are pressing questions in watch collector circles that we look to clarify once and for all. In a world of Rolex vs Richard Mille knockoffs, IWC and Jaeger are some of the few fine watchmakers that catch a collector’s fancy.

Both brands are regarded as industry titans, with Jaeger Lecoultre distinguished by a tradition of in-house production and IWC’s commitment to sustainability and high-quality titanium and pilot watches. This comparison guide looks closely at each brand’s history, craftsmanship, popularity, and warranty that put them in the spotlight. And clarifies who’s the better brand.

History and Target Market

International Watch Co. (or IWC Schaffhausen)

IWC was founded in 1868 – 154 years ago – by a renowned Boston watchmaker and engineer, Florentine Ariosto Jones, who had a vision of fusing swiss horology with American technology to create masterpieces. Jones established IWC’s headquarters in Schaffhausen to enjoy the cheap overhead costs and abundant skilled workforce in Switzerland at the time.

The eponymous Jones caliber helped IWC establish its reputation in the early years of the company’s existence. This company produced its first pocket watch that evolved into its first wristwatch in 1885. The watches may look familiar at first glance, but you should know that they are not comparable to other high-end models you have seen.

Jaeger Lecoultre – The Watchmaker’s Watchmaker

Surprisingly, Jaeger and IWC share a common history. JLC was founded in Le Sentier, Switzerland, in 1833 – 189 years ago – by Antoine as a small watchmaking shop after he invented a device for cutting watch pinions from steel. Antoine, like IWC’s founder, F. A. Jones, was a visionary who invented the most accurate time measurement instrument and a keyless rewind system of the era.

From the get-go, JLC combined all aspects of watchmaking under one roof: a heritage they’ve kept to date. Unsurprisingly, they became the most valuable company in the Swiss region of Vaud due to their impressive production capacity, using machines and hiring over 400 employees. That’s an impressive feat for a company in the 1800s.

Today, Jaeger LeCoultre is known as the master of complications, with over 1,300 unique calibers under their microscope. They also supply movements to high-end luxury watchmakers like Rolex, AP, and Patek Philippe, hence, their alias, “the watchmaker’s watchmaker.”


You can expect no less than the finest craftsmanship on any timepiece from both brands. But they use different patent finishing and quality control techniques to achieve that indestructible and elegant aesthetic of upper-market luxury watches.

Jaeger LeCoultre, for example, runs a 1000-hour control test on every watch that ships out of the factory. IWC, on the other hand, opens the doors to its 14-000 square-foot factory for anyone who wants to learn about its sophisticated craftmanship through virtual or in-person fan tours. It shamelessly showcases IWC’s first-class equipment, movement-making prowess, and world-class craftsmanship. It’s another area both IWC and JLC outshine upscale competitors, and you’d see in detail in their Brand Prestige comparison.

Jaeger and IWC also use handmade alligator or calfskin leather straps, titanium steel, precious metals, and rubber straps that are tough and comfortable. In addition, IWC offers an EasX CHANGE system that allows users to swap bands like an Apple watch in its Big Pilot series. Notwithstanding, it’s a close call on which brand has the most sophisticated craftsmanship, but Jaeger LeCoultre wins, with a bias towards their A-Z in-house manufacturing process.

Brand Prestige

Jaeger LeCoultre and IWC watches have gained considerable prestige in their respective century-old existence. And our overlords with a rich history and brand image that stands out even in ultra-high-end luxury watch scenes. But it’s insensitive to hold one’s prestige over the other as their values appeal to different audiences.

Jaeger LeCoultre is the “watchmaker’s watchmaker” because, unlike many luxury brands, they create, design, manufacture, and curate all timepiece parts under one roof. And they’ve continued to supply some of the best luxury watchmakers with movements over the decades. With this history, super-complications, and limited yearly production, JLC is a collector and enthusiast favorite.

While IWC doesn’t have the credibility of complete in-house production, they’ll appeal to a sustainability-conscious wearer. The watchmaking industry receives rightful hot backlash from environmental activists and agencies over the sourcing and processing of its precious metals and gems.

IWC is a frontrunner in this war and was ranked no.1 among 15 major watch manufacturers, which includes Jaegar LeCoultre and big names like Rolex, Omega, Tissot, and Audemars Piguet. However, most watch collectors and enthusiasts would value JLC’s consistency in making all timepiece parts under one roof. Therefore, Jaeger LeCoultre has numbers on its side as the more prestigious luxury watchmaker over IWC.

Brand Recognition: The 8th and 11th Best Swiss Watchmakers

While their brand prestige is a choice between values, recognition boils down to popularity and revenue, which is objective. And if we’re talking numbers, IWC has the upper hand with an estimated worth of 779 million CHF (Swiss Francs) over JLC’s 673 million CHF value. They’re also the eighth and eleventh most valuable swiss watchmakers, respectively.

How do they stack up against Rolex, the world’s most renowned watchmaker? It’s not a close battle as Rolex is worth an estimated 7 billion CHF – nearly ten times more than IWC – to top the Interbrand study list.

Fun fact: both brands are subsidiaries of Richemont Group (includes brands like Cartier, Vacheron Constantin Montblanc, Piaget SA, A. Lange & Söhne), a luxury goods holding company worth about 13 billion euros.

However, IWC are traditional watchmakers focusing on crafting complicated watch movements for watch lovers. JLC clarifies this concept using the chic and classy Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy as their ambassador for their flagship Reverso. Far from the Rolex ideology of aggressive marketing to different fields and as a symbol of wealth and power. Ironically, it’s not surprising for an IWC or Jaeger LeCoultre owner to have a Rolex in their collection.

Warranty: The Richemont Group Privilege

JLC and IWC recently introduced an extended warranty option, perhaps as a Richemont group procedure. With this extended guarantee, you may add an extra six years to the standard 2-year warranty of your watch. Generally, you can enjoy coverage for up to 8 years with both brands, which is longer than the average five years warranty from ultra-luxury watchmakers like Rolex and two years from entry-level brands.

IWC and JLC require registration for their respective MY IWC and Jaeger LeCoultre CARE programs to qualify for this extended warranty period. Therefore, you must complete the registration process for an extension while your watch is still under warranty.

Watch Comparison: IWC Aquatimer vs. JLC Polaris

Remember that these comparisons only apply to each company’s most recent model.
Although there are specific differences between both brands. Even though both brands produce elegant C-level executive-type watch designs, it still needs to be determined which one is superior.

The Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris has a titanium case with a limited edition white-gold color. Whereas IWC’s Aquatimer has a stainless steel case, matte black dial, and specialty leather bracelet with a quick-change system to swap between the rubber and stainless steel straps.

Style and Design

IWC is way more unique than LeCoultre in style and design, and this characteristic elevates this watch to the same level as its rival. Jaeger LeCoultre consists of a stainless steel case finish with bright dials and a white gold bracelet. IWC, on the other hand, is made of mate dial plates and mate body in the leather bracelet. IWC allows their designers to choose the color, which comes with a mate body and panel finish.

Special Features

Although the IWC is a diving watch, it resembles the sporty design of the Polaris. Also, they can both withstand pressure up to 1000 feet underwater. In addition, they both come in a white and yellow gold edition, water resistant, and Cartier special.

Price: Portofino VS JLC Master Control

LeCoultre and IWC are almost evenly matched when it comes to price. Both brands offer several pricey models that are reasonable for both businesses, given their quality and quantity. Each offers versions with prices around $30,000 and entry-level models starting at about $3,000 apiece.

The Yes: IWC watches

  • Trademark quick-change bracelet system
  • Inner-rotating bezel and lightweight titanium case
  • Best environmental conscious watchmaker

The No: IWC Watches

  • Off the shelf 7750 movements

The Yes: Jaeger LeCoultre

  • Manufactured 100% in-house
  • Innovative movement complications
  • Timeless dress watch collections

The No: Jaeger LeCoultre

  • Might be unknown to non-watch enthusiasts

IWC Portuguese Auto Vs. JLC Master Control

Both watches cost almost the same price, and they have amazing functions. However, it might not be easy to decide which one to buy. Here is a brief description of the design and functions of these two extraordinary watches:

IWC Portuguesier Auto

With an automatic date at 6 o’clock, a plain white dial, chronograph replacing 9 and 3 o’clock, the Portugieser maintains a simple design like the debut 1930s version. But unlike the 36mm case in the old version, IWC increased its size to 40mm and adorned it with a refined contemporary finish.

The stainless steel casing has a warm tone that accentuates its gold-plated hands and indices. Its caliber 82200 movement is made in-house with ceramic components and boasts a Pellaton winding mechanism with a 60-hour power reserve. And you can admire the complications through its see-through sapphire glass back.

JLC Master Control

JLC’s Master Control collection, with its celebrated round design, has become a flagbearer for the brand since its debut thirty years ago. The recent Master Control Date adds date and time features to the dial while staying simple. The 40mm casing, hands, and indexes for this watch are all stainless steel. To reduce friction and increase efficiency, the escapement and pallet of the watch’s Caliber 899 movement have been upgraded for the Master Control Date.

And it provides up to 70 hours of power reserve before manual winding. Jaeger LeCoultre’s most complicated wristwatch, the Hybris Mechanica (with 26 complications) and only 30 pieces made, costs $2.5 million. While the Siderale Scafusia is one of IWC’s most complicated watches, which costs around $750,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are JLC Watches So Expensive?

Jaeger LeCoultre is an almost 200-year-old pioneer in the watchmaking industry. JLC designs and manufactures its timepieces by hand under one roof – and is the first to achieve this feat. And JLC produces less than 40,000 watches yearly, making them valued as ultra-luxury watches.

What kind of person wears IWC?

Only true watch lovers, collectors, and reserved personalities proudly wear the IWC or Jaegar. A person who wears an IWC watch wants values sophisticated watch movements and prefers a discreet show of her wealth or affluence. If you’re looking to wear a luxury watchmaker that sends eyes gazing, you’ll be better off with a Rolex or Richard Mille.

Is JLC better than Cartier?

The Jaeger-LeCoultre brand is considered more prestigious than Cartier. JLC is an ultra-high-end and super watch producer, whereas Cartier is regarded as a jewelry brand. Also, Cartier watches typically have a relatively lower resale value and complications in general.

Final Thoughts: IWC or Jaeger LeCoultre?

And there you have it, an in-depth comparison between IWC and JLC watch brands. If you are more movement and accuracy fanatic, Jaeger LeCoultre is the better brand. And IWC is a better case maker, eco-friendly, and marketable brand.

It’s why IWC is more valuable, and you’d spend just as much for both of them as you would on any upscale luxury watch. What are your thoughts? Browse our collection of IWC and Jaeger LeCoultre watches.

IWC vs Rolex

You find yourself in the market for a new Swiss-made luxury timepiece. You have narrowed your choices to either a Rolex or an IWC (International Watch Company). In this article, I will juxtapose a few of the most popular models from each company.

We’ll start with the background of each watch house and how they became the respected brands they are today. Along the way, you will learn the features, pros, and cons of each brand and their models and walk away illuminated and ready to make your next purchase.

IWC timepieces

IWC or the International Watch Company, as it is more formally known, was founded in 1868 by the American watchmaker and businessman Florentine Ariosto Jones. While in Boston, Massachusetts, Jones conceived the idea of combining advanced American production technologies with the skilled craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers.

With this mandate, Jones traveled to Switzerland to start his venture. Upon arriving in Switzerland, he did not receive the warmest reception in places like Geneve or other Swiss centers of watchmaking. Perhaps this was due to Jones being a foreigner or that the watchmakers in these regions were wary of an outsider and his vision. Instead of becoming discouraged, he went as far north as he could and set up shop in Schafhausen near the German border and on the Rhine river.

Being on the Rhine river became a prescient decision because it enabled IWC to harness the river’s flow to provide hydroelectric power for its factory. IWC’s first movement was the Jones caliber which led to the introduction of the Pallweber pocket watch in 1885. The Pallweber pocket watch was innovative due to it incorporating a digital display for both the hours and the minutes.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the company was producing wristwatches that featured their caliber 64-pocket watch movements. Every aspect of the production of an IWC timepiece takes place in-house. IWC is a completely vertically integrated watch manufacturer.

Product design, engineering, case, and movement parts production, and hand polishing are all completed at the IWC facility. In addition to the completion of every IWC watch, each is tested in their laboratory for water resistance and pressure parameters, extreme impact testing, and the final inspection before delivery to their exclusive array of dealers worldwide.

The Use and Development of Innovative Materials

IWC is also renowned for its use of innovative materials. Besides platinum and titanium, IWC uses their patented Ceratanium in some of their watches. Ceratanium is a ceramized titanium that is as tough and almost as light as traditional titanium but as hard and scratch resistant as ceramic. The case is used in the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Certanium.

Another patented case material is 18 ct. Armor Gold. This new type of gold is harder and more wear-resistant than conventional 5N gold. 5N gold has a reddish tint due to the combination of 75% yellow 18 ct. gold and 25% copper. The 18 ct. Gold is combined with copper in a process where the microstructure of the alloy is transformed to produce the Armor Gold.

This material is featured in the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince.”
The company also has taken bronze and combined it with copper, aluminum, and iron to produce a case that is 50% harder than standard bronze and nearly as hard as steel. This innovation is reflected in the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire.

Lastly, IWC has made great inroads into the use of ceramics for creating cases for some of its watches. IWC introduced the world’s first ceramic case watch in 1986. The Davinci Perpetual Calendar featured a white-colored ceramic case. Ceramic is unusually hard and scratch resistant but presents a challenge in the manufacturing of watches.

Ceramic cases are a mixture of powders formed under intense heat. Unfortunately, the cases shrink by almost one-third during the process therefore the design and engineering must be extremely precise so that the accompanying movement fits exactly in the finished case. Today, ceramic cases in black, brown, and sand colors are available in the watch collection.

IWC is a major proponent of using renewable energy, making sustainability a prime focus, and a commitment to accelerating biodiversity efforts within the watch industry. As per the corporate website, the purpose of IWC is “Engineering Beyond Time”. Transparency, circularity, and responsibility are the guiding principles and inspire all that the company pursues.

IWC Models and Collections

Six prominent collections comprise the IWC brand. The “Pilot’s Watch” has a starting retail price of $4250.00. The “Portofino” starts at $5050.00. The “Davinci” with an opening price tag of $5550.00. The “Ingenieur” with an entrance price point of $4750.00. The “Aquatimer” begins at $5950.00. And lastly the “Portugieser” collection.

The “Portugieser” timepieces are some of the most complicated wristwatches produced in Switzerland. The watches exhibit superior craftsmanship and are comparable to works of art. $7500.00 will get you a base model with prices ranging into hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most sophisticated and complicated models.

In addition to the six collections mentioned above, there is also a collection of Grand Complications and a vintage collection of older IWC timepieces. Three IWC Horological specialties are the following watches;

  1. Mechanical Perpetual Calendar is accurate to the year 2499.
  2. The Grand Complication with 659 individual components.
  3. The Tourbillion Mystere is a masterpiece of miniaturization (81 parts weighing a total of.433 grams).

Rolex’s History

Rolex, surprisingly, has been around for a far shorter time than most other luxury Swiss brands. This is an even greater testimony to the success of the Rolex brand and the reputation the company enjoys today. Much of this success is attributable to Hans Wilsdorf, the English entrepreneur responsible for the creation of the brand.

Though conceived in England, Wildorf created the Rolex brand in 1908 and would ultimately move the entire operation to Geneva, Switzerland where he would create the first water-proof self-winding wristwatch with a perpetual rotor. In fact, a patent was issued to Rolex in 1926 for the world’s first waterproof watch, which today is the oyster case.

Rolex has filed for over 500 patents over the history of its existence for innovations that range from its movements to its exclusive Cerachrom bezels and bezel inserts. Cerachrom is a ceramic material that is virtually impervious to scratches and its color is unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Rolex today is a completely vertically integrated company with every step of the watch’s conception to completion performed by the Rolex team.

To assure the continued success and commitment to producing the highest quality timepieces, Rolex has an exclusive training center that educates, trains, and acclimates every employee to their culture of excellence as well as one of the most rigorous testing labs to ensure the integrity of every watch.

There is even a department of tribology where the scientific study of friction, wear, lubrication, and how moving parts interact in every aspect of a watch’s movement and physical parts exists in order to continue Rolex’s constant perfection in watchmaking.

Another attribute of the Rolex collection is its commitment to precision and accuracy. In this aspect, Rolex and Zenith share a common trait, though every Rolex is not only a certified chronometer but a superlative chronometer as reflected by the certificate and green seal that accompanies each wristwatch. The parameters of accuracy exceed those required by the COSC. which are -4/+6 seconds per day. The superlative identification reflects a deviation of -2/+2 seconds daily.

IWC Aquatimer vs. Rolex Submariner

IWC Aquatimer vs Rolex Submariner

The IWC Aquatimer is a diver watch that can trace its original design back to 1967. The newest model boasts many modern features and is rather unique in its appearance as it is a diver watch that appears to be less diver and more like an everyday sports watch for men. The watch case is made of both polished and brushed stainless steel and measures 42 mm. In diameter.

The height of the case is 14 mm. It has an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and is available in either a black or blue dial. The fascinating feature of the dial is that the inner dial indices are treated in a blue color luminescence whereas the outer dial markings shine in a green color luminescence which is evidenced in the dark and underwater.

The combination of colors is striking and distinctly IWC. The watch has a screw-down crown at the three positions and a helium escape valve at the nine positions. The timepiece is water resistant to 300 meters and available with a textured rubber strap which is slightly tapered or a stainless steel bracelet. The movement is an in-house IWC caliber 30120 automatic self-winding movements vibrating at a frequency of 28,800 A/h, with 21 jewels, 163 components, and a 40-hour power reserve.

Another unusual feature of this timepiece is that the lapsed time markings that are usually on the outside watch bezel are located on the outer dial. The bezel is bidirectional and can be used in one direction to set the lapsed time feature but also move in the other direction without affecting the setting of the inner bezel.

The approximate retail price of the strap mode is $6100.00 or $7000.00 with a stainless steel bracelet. The Submariner is one of the Rolex collection’s most popular watches. For comparison, I will elaborate on the base model’s features, which are available in stainless steel in either a date or non-date version. The dimensions of the case are 41mm.

Wide and 48 mm. From lug to lug. The lug width is 20 mm. And the case is 12.5 mm. Thick. The heartbeat of this watch is an automatic mechanical caliber 3130 in-house manufactured Rolex movement. The watch has a power reserve of two days.

The timepiece is outfitted with a sapphire crystal and a cerachrom bezel with markings filled with platinum PVD coating. To round out its appearance the dial has “Blue” chroma light lume markers for easy visibility in the dark or underwater. Water resistance is rated at 300 meters. The approximate retail for the non-date model is $8950.00 and the data model is $10,100.00.


Both timepieces are beautiful and reflect superb fit and finishes. If one has the means, I would own both watches. The simplicity and nuanced differences incorporated into the design of the Aquatimer, like the bidirectional bezel with bezel markings under the crystal, the use of two different colors of luminescence, and the addition of the helium escape valve make this watch my choice. For the price, this is an excellent everyday watch. Big, bold, simple, and easily readable as well as a quality diving instrument.

IWC Big Pilot vs. Rolex Submariner

Since I elaborated on the Rolex Submariner in the previous comparison, I suggest you refer back to the technical information needed for contrasting the IWC Big Pilot. The IWC Big Pilot is a watch that has a rich history dating back to the 1940s. It has become a smaller, more wearable size in its present configuration. Measurements are as follows; the stainless steel watch case has a diameter of 43 mm., a thickness of 13.2 mm., 52.5 mm lug to lug, and a lug width of 21 mm.

It has a sapphire crystal on both the front and the rear of the watch and comes in a black or blue dial. The markers are treated in a green luminescence and the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters. The riveted leather strap adds a level of distinction as well as sophistication. The caliber 82100 automatic self-winding movement vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 A/h and has a power reserve of 60 hours.

The skeletal back celebrates a host of fine finishes such as Cotes de Geneve (striped and wave configurations), linear brushing, and other artistic embellishments. The approximate retail price for the Big Pilot is $8950.00 on a strap, $9950.00 with a stainless steel bracelet, and $10,500.00 with a ceramic case. Other variations range in price from $9500.00 to 32,800.00.


Both watches are each iconic in their own right. I find that each would appeal to a different potential customer. The Submariner is easily the more recognized of the two, but the oversized beauty of the case and ornate crown, attention to detail, and the skeletal back of the Big Pilot set it apart from the Rolex. At comparable prices both make fine choices.

IWC Ingenieur vs. Rolex Explorer

IWC Ingenieur vs Rolex Explorer

The Ingenieur is a surprisingly affordable entry into the world of IWC watches. With its 40 mm. Stainless steel case the watch has a height of 10.3 mm. and measures 48.5 mm. from lug to lug. The present Ingenieur model resembles the 1967 Ref. 866 and the 2008 models with its round case and distinct tapered lugs and continues the Ingenieur legacy of water resistance, antimagnetic properties, and high precision.

At the heart of the watch is a Sellita SW300-based caliber 35111 automatic self-winding movement that vibrates at 28,800 A/h and has 25 jewels. It also has a power reserve of 42 hours and is water resistant to 120 meters. The present-day model is available with a silver plated dial (gray in color) with luminescent indices and completed with a black alligator leather strap. The approximate retail price of the strap model is $4750.00. There are four other variations of the Ingenieur available. They are as follows;

  1. The Automatic with 5N gold case                                             $14,000.00
  2. The Chronograph                                                                      $8200.00
  3. Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month                                    $47,900.00

The Rolex Explorer is a rather basic-looking watch that is known for its all-around durability. The Explorer can withstand the toughest conditions and maintain its precision. The diameter of the case is 36 mm. , measures 43 mm. from lug to lug, and has a case thickness of 11.5 mm. The case and bracelet are comprised of stainless steel and the bracelet features the oyster design and has an oyster lock folding clasp.

The watch has a sapphire crystal and a black dial with indexes and the distinct 3, 6, and 9 Arabic numerals treated with chromalight and providing a blue goal in the dark. The in-house manufactured caliber 3230 mechanical self-winding movement highlights several improvements in the areas of precision, power reserve ability (70 hours), resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, and reliability.

The movement incorporates the Chronenergy escapement (Rolex patented) which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. The paramagnetic blue parachrom hairspring along with the palette lever and escapement (made of nickel-phosphorus and produced by Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) are completely impervious to the effects of magnetism.

The movement is also outfitted with patented Paraflex shock absorbers that protect the balance staff and increase the shock resistance of the timepiece by 50% without sacrificing its chronometer performance. Accuracy according to Rolex is +/- 2 seconds per day. The Explorer is water resistant to 100 meters and retails for an approximate price of $7200.00.

If ease of repair and maintenance are determining factors in your watch purchase, the Explorer enjoys a reputation among watchmakers as a relatively simple watch to maintain and repair. In other words, an uncomplicated yet highly efficient timepiece.


I give the edge to the IWC Ingenieur purely for appearance. The Rolex Explorer is an incredibly durable watch and incorporates great technology and innovation as reflected in this article, but the watch is plain and simple. At less than $5000.00 the Ingenieur is an aesthetically handsome wristwatch with classic appeal.

IWC Ingenieur vs. Rolex Milgauss

I refer you to the previous paragraphs to review the features of the IWC Ingenieur as it was contrasted with the Rolex Explorer. The Rolex Milgauss is constructed of 904L oyster steel and measures 40 mm. in diameter and is outfitted with a patented Rolex screw-down crown. At the heart of the Milgauss is a Rolex caliber 3131 self-winding mechanical movement which is a certified Swiss chronometer accurate to +/- 2 seconds per day.

The power reserve feature is 48 hours and the movement’s oscillator is a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. The watch sports a Z blue dial with luminescent markers and a green sapphire crystal. Rolex created this crystal and it is scratch-proof, fade-proof, and exclusively found on the Milgauss.

This crystal took years to develop and takes weeks to manufacture. In addition, the watch has a striking orange colored lightning bolt for a second hand and sports orange indices and Arabic numerals every 5 minutes on the outer ring of the dial.

The watch is highly resistant to magnetic fields due to a shield of ferromagnetic alloys surrounding and protecting the movement. Lastly, the watch is water resistant to 100 meters with an approximate retail price of $9150.00


The Rolex Milgauss is a great-looking and distinctive watch in comparison to the IWC Ingeniuer. Granted, the Milgauss is almost twice the price of the Ingenieur but the combination of the blue dial with orange accents and the green-colored crystal give it a unique and very appealing appearance. The technical features and quality of the Milgauss should satisfy any sportsman or anyone looking for something different for their everyday watch. I like both but I give the edge to the Rolex Milgauss.


Does Rolex or IWC have a better warranty?

The warranty on a Rolex watch is five years. The IWC comes with a two-year warranty, but can be extended for an additional six years (For a total of eight years) if you register the watch on the company website within the initial two-year period.

Is Rolex or IWC the higher quality timepiece?

Both brands are equal in terms of quality. The technology evident in each brand’s movements and design, along with the use of the best possible materials make each comparable to one another. Attention to detail and finishes are superb with either brand.

Does a Rolex or an IWC wristwatch hold its value?

Rolex watches hold their value better than almost any other Swiss luxury brand except maybe Patek Philippe. IWCs will have some depreciation but over the long haul may appreciate especially concerning the more complicated and rarer timepieces.

Is IWC or Rolex more recognizable?

Rolex is the most recognizable Swiss luxury watch brand in the world, but the IWC brand is one of the ten most recognizable names amongst the Swiss watch elite.

IWC vs Omega Brand Comparison

Omega’s Rich History

Louis Brandt founded a timepiece company in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1848, marking the beginning of OMEGA’s story and a legacy that is still impactful to this day. At the time, the company was viewed as atypical from most in that it took an unusual approach by splitting the project among many manufacturing groups, each focusing on a different aspect of the motion.

These measures proved to be a key reason for the success of the brand and a component that other companies have since incorporated into their own standard operating procedure. Now, Omega is ideally attributed with taking the luxury watch market to the level that it is at today, a move that resulted in other brands working diligently to optimize their own methods in order to compete with excellence. 

The final product was then put together and named ‘Louis Brandt’. Later in 1879, the founder gave his two sons – Louis Paul and César Brandt – control of the business. The firm was renamed ‘Louis Brandt & Fils’ as their first choice and a new way of doing business emerged yet again. Once the two brother began leading the business, they resolved to introduce their own ideas that could potentially revolutionize the business. 

The two sons had their own ideas about how to recalibrate the business to optimize it across the board, one of the first actions being to relocate the business to Bienne in the canton of Bern as they wanted to turn the company into a respected name in the watchmaking world, and the canton of Bern was more suited to this expansion at that time.

The move was met with some friction in the beginning, but once the dust settled, it was clear that the siblings had made the right decision and the company quickly benefitted from their actions. They introduced the first caliber in the line, ‘Le labrador’, in 1880. This caliber went on to become a huge hit, allowing the brand to grow quickly and recruit up to 250 workers over a year.

The increase in workers had a great impact on work production and allowed them to produce more watches that were shipped to other parts of the world. The company, which now ahd the potential to produce 100,000 watches annually, grew by pleaps and bounds to be the biggest in the Swiss timepiece sector by the decade’s end.

This type of growth capped a tremendous run and demonstrated to those within the industry and outside of it that the brothers were now movers and shakers in the watchmaking business. The 19-line caliber was created by the two brothers in 1894, revolutionizing timepieces at the time.

The two brothers chose the name “OMEGA” for their design in honor of the pinnacle of success as each component may be switched out by any watchmaker worldwide. The name is now iconic and associated with the very best in precision watchmaking and timeless elegance. 

IWC’s Origins and Present

IWC Watch

The American watch enthusiast Aristo Jones moved to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in 1868, marking the beginning of IWC’s prosperous heritage. With the help of advanced technology that his trusted colleague Johann Heinrich Moser created, they began manufacturing automated watches using the hydropower of the Rhine.

Ten thousand watches for the American market could be produced by the Schaffhauser manufacturer a year later. Buoyed by these improvements, IWC soon capitalized on the measures in a tremendous way. IWC was obliged to hunt for alternative sales markets due to the rise in import taxes to the United States.

Thus, IWC started a jewelry and watch company, specifically in Germany. IWC’s main offerings were wristwatches, as well as increasingly accurate pilot watches that were used over flyer jackets. Back at the start of the 20th century, the electrical instruments of the day were a challenge for pilots since they did not offer accurate calculations. 

Initially, pocket timepieces were utilized as a guiding tool, but they could not withstand the rigorous operations in airplanes, making it nearly impossible to see them while in flight. In an attempt to counteract this dilemma, IWC created the ‘special watch for airmen’ to make it easier to view. Wearing an iconic wristwatch is a decades-old fashion trend that is still relevant today and shows no signs of letting up. People still view luxury watch brands as status symbols and feel proud of wearing them.

Meanwhile, there are several watch brands in the luxury watches industry, but the Swiss watches sit at the top. IWC and Omega are two of the most sought-after Swiss luxury watch brands. Both brands are one of a kind, and the buyers often stay confused while choosing between these two.

The one component they both share is that no matter which brand is being worn, there is undeniable quality on the wrist. So, we are here to explain the IWC VS Omega rivalry and present a better comparison to help you make a wise decision. 

IWC VS Omega – Quality And Craftsmanship


Omega Watches Speedmaster

The quality and craftsmanship of Omega watches are exceptional and for many consumers, beyond compare. The brand is synonymous with class and luxury, both traits that can be seen on each piece in their collections and a trait the prospective buyers expect when investing in one. The company has paid attention to every little detail and this what has set them apart from the field for generations.

Omega is more than simply a name; it has very high standards for every watch series it makes, breaking records and reaching figures that other companies can’t match. Their operational accuracy has only improved over time, demonstrating how these watches retain their worth. Anyone that is looking to buy an exceptional watch that doubles as a bold style statement knows that the Omega name speaks volumes and comes with a rareified history.

The design of Omega watches is always attractive, and Omega wearers can see it because their products are renowned for their stunning elegance and impecable design. The company prioritizes graceful curves to remove pain throughout the production process so that customers can use the watch daily. After that, the artistry continues behind the watch face.

The combining of these two principles demonstrates that the brand maintains a fine balance between fashion and functionality in constructing their watches. The sophisticated mechanisms of the watch require complicated technical elements to function and only the best in the field of watchmaking are on call to address the small details. Hence, a master watchmaker’s talent is partly responsible for the high price. Every little screw behind the face announces that it belongs to the prestigious Omega brand.


IWC watches are made with specific craftsmanship that guarantees buyers will flex and pass on the watches for centuries. The parts could require routine maintenance to be capable of lasting very long. Only properly qualified IWC watchmakers are authorized to provide service, repair, and maintenance for IWC timepieces. At the head office, watches are often fixed with care and attention, especially for older models. 

The IWC manufacturing facility creates items of extraordinary quality and distinctive pieces by combining traditional craftsmanship with new equipment. Because of its excellent craftsmanship and design, IWC watches have long been perceived as having a unique taste. The majority have thought about the wristwatch as an investment.

IWC VS Omega – Warranty


The five-year club now includes Omega. The company now provides a five-year guarantee on all of its timepieces, three years longer than the industry norm of two years, and is mandated by European law. This guarantee ensures that those that invest in an Omega watch receive service that goes beyond the standard and respects the amount of money and time given to the watch. 

Because of the significant technical advancements in watch production over the previous 10 years, it is one of few manufacturers that have recently increased their guarantees to three, four, and five years. While other companies only provide the extended warranty on a select few models, Omega does so for all models.

Premium watches are built to last, which dictates that additional measures be put into place to assure quality that is long-lasting. Motions are now lubricant-free thanks to silicon parts. Superior materials, such as titanium and ceramic, are resistant to shocks, bullets, salt water, corrosion, and scratches. The effect of all these innovations is now reflected in the warranty of Omega.

Since 2015, Rolex has provided a five-year warranty on all of its timepieces, which feature in-house components. The following year, Breitling jumped on board by providing a five-year warranty on timepieces powered by its in-house calibers. The same thing was done by Omega for watches equipped with premium co-axial calibers, but it is now expanding the five-year guarantee to all Omega timepieces.


In 2019, IWC announced an eight-year warranty on all of its watches. Furthermore, after completing their order, every new IWC watch customer will have the choice to register in the new program. The ‘International Limited Warranty’ for the company will be increased from its regular two years to the extra eight for the bought watch following registration.

The program will also be retrospectively available, allowing customers who bought an IWC within the last two years to sign up for the extension as long as the timepiece is still covered by its original warranty. IWC beats Omega by a huge margin in terms of the warranty. 

3 Best Watches From Omega

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

There are several variants of the Omega Speedmaster on the current market, and it is widely acknowledged as Omega’s most popular and well-known watch. When Buzz Aldrin, an astronaut, wore the Omega Speedmaster on the first human-crewed lunar landing in 1969, it became well known as ‘the moon watch’. This is the type of marketing that placed the watch in esteemed territory, and one that few others could match. 

With a lovely moon phase complexity, the most recent edition on the market, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, varies differently from the original Moonwatch. A moon phase, one of the first recorded watch complications, shows the illuminated part of the moon as seen from Earth on the watch’s face.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

Since 1948, Omega has produced the Seamaster, one of its most enduring product lines. The British Royal Navy’s post-second world war designs were the basis for its initial design. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M, which was first made public in 1993, underwent 25 years of development while maintaining the integrity of its original design. It is driven by the Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 and measures 42mm.

Omega Constellation Globemaster

The Omega Constellation, introduced in 1952 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding in La Chaux-de-Fonds, has remained one of Omega’s most well-known and well-loved timepieces. Since 1982, most Constellation designs, which come in male and female forms, have been distinguished by their distinctive ‘Griffes’ or claws at 3 and 9 o’clock. All Constellations also have a star at 6 o’clock.

3 Best Watches from IWC

IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Edition ‘150 Years’

This Tourbillon watch is a limited-edition version from the Portugieser line with an athletic yet adaptable style that goes with everything you wear. It has a big, 45mm 18K pink gold casing characteristic of a high-end Swiss watch. It is, therefore, a fantastic watch for men that prefer a versatile option that can be worn throughout the day and well into the evening. The IW504501 Tourbillon watch also includes an anti-fading black robust strap. When purchasing a levish watch, this is a feature you desire.

IWC Chronograph Worldtimer Pilot’s Watch

Becoming a pilot requires you to often travel across time zones. While it’s essential to set your wristwatch to the correct time, you might not always have the opportunity to correct the time. In addition, a wristwatch that is large and good enough to be utilized is necessary for the work. The IWC IW395001 Chronograph Worldtimer watch is top-notch, cutting-edge, and ultimately dependable. It enables you to track your time wherever you are properly.

There are few watches that exude the jetset lifestlye like the IWC IW395001, and it is just the type of wrist action that men of distinction demand. Its casing is made up of stainless steel and has a time zone indicator with an espresso black dial. It also comes with a superb chronograph with a flyback function.

IWC “Le Petit Prince” Constant-Force Tourbillon Pilot’s Watch

Some people might find the title of this IWC Pilot watch interesting, especially given how it goes against the watch’s powerful appearance. The IWC Le Petit Prince belongs to a series of famous IWC watches as a high-end Swiss model. It has a 46.2mm pink gold casing and a straightforward yet tasteful dial. The minutes and hours indications are also located on this dial.


Is Omega more prestigious than IWC?

Since Omega is the more well-known name out of the pair, they often retain their value better than IWC timepieces. Moreover, they produced classic items like the Speedmaster. However, consumers will shell out a lot of cash for watches that are more specific and less common, like IWC. In terms of name recognition, however, Omega is the clear winner.

Are IWC watches worth the money?

IWC watches offer a great chance for investment in addition to looking nice. The watches have a legacy of ramping up in price over time, which makes them a great replacement for more well-known brands. The durability and versatility of the brand are exceptional, plus the customer service has been a trusted feature of the brand for years and continues to be one of the best in the industry. 

IWC has the edge over its more well-known competitors in that far fewer watches are made of each model, making IWC more exclusive and less prone to depreciation.

Is Omega quality as good as Rolex?

If you ask this question to a person who uses both Rolex and Omega watches, their straight answer would be Yes! Omega, in terms of quality, is as good as Rolex. However, the higher sales of Rolex are due to the brand popularity and the status symbol factor.

Final Verdict

The Planet Ocean, the Speedmaster Chronograph watch, and the Seamaster Professional 300M are some prime examples of Omega watches. Suppose you’re looking for a diver’s watch and want it to make a big impression. In that case, Omega’s durable timepieces are not only icons but also more than up to the task of meeting your requirements when you explore the deep and adventurous depths of the ocean. 

Furthermore, the watches made by IWC Schaffhausen are known for their outstanding complexity, including their moon phases and perpetual calendars. IWC Schaffhausen’s basic and typical watchmaking style is the finest choice if you have a thing for pilot’s timepieces or traditionally produced watches.

So, the rivalry between Omega VS IWC ends in a draw because both are extremely capable brands. After having an in-depth understanding of both the brands through this article, you can pick the watch that best fits your needs.

Panerai vs IWC

IWC and Panerai have both made significant contributions to the horology industry. Panerai and IWC have been producing amazing watches for a long time. Some watch connoisseurs might even say that the two brands are equally matched. However, when you have a closer look at the two brands and some of their models, you will notice that they aren’t the same. This Panerai vs IWC debate will shed more light on what each brand is offering to the global watchmaking industry.

Both two brands take pride in their top-tier quality and highly innovative craftsmanship. They have gained a spot in the wall of fame of high-end luxurious watch brands. Panerai, an Italian brand, has a strong reputation for producing stylish timepieces. The Panerai watches offer impeccable functionality combined with unique designs. Panerai brand has even made collaborative models with big global names like Ferrari.  IWC has also embraced the same strategy focusing more on functionality and design. The two brands indeed have an interesting comparison, but then each brand seems to have something unique, which significantly elevates the brands from each other


Panerai Brand

Panerai Brand Logo

Panerai, officially known as Officine Panerai, was founded by Giovanni Panerai in 1860. The Italian luxurious watchmaking brand has been operating for more than a century, making great contributions to watches’ craftsmanship. The company started operating as a small watch shop in Florence, Italy, close to the famous Ponte Alle Grazie Bridge. When Giovanni Panerai set up the Panerai shop, it operated as a watch workshop and showroom. The Panerai brand made a significant contribution to Florence’s horology industry by being the first watchmaking school.

Panerai moved its central operation headquarters to Piazza San Giovanni in 1890. Shortly after that, the helm of the company was taken by Guido Panerai, who was the grandchild of Giovanni Panerai. Guido Panerai expanded the repertoire of the company in line with the expansion of the Orologeria Svizzera brand. The move proved to be very productive; the Panerai brand even signed a major partnership with the Royal Italian Navy. The partnership was facilitated with the introduction of the radium-based gunsights. The famous Panerai Radiomir watch collection was produced during this period.

The global watchmaking industry has also been graced by excellent collaborative timepieces from the Panerai brand, like the Panerai Scuderia and Panerai Granturismo. The two models were created from a partnership that Panerai had with Ferrari. The Panerai brand has continued its success and growth in the global horology industry. In 1997, Panerai was bought by the Vendome Group, currently known as Richmond S.A. The brand’s main headquarters was moved to Geneva, Switzerland after the Vendome Group acquisition. The brand maintained its production of high-quality timepieces despite the monumental move in the company.

Soon after, Panerai started producing its in-house watch movements, which was a significant milestone. Panerai has continued to maintain its desire to change the global landscape of watchmaking. The Panerai Carbotech, one of the recent watch models from Panerai, shows the innovative craftsmanship embraced by the brand is still intact.


IWC Brand

IWC Brand Logo

The International Watch Company (IWC) was founded in 1868, shortly after Panerai was founded. Just like Panerai, the IWC watch brand comes with plenty of rich history in the watchmaking industry. The brand has continued to maintain its long heritage and traditions while embracing modern innovations and inventions in horology. IWC’s history shows a connecting thread in each era, which shows the brand’s adaptability to the ever-changing trends in watchmaking.

Being a Swiss-based company, IWC faces stiff competition from other Swiss luxury watchmaking brands like JLC. IWC  has adopted a unique strategy in watchmaking. IWC uses a different approach; the brand has embraced an American style, which is more daring than the conservative nature embraced by most Swiss luxury watch brands. The brand also embraces diversity in their models by focusing their production in six watch type markets. IWC offers different watch types, from dive watches to dress watches.

IWC managed has turned out to be one of the top watchmaking companies. Initially, the brand produced pocket watches. The brand has faced several challenges in joining the elite Swiss luxurious watchmaking brands in the world. The brand had difficulty standing out during the rise of wristwatches in the market. It wasn’t until 1930 that the IWC brand managed to find the missing mark in their models. The same year, the band released its first models in their watch collections. Some of their famous pilot watches include the Classic, Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint Exupery, Top Gun, and Spitfire.


Panerai vs IWC: Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days vs. IWC Portuguese Automatic Chronograph

Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days

A brand comparison is not complete without comparing elite models from the two brands. IWC has more diversity by producing various watches, unlike Panerai, which limits its watch models to just a few watch types. The models are both men’s watches made from stainless steel. However, the IWC Portuguese Automatic Chronograph 40.9mm has two sub-dials, while the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days 44mm has one sub-dial. The Automatic Chronograph comes with crocodile leather, while the latter comes with two straps (rubber strap and black calfskin leather with beige leather stitching). The crocodile leather strap comes with a folding buckle, while the Marina 8 Days bracelet comes with a tang clasp (Pin Buckle).

IWC Portuguese Automatic Chronograph

The models use different watch movements, the IWC Automatic Chronograph using IWC Calibre 79350 with an automatic/self-winding movement, and the Marina 8 Days using a Panerai in-house Caliber P.5000  with a manual winding movement. The two models both have fixed bezels and use the scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The IWC has used a solid back case on the Automatic Chronograph, while Panerai has used a see-through case back on the Marina 8 Days. The Marina 8 Days has a much higher water resistance level of 300 m/984 ft than the IWC Automatic Chronograph with a water resistance level of 30 m/98 ft. Again, Panerai takes the lead with the Marina 8 Days, which has a power reserve of 8 days/192 hours, while the Automatic Chronograph has a power reserve of just 44 hours.


Panerai vs IWC: Warranty

The two brands offer the same package when it comes to warranty. When buyers register their watches during the famous International Limited Warranty period, they enjoy an extended warranty period. This offer is available for both brands. Both Panerai and IWC have a two-year limited warranty from the initial purchase date. With the International Limited Warranty period, buyers get to enjoy an extended warranty period on both brands. The two brands have independent programs that buyers need to register under to enjoy the extended warranty. For IWC, the program is MY IWC, and for Panerai, it is PAM.GUARD. Buyers who registered in either of these programs enjoy additional six years in the two-year warranty, so the new warranty now lasts for eight years.

Panerai vs IWC: Conclusion

The two brands are competitive in the Panerai vs IWC debate. Despite being very close in price, Panerai tends to have a higher resale value on most of its models than the IWC models. When looking at the two brands’ watchmaking history, it’s evident that the two brands compare favorably. The two brands also have similar qualities when it comes to the quality of watch movement features.

The conclusion of whether one brand is better than the other is very subjective, depending on one’s personal preference. The pricing of the two brands is very different. Panerai has models that are much more expensive than the IWC brand. The Panerai models sell double the market price compared to IWC.

Despite being more expensive, Panerai proves to be a better brand. The brand prides itself on having a rich history with the Royal Italian Navy and producing high-quality dive watches. The Panerai Radiomir and Luminor have turned out to be iconic models with their robust tank-like dials. The Panerai Submersible watches have also improved the reputation of the brand. IWC hasn’t been left behind; it has thrived in improving its level of watch variety. The brand’s vintage dress watch and classy dress timepieces are highly regarded. The Panerai brand stands out because its watches have a high resale value among watch connoisseurs.

There are different Panerai and IWC watch models available at Exquisite Timepieces. You can decide to either buy new or pre-owned models from the two brands.

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