Expert Authenticator: How To Verify IWC Watches (2024)

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Ch Alex
fake vs real iwc watch
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Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Ch David

IWC is a famous brand, with partners such as Mercedes-AMG F1. Knowing how to tell a fake can be crucial when trying to add a new one to your collection.

We’ll teach you how to tell fake IWCs: Pilot, Portuguese and Portofino.

How to Spot a Fake IWC

You can tell if an IWC is real if it has the same font weight and amount of space between its letters on the dial. Fakes often have the elements on the dial at the incorrect thickness.

1. Dial

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their dials
  • The genuine IWC Portuguese watch has 3 ticks between the seconds’ markers.
    • The replica IWC watch has 4. The three ticks represent the mechanism’s 3 ticks per second.
  • The blue color on the chronograph’s sub-dial is painted on the fake.
    • The real one looks of higher quality.
  • The fake marker for 6 o’clock looks like a perfect circle instead of having an oval shape.

Let’s look at another comparison:

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their dials
  • Be aware of the embossed numbers on the genuine dial.
  • On the replica dial, those numbers will more often look like they are “glued”.

Want the expert's opinion? Let our IWC authenticators check your watch:

2. Sub-dials

Just like the notorious Rolex Daytona, the IWC’s watches also have sub-dials.

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their sub-dials
  • The fake IWC has a different design when it comes to its sub-dials.
  • Notice the different shades of red present on the small second’s hand in the sub-dial at 9 o’clock.
  • The sub-dials are placed too far away from each other on the fake IWC.
  • The sub-dials have to be “connected” with the side pushers.

So another step when authenticating the IWC watch is to push the side buttons and to make sure that those are mechanically linked with the features present on the sub-dial.

3. Day & Date

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their day and date windows
  • IWC fakes will not perfectly replicate the font and thickness present on the genuine IWC watch.
  • The font can be thinner, like in the picture above, or in some cases even thinner.

Helpfulness: Make sure you are comparing the watch in your hands with reference pictures available on the official IWC website, or trusted dealers.

This way, you can be sure that you are accurately authenticating your IWC watch, whether it is a Portofino, Pilot, or Portuguese model.

4. Reflections

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their reflections
  • Fake watches may often not have an anti-reflective coating on the dial.
  • Hence the light and shadows are easily reflected on the fake dial.

Genuine IWC watches will rarely reflect light from the dial.

Instead, a real watch always assists you in easily reading the date and time on the main dial.

A quick mention:

  • The steps we’ve written so far are the BEST ways to authenticate this item
  • The next few steps are still reliable methods…
  • … but they apply to non-top-versions of replicas available for this item

If in doubt, we recommend double-checking the steps we’ve explained above this line.

5. Power Reserve indicator

5.1. What is it?

  • The power reserve indicator is a feature present on some of the IWC watches, and it is visible on the main dial, as a sub-dial.
  • This indicator lets you know the number of days left until your watch runs out of power.
  • This is a helpful feature for you to know when to wind your watch and charge it.

5.2. Comparison

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their power reserve indicators
  • IWC replica manufacturers added this feature to their items as well.
  • In some cases, the power indicator will be frozen and not working.
  • This indicator is often just as a display on the fake IWC watches.

5.3. How to check it?

  • Your watch will have to be charged less than the maximum.
  • This way, you can start winding it.
  • Make sure that while it charges, the arrow on the IWC power indicator sub-dial moves and reflects a higher state of its power.

If the arrow moves, then your IWC is +70% genuine.

If the arrow doesn’t move, then it is 100% a replica.

6. Winding

This is an aspect that is much tougher to reflect in the picture, but we will try to do it in writing.

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their winding crown
  • When authenticating an IWC watch, pull out its crown and try rotating it.
  • Try manually changing your IWC’s date and time and check how it feels.
  • If it feels smooth and easy, then you are most probably holding a genuine IWC in your hands.
  • If it does not feel smooth and you face different inconsistencies, then are holding a replica IWC in your hands, no matter if it is a Portuguese, Pilot, or Portofino model.
  • Movement of the crown that feels clingy always indicates a replica.

7. Case

7.1. Crown side

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches from the side
  • Because of the replica mechanism, the fake IWC will more often than not have a thicker case.

Don’t forget to inspect the case thickness on both sides of your IWC watch and make sure it is not thicker than it should be.

7.2. Other side

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches from the side
  • See how the fake watch is not as wide as the real one.

8. Leather strap

The genuine leather strap wears off in time.

Sometimes, you might be looking at a second-hand IWC that has a replaced strap, which can be an aftermarket example.

Comparison of the real vs fake IWC Watches for their leather straps
  • If looking at an IWC branded leather strap, make sure it is an authentic piece.
  • Inspect all its text and stitches.
  • Make sure it is of utmost quality and no inconsistency is visible.
  • If there are inconsistencies present on the strap, you might be looking at a fake bracelet.

Shortlist: Authenticate your IWC

  1. Examine the watch’s dial for any flaws or inconsistencies, as counterfeit pieces often show discrepancies.
  2. Assess the sub-dials: Fake watches often have non-functional sub-dials. Ensure side pushers work in tandem with these sub-dials.
  3. Inspect the date window: Counterfeit models might display dates with incorrect fonts or varying thicknesses.
  4. Study the crystal’s quality: Authentic IWC watches have superior anti-reflective coatings, while fakes may skimp on this or omit it entirely.
  5. If present, evaluate the power reserve indicator. Some fakes might merely show it as a design element without actual functionality.
  6. Wind the watch using its crown. Genuine IWC watches should offer a seamless winding experience without any hitches.
  7. Measure the case’s thickness. Many counterfeit pieces have a bulkier case due to imperfectly replicated movement mechanics.
  8. Inspect the leather strap, if it’s the original one. Genuine straps showcase impeccable stitching and consistent, high-quality text imprinting.

Going through the 8 in-depth steps to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit IWC Pilot, Portuguese, or Portofino watches might not always be feasible, especially if you’re pressed for time or shopping online.

For a faster verification process, we’ve summarized a 60-second authentication guide for you.

Above are the top 8 markers to help you identify the authenticity of an IWC Pilot, Portuguese, or Portofino watch.

Expert IWC authentication

If you’re unsure about the authenticity of your IWC, don’t worry, we’re here to assist.

  • Simply send us clear photos of your IWC timepiece, and we promise to provide you with an assessment within 48 hours.
  • Along with our verdict, you’ll receive a detailed report explaining the reasons behind our judgment on its authenticity.

This concludes our guide on differentiating genuine IWC watches from counterfeits.

Stay tuned, as we aim to regularly update this content with fresh comparisons and insights.


Need our opinion in regards to the authenticity of your watch? It’s a service we provide.

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Alternatively, we have free authentication resources for watches: written guides and video tutorials.

Thank you for reading this,

Ch Alex

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About the Author

Ch Alex is the co-founder and COO of Legit Check By Ch. Ch Alex is in charge of the "Watch Guides" section of our Legit Check By Ch Library. Alex is also the main host of our YouTube channel where our guides have helped people save millions of dollars in scams. Make sure you subscribe to our channel and check out the videos hosted by Alex!
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