Just recently, an interesting thread at one of the Dutch watch forums regarding IWC was started. In short, the topic starter of the thread wrote that IWC was the new watch for the rich. Perhaps a bit exaggerated, but I drew that same conclusion a while ago as well. I define it as follows: IWC is the new Rolex. Rolex used to be, and perhaps still is, a watch that stood for a successful career, life and wealth. At least, that is the image that it is stuck with. For collectors and watch aficionados, this brand has another meaning, but you probably already knew that. Otherwise you wouldn’t be visiting this web site. Anyway, IWC Schaffhausen seems to be on a mission. With their new range of advertisements, published in a broad scope of light reading material, they seem to target at successful young businessman. At least people that are not per definition watch enthusiasts. There is nothing wrong with that, especially not from a seller’s perspective. However, I see this trend going on which has ruined, and still does, the image of Rolex for many watch enthusiasts. I fear that the same thing will happen to IWC. Rolex was never a brand that started out to be for the watch enthusiast, so that might prohibit this trend from progressing to a worse level for IWC. This trend is that people who are the former Rolex buyers for all the, in the eyes of collectors, wrong reasons, now start buying IWC watches. An IWC watch has a more sophisticated image and seems to be a more justified time piece to be seen with at work and social events. Personally, I am more impressed by the finish of a Rolex watch and the finish of its mechanical movement than I am with IWC watches in the same price range (<5K Euro).

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Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • Chuck

    Oh boy. The whole Rolex vs. ‘anyone’ thing again.
    The fact of the matter is that Rolex was innovative a long time ago, and has been riding on that success, whereas new companies such as IWC are pushing out innovative new designs and movements (5000 caliber for example). Credit goes where credit is due.

  • Chuck

    Correction on the use of the word ‘new’… by ‘new’ I mean new to the public non-WIS eye.

  • No Chuck, it is the big IWC vs ‘anyone’ posting ;-).

  • Andrew

    It’s the ” We are Rolex and we are the best ” mind control trash of several decades. The fact is Rolex folk cannot stand the heat of the competition since their brand has done nothing but live on their past glories. Yes they’ve made some good watches and movements but all they ever do now is raise the price on an annual basis – incidentally what they’ve been good at for almost an eternity without doing anything to justify the price hike. Credit where credit’s due and IWC for my money are showing a lot more integrity than the old fogies at Rolex.

  • I think that’s not the point here. The point is that it IWC seems to fall into the same category as Rolex is in for decades now. A watch for the ignorant buyer.. (nothing wrong with that as I wrote, but the image will get blurry by watch collectors and passionates). It would be a shame if that happens, but IWC does not seem to care, looking at their advertizements in all kinds of magazines. The point of this post was not a Rolex vs IWC debate.

  • Andrew

    I think whilst that can be said about Rolex I don’t imagine it’s applicable to IWC which hasn’t as far as I know advertised much before. In any event, I think they have much more to offer the watch buyer than some glitzy, flimsy-bracelet bling-laden wrist accessory that is aimed at the wannabe or social climber. IWC is at least offering both buyer and enthusiast something quite different and unique both mechanically and in style content . Well that’s my humble 2c anyway. Kind regards.

  • @Andrew, I am sure that you think IWC has more to offer. However, I don’t think the wannabe or social climber is interested in the added-value of IWC bracelets or other extras. It is about name tags. At least in The Netherlands, IWC is advertising in all kinds of magazines (business and leisure). I also noticed the run on IWC watches at the company I work for and at the ones of friends. So, the fundamentals for my posting are quite Dutch-oriented/based. 🙂 However, it would be nice to keep an eye on such trends in other countries as well.

  • Simon_Leung

    For the most part the IWC is more realistic in terms of pricing.
    This is a watch company that manufactures their own movements and from
    my perspective,they tend to suit everyone across the board.

    Rolex for their credit,was that their Precision hand-wound movements
    were extremely robust and simple to work on. However,their justification for the annual price is to combat against counterfeit watches.

    The indices and hands on a Rolex dial is made from 18kt white gold.
    The stainless steel case is made from a solid piece of 904L grade steel that is hand formed, polished and assembled.

    However,IWC has the upper hand when it comes to the movement.
    This is a watch company that is ranked No.2 just behind Patek Philippe.
    IWC Caliber 5000 and IWC Caliber 89 are by far extremely beautiful movements to look at and to admire.

    Rolex spend huge sums of money on marketing, where as IWC spends their money on Research and Development. Therefore,IWC is at the forefront of making great watch movements.

  • William

    Can anybody help me with this, I was in a store today looking at a Rolex I commented to the salesmen I was also looking at IWC. He commented that Rolex and Patek were the only two watchs made 100% in their factories and IWC was 51% in the factory and 49% else where.

    That sounded strange to me, is there any truth to that?