Best IWC Watch: Top Picks from the Dark Horse of Swiss Watches

If you have been keeping up with your high-end luxury watches, it’s likely that you have come across the International Watch Company or IWC. If not, then you don’t have to feel bad because the brand is indeed not as mega-popular as let’s say, Rolex or Omega.

However, if you consider yourself to be a collector or simply a fan of well-made watches, the best time to pay attention to IWC is now.

The IWC is widely considered to be the dark horse of Swiss watches. With the company’s bold approach and emphasis on the engineering aspect rather than the artisanal, it has positioned itself to be one of the top contenders.

Today, we have made a list of the best IWC watch that’s currently available. Whether you’re looking for a top-quality Swiss watch or simply curious about the brand, it’s hard to go wrong with these IWC watches.

Best IWC Watch

Key Features

Our Rating

IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3714 Stainless steel, 42 millimeters case size, Railway track style chapter ring, Large pocket watch movements ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince Stainless steel case, Brown calfskin leather strap, Fixed stainless steel bezel, Midnight blue dial, Luminous silver-tone hands, Arabic numeral hour markers ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Self-winding, Stainless steel case, 42 hours Power Reserve, Diameter 40.0 mm, Screw in crown, Water resistance 12 bar, Silver-plated dial with luminescence, Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph Black ceramic case, Black fabric bracelet, Black dial with luminous hands, 68-hour power reserve, Water resistance 6 bar, Automatic, self-winding ★ ★ ★ ★
IWC Portofino Automatic Stainless steel case, Water resistance 3 bar, 42 hours Power Reserve, Automatic, self-winding, Black alligator leather strap, 163 Components ★ ★ ★ ★
IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 Titanium case, Screw in crown, Water resistance 200 bar, Black dial with luminescence, 42 hours Power Reserve, Black rubber strap with IWC-patented quick-change system ★ ★ ★ ★

Best IWC Watch

1. IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3714

The IWC Portugieser Chronograph is one of the most popular, if not the most popular watch from IWC. It’s well-considered to be a classic and it remains practically unaltered since its introduction more than 20 years ago. Over the years, the watch has acquired cult status and for good reason.

A Modern Icon

The Portugieser Chronograph is a timepiece that needs to be worn to be appreciated. At the surface, it’s easy to think that it looks plain, simple, and not very original. However, once you see the watch in person, you’ll appreciate the rigidity and discretion of the design.

The base concept of the Portugieser is to have a pocket watch movement fitted into a rather large case. You’ll notice that the bezel is quite slim which in turn makes the dial window massive. I must say that IWC did a good job of providing the comfort of a small watch with the feeling of having a large one on your wrist.

The 3714 version of the Portugieser pays tribute to the previous generation models with leaf-shaped hands and Arabic numerals. Despite the addition of the two subdials, I have to say that the overall look of the dial is well done. On the wrist, the Portugieser looks stunning.

The IWC Portugieser Chronograph 3714 is a watch that deserves a slot in anyone’s collection.

2. IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince

The IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince is an honorary tribute to France’s literary extraordinaire and the country’s pioneer aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As you might have guessed, this blue dialed chronograph is inspired by Antoine’s most famous book, the Little Price

A Pilot Watch Worthy of Its Namesake

Blue dials can be a hit or miss for me but the IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince is clearly a massive hit for me. One of the main reasons why this model works so well is the excellent combination of size, style, and beautiful execution.

Say what you want about IWC but the company arguably provides the best-in-class set of dial textures and materials. As a result, many of their watches have some of the best-looking faces in the market. Try comparing IWC pilot watches with the competition and you’ll see that IWC watches have their own brand of style.

The Le Petit Prince Chronograph is no exception.

On the wrist, the Le Petit Prince demonstrates a good deal of versatility. The watch looks great whether you’re using it for purely casual or formal attire. It has a bit of a daring aesthetic but if you’re up for it, this blue-dialed wonder might just be up your alley.

The IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince is an aviation-inspired timepiece that collectors don’t want to miss.

3. IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The IWC Ingenieur Automatic is a watch for people who prefer a no-nonsense approach to their watches. The Ingenieur is another iconic IWC model that features traditional design cues. That’s one way of saying that it’s an absolute classic.

Classic Ingenious Design

The Ingenieur is available in many different models but for some reason, I am drawn to the Ingenieur Automatic.

At 40 mm x 10 mm, the Automatic model sits rather nicely on the wrist. When compared to the other Ingenieur models, the Automatic will look slightly smaller. However, the Automatic excels when it comes to offering excellent fit and comfort.

In terms of aesthetics, the Ingenieur Automatic pays homage to the family’s traditional design cues. The famous Gérald Genta designed the bores in the bezel which makes the Ingenieur instantly recognizable. Interestingly enough, the bores provide the watch with that unmistakable tough look. To further bolster the watch’s toughness, a sapphire crystal and screw-in crown have been added.

The watch features an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve and neat hacking seconds. There’s an inner case that protects the movement from magnetism. There’s not much here in terms of timekeeping but everything is decidedly well-done.

The IWC Ingenieur Automatic is one of the best entry-level models from IWC. However, in the case of IWC, entry-level is by no means low-end.

4. IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph

In a previous article, we have highlighted the IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph as one of the best pilot watches available. I am a big fan of black dials, so I was instantly attracted to the Top Gun. Plus, Top Gun is a cult-classic movie that I severely enjoyed and this watch succeeds as a tribute.

Maverick Will Be Proud

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Top Gun Automatic is its high-contrast color design. The black dial and white hands provide a great contrast which makes the watch very readable under any circumstances. True to its namesake, the watch looks like a counter in a jet fighter plane’s cockpit. It looks nice and expensive on the wrist.

Another aspect that stands out is the case which is made of ceramic that’s beautifully designed and finished. The case is also finished in black for that complete fighter jet look. Black cases are not doing it for me but for some reason, the Top Gun pulls it off rather well.

The watch comes in a soft black strap that doesn’t just feel high-quality but comfortable as well. There are also variations of the Top Gun that offered in stainless steel bracelets. However, a tool watch such as the Top Gun Automatic feels just right with a soft bracelet.

From the legibility to the finish of the parts, the IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun is impressive.

5. IWC Portofino Automatic

The Portofino collection is another long-standing offering from IWC which was first introduced in the early 1980s. Up to this day, the ref. 5251 remains as one of the most collectible timepieces from IWC. In 2011, the Portofino line got a refresh including the base model, the IWC Portofino Automatic.

Classic But Versatile

Much like the Portugieser Chronograph, the idea behind the IWC Portofino Automatic is to hide the complex internal workings of a pocket watch behind a simple face. Wearing the Portofino is like having a miniature pocket watch on your wrist.

Clean, no fuss execution is the name of the game when it comes to the Portofino. The elements of the dial – hands, markers, and date display – are masterfully executed. The hands have this rounded elegance that complements the curve of the case.

There’s really no advanced functions or design elements here but that’s where the Portofino shines. It’s just an honest and simple wristwatch. Due to the simplicity, the watch fills all sorts of wardrobe voids, whether it’s a formal event or a casual Friday.

The IWC Portofino Automatic embodies understated luxury.

6. IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000

IWC is widely known for its pilot watches which is why many people tend to forget that they make serious dive watches as well. The IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is a dive watch that’s worth looking into if you’re in the market for a tool watch that doesn’t mess around.

A Tank of a Dive Watch

IWC wants you to have no doubt when it comes to the Aquatimer Automatic 2000. It’s a rather sizable watch at 46mm x 20.5mm and it’s equipped with the SafeDive bezel system. Basically, it’s a system that provides protection against water, dust, and other elements.

The caseback shape allows the watch to comfortably low on the wrist. Because of this, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 feels secure and doesn’t flop around when worn. The titanium case does a good job of protecting the watch but kept the weight to a minimum.

The Aquatimer is available in many different color versions, and some are Chronographs. Hands down, it’s a terrific dive watch.

Closing Thoughts

That concludes our list of the best IWC watch that you can get your hands on. If you are looking to give IWC a well-deserved try, it’s hard to go wrong with the watches in this round-up.

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