Rolex vs IWC – Comparing Legacy Horology

IWC and Rolex are two of the top Swiss brands that are known for their prestige and quality. Although Rolex is more popular, IWC is viewed by many watch collectors as a brand that belongs to the upper echelons in terms of movement complications.

If you’re looking for more information that will help you decide which of these two luxury brands to purchase, we have this guide here to help you.

Rolex

Rolex doesn’t need much introduction as it’s certainly the most renowned luxury watch brand in the world. It has a long history of innovations that made it popular and sought after by almost everyone on the planet. The name Rolex has even become synonymous with wealth and luxury because of the high value that people put into the brand’s products.

  • More popular and has a higher resale value
  • Highly accurate movements
  • Wide array of designs to choose from
  • Known for its durability
  • High water resistance rating

Cons:

  • The cheapest model is expensive
  • More fakes are sold in the market
  • Popularity makes them somewhat less exclusive compared to lesser-known brands

Rolex Submariner homage watches

IWC

IWC was founded in 1868 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The idea behind the brand is to combine American production technology with Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship and revolutionize the way high-quality watches are produced.

As the years went by, IWC started to make name for the high complications they integrate into their watch models. The German-inspired designs also gave the watch a more serious and exclusive look, and this has drawn more people to seek the creations of IWC.

Pros:

  • Variety of watch complications
  • More affordable entry-level watches compared to Rolex
  • Watch designs have more finesse

Cons:

  • Less popular compared to Rolex
  • Lower resale value
  • Utilitarian designs

IWC comparing watch

Head-to-Head: IWC vs Rolex

Here’s a brief description of what Rolex or IWC offers better than the other.

Movements and Quality

Rolex is known for manufacturing highly accurate movements. Their excellent, in-house mechanical calibers are COSC-certified which is a widely recognized body in testing movement precision.

IWC, on the other hand, often uses ébauche calibers which are movements manufactured by a 3rd party and customized in-house. Sometimes IWC also creates in-house movements, but unless stated, they’ll often use those made by ETA or Sellita.

However, IWC outshines Rolex in terms of watch complications. They have several models with high complications like minute repeater, chronograph, perpetual calendar, and moon phase.

Rolex has a better reputation than IWC when it comes to durability. Contrary to the misconception that as a luxury brand Rolex needs extra care and attention when worn, Rolex watches are designed as ‘beaters’ that can withstand extreme conditions.

Style and Variety

Rolex watches have an air of lushness in their designs, regardless if they’re made for sports, professional, formal, or casual use.

Rolex offers a variety of styles for specific purposes: there’s the Oyster Perpetual for casual and formal use; the Cosmograph Daytona is for sports aficionados; the GMT-Master II works well with jetsetters; lastly, there’s the classic Submariner for sports and diving professionals.

IWC, on the other hand, has a more refined designs with a sense of being utilitarian. The most popular among their models is the Portugieser which is made for casual and business use. IWC also has the Pilot’s Watches, Portofino, Da Vinci, Aquatimer, Ingenieur, and Jubilee collections, with each of them showcasing the expertise of the brand in creating magnificently crafted watches.

In terms of craftsmanship, IWC has more finesse in their designs. They also have transparent case backs that flaunt the mechanical movements inside their watches.

Rolex, on the other hand, doesn’t have this kind of feature and usually go with solid case backs. This may have something to do with the durability of the watch.

Rolex watches are known not only for their prestige and accuracy but also for their strong build that can withstand everyday use. IWC, on the other hand, is more of a collector’s watch because of its refined and more delicate appearance.

Popularity

Needless to say, Rolex is the most popular Swiss luxury watch brand and IWC doesn’t compare to that. This affects the resale value of the watches, with Rolex having the upper hand over IWC in terms of resale price.

If you want to flaunt your status, the easily recognizable Rolex is the ideal candidate for this. The average layman will be impressed when they see you wearing one of the most coveted brands in the world.

But if you want subtle prestige and recognition from only the most serious collectors who know a lot about watches, wear a watch made by IWC. Although not as popular as Rolex, the horological community has high regard for IWC’s creations.

Warranty

Rolex is one of the brands with the longest warranty period on their products. The company provides a five-year warranty on all their creations, and that’s 200% longer than the average given by most watchmakers. In addition to this, they also provide a ten-year service on authentic products.

IWC, on the other hand, offers a two-year warranty on their watches, similar to what other Swiss watchmakers usually provide.

Price

The cheapest Rolex is the Oyster Perpetual that’s priced at around $5,000.

IWC’s entry-level watch is the Pilot Mark XVIII and it’s priced at $3,500 – way cheaper than the most affordable Rolex watch.

Conclusion

Rolex is more popular than IWC and is known for its accuracy and durability. IWC, on the other hand, has more serious and refined designs that give the watches a more exclusive appeal.

If you want an eye-catching beater watch that’s easily recognizable by anyone, purchase the products offered by Rolex. But if you want to wear something with subtle elegance, consider what IWC has to offer.

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