While fake Rolex watches are the most ubiquitous counterfeited timepieces on the market, that doesn’t mean that other luxury watches are safe from forgeries. For instance, a fake IWC Ingenieur Chronograph recently landed in Gray and Son’s watch service center, and the quality was impressive. However, the company’s master watchmakers were able to quickly spot that it was a replica thanks to their expertise and experience. Yet, a replica this good could fool a great deal of people. So, if you’re curious to know how to spot a fake IWC watch, read on as we reveal all the details we discovered right here.
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph IW372501
The first step to take when trying to spot a fake IWC watch is to understand how the authentic IWC watch should be. That way you can compare the watch in question to determine if it’s genuine or not. For instance, the fake IWC we came across was a replica of the Ingenieur Chronograph IW372501 also known as ref. 3725
A genuine IWC Ingenieur Chronograph IW372501 is a full stainless steel watch with a 42.5mm case (13.1mm thick) that’s paired with an integrated bracelet. It is a flyback chronograph watch that includes two chronograph pushers on the right side of the case, two counters on the dial, and an internal tachymeter scale. The case is furnished with a screw-down winding crown, a soft-iron inner case for magnetic field protection, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal on the dial side.
Most importantly, the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph IW372501 is powered by Caliber 79350, which is an automatic movement based on the famous Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement. IWC’s version dropped the small seconds counter, date window, and day window from the Valjoux 7750 base movement.
Caliber 79350 has 272 components, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), includes 31 jewels, offers a 44-hour power reserve, and is finished with Côtes de Genève and perlage decoration.
How To Spot a Fake IWC Watch – General Tips
When trying to determine if an IWC watch is real or fake, keep these general tips in mind.
- Genuine models will be signed “IWC Schaffhausen” somewhere on the dial
- The crown will include the company’s logo
- A real IWC watch will have strong lume
- The dial details should be flawless; check text, hour markers, hands, and other details to see if everything is correct. Any misspellings, faulty printing, or crooked alignment are a dead giveaway that the watch is fake
- Counterfeiters often use the wrong font, so familiarize yourself with what the real example should look like
- The date disk should be flush with the frame around it; if it’s too sunken in, that could be a red flag
- Check the layout of the subdials (if there are any); if they seem too close together or spread too far apart, that could indicate the wrong movement inside the watch
- Inspect the material of the watch – modern IWC watches are crafted from high-grade stainless steel, 18k gold, top-notch ceramics, and other fine materials. Any metals or materials that look or feel cheap are a sign of a fake watch
As always, there are exceptions to the rules. However, trust your gut; if something seems off, it probably is.
How About High-Quality Fakes?
At first glance, the replica IWC Ingenieur that fell into our hands was pretty spot on. The design, finishing, and execution of the case, dial, and bracelet were near identical to a genuine ref. IW372501.
Most guides about spotting a fake watch will tell you to look closely at the dial to see if there are any red flags. However, on super fakes like this one, that isn’t always a guaranteed method to weed out the counterfeits. The dial of this fake IWC mimicked the one on an authentic model, complete with the correct hands, indexes, subdials, and text.
In short, this is one of the best copies the experts at Gray & Sons have seen in recent years.
The Questionable Movement – How to Spot a Fake IWC
Despite the near-flawless exterior, once the caseback was removed to inspect the movement inside the IWC Ingenieur, that’s when the watch revealed itself as a fake.
As mentioned above, an original IWC Ingenieur Chronograph IW372501 runs on Caliber 79350, which is a modified Valjoux 7750 movement that is finished and decorated to IWC standard. However, what was found inside this fake IWC watch was far different from a genuine Caliber 79350/Valjoux 7750.
Here are just a few of the issues found in the movement that signaled to the Gray & Sons experts that they had a fake IWC in their hands:
- The movement was signed “7750” when a genuine ref. IW372501 would be signed “C.79350”
- Even if the watch should have Caliber 7750, the “7750” inscription is etched into the wrong place; it should be located on the mainplate
- The balance regulator inside the fake IWC watch is wrong since the design is completely different from the original movement
- The fake movement used low-quality steel for the plate, which would not be the case in an authentic movement
- The filing of the steel components is also poor, which is not characteristic of a real IWC movement
How To Avoid Buying Fake IWC Watches
As we’ve said countless times before, only rely on experienced watch specialists when buying high-end watches. The quality of counterfeit watches is becoming increasingly better, which means it’s more important than ever to only trust reputable sources that have a long track record working with luxury watches. It takes plenty of experience and skill to know how to spot a fake IWC watch – especially when dealing with high-level modern forgeries.
Gray & Sons have over 40 years of experience buying, selling, and repairing IWC watches. Our watch experts have handled thousands of IWC references, which means they know exactly what they’re looking for when inspecting the authenticity of the watches.
The adage “buy the seller” when dealing with pre-owned luxury watches is one of the best ways to protect yourself from being duped by a fake.