IWC Watch Auctions & Valuations


IWC Company History

IWC watches are exceptionally sought-after timepieces at auction, and sell incredibly well. The finesse of their movements, elegant styles and company heritage all fuel the demand at auction for these coveted timepieces, and we regularly sell IWC Schaffhausen watches in our quarterly Fine Jewellery & Watch Auctions. 

Florentine Ariosto Jones was the manager of E. Howard Watch and Clock Company in Boston, and had a brilliant entrepreneurial flair. His vision was to create a company that merged the technical brilliance and craftsmanship of the Swiss horologists with American cutting edge technology to produce fine timepieces for the American market. In 1868, Jones worked alongside Heinrich Mosser to harness the powers of the Rhine in order to power watchmaking machinery in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. The company became known as the International Watch Company. 

In 1880, IWC Schaffhausen was taken over by the Rauschenbach family. It was under their leadership that IWC created the first pocketwatches with digital hour and minutes displays, and by 1899 their first wristwatch, a ladies watch with a 63 calibre pocket watch movement. 

Following the Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenk's death, Schaffhausen industrialist Ernst Jakob Homberger took over the company. Throughout the early 20th century, the firm sees the creation of two now iconic watch designs. The firm began to produce Pilot's watches in 1936, and three years later introduces the first IWC Portugese watch, one of the firm's most popular timepieces. Throughout the Second World War, IWC interestingly produced now-collectable military timepieces for soldiers on the frontline in both the German Luftwaffe and the British Army. Post-war and moving into the late 20th century, the firm continued to produce some of the finest and ultra functional watches in the world that are highly desirable at auction. 


IWC 'Dirty Dozen' Watches at Auction 

A full set of 'Dirty Dozen' wristwatches are considered the 'Holy Grail' of watch collecting. As such, these incredibly sought-after wristwatches dating from 1944 onwards are keenly fought over by bidders at auction. 

During the Second World War the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) ordered timepieces from a dozen of the finest contemporary watch companies for use by the British army on the front line. Together with Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex, IWC was tasked with creating a manual wind wristwatch for government issue. Distinguished by a Watch. Wrist. Waterproof, or 'W.W.W' inscription and broad arrow markings, black dial, arabic markers, luminous dots and hands, the Dirty Dozen watches accompanied thousands of British troops through the horrors of the battlefield.

IWC produced only 5,000 of the total 150,000 W.W.W. watches commissioned, making them amongst the rarest of the Dirty Dozen timepieces. Distinctively, the IWC Dirty Dozen wristwatches feature a snap-on case back, pencil hands, and a cal. 83 manual wind movement within a 35mm stainless steel case. These watches are increasing in value, and can reach thousands of pounds under the hammer. Top prices for these watches are achieved with considered marketing and specialist sales from our expert team. For a free and confidential valuation of your IWC Dirty Dozen wristwatch, contact our specialist.


IWC Watches at Auction

Our specialist Fine Jewellery & Watch auctions are held 4 times a year and include the whole spectrum of jewellery, from modern and designer pieces to antique jewels, coloured gemstone jewellery to fine diamond rings. Our department is headed by Liz Bailey who is FGA and DGA qualified, with many years experience in the industry. We offer a free valuation service as well as a free collection service for items consigned to these auctions.

Contact our qualified specialist Liz Bailey to find out more.


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An early 20th Century stainless steel IWC wristwatch

Liz Bailey


Department Specialist

+44 (0)1270 623878

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