• Apprentice
    31 Jul 2023, 5:14 a.m.

    Hi All

    Checking to see if anyone has experienced the problem of an IWC serial number not appearing in the IWC database when checking here:


    I visted an IWC boutique to have the watch serviced which is how I found out about this problem. The IWC sales staff at the boutique also weren't able to bring up the serial number when they checked their database. I suspect they use the same database that feeds the above link.

    FYI, I bought this watch, a Portuguese auto, about 10 years ago pre-owned. I did my due diligence on the seller and the person I purchased the watch from checked out as legitimate. He had been actively buying and selling high end watches on various forums (WUS, rolex forum etc), all with postive reviews. I also just re-checked his trading activity and he continued to trade high end watches long after I purchased from him, again with the postive reviews.

    The seller purchased the watch from an AD. The included warranty card has the AD's stamp and a stamp of the serial number (same number as is on the caseback) and hand written purchase date.

    While I understand it's difficult to judge watches from only an external visual inspection, I really don't feel there is anything illegitmate about the watch. I have had a number of IWC boutiqe staff handle the watch during my various boutique visits with none noticing anything off. One intersting piece of evidence about this watch is the box - it's one of those early 2010s rubberized boxes, which at the time IWC may have though looked good but over the years has developed a stickiness and delamination. The box for this watch seems consistent with genuine IWC's boxes delivered in that era. I may be wrong in my interpretation of this but it's things like this that makes me feel the watch is genuine!?

    So what could possibly be happening here? Could it be possible that IWC has made a mistake not including this watch in their databse? Or could be an example of grey market watch that made a back door exit from IWC? Or could it be something else?

    Thanks for reading. I am liasing with IWC on this matter but am hoping to hear some forum insights into this also.

  • Master
    31 Jul 2023, 4:51 p.m.

    You have to enter the watch serial number yourself to register it in the database. If the previous owner did not enter it, it will not be there.

  • Apprentice
    1 Aug 2023, 4:08 a.m.

    You have to enter the watch serial number yourself to register it in the database. If the previous owner did not enter it, it will not be there.

    Best Regards

    Thanks Mark.

    This is good to know. I assumed that IWC inputs all serial numbers when the watch leaves their factory given statements made by IWC. The boutique I went to was categoric that every IWC produced will have its serial number recorded in the database and that if it's not in the database then the watch's authenticity is questionable. They didn't state anything to the effect that serial numbers are to be uploaded by the first purchaser and that only those serial numbers will appear in the database. I also emailed IWC about this problem and they also didn't mention this. Their response was simply that they couldn't find the watch in the database and that I would be required to send it to Schaffhausen for authentication at my cost.

    Come to think of it, this is how a lot of consumer products work for warranty purposes so the process makes absolute sense. The lack of transparency and clarity, however, when discussing this matter with IWC is dissapointing and stress inducing.

    Thanks again for clarifying.

  • Graduate
    1 Aug 2023, 11:48 a.m.

    It is correct that you have to register your watch by yourself in the database. However, the serial number you enter is beeing checked with IWC's data and when found there, your watch's model/Reference number as well as the the date until the warranty is valid is automatically provided. The second only, if the warranty was digitally activated by the seller upon the original purchase.

    But in my opinion, model/reference should always appear upon registration. I even registered a watch from 1943 and when entering it's serial number, it appeared. I don't know wether this is standard with such old models or wether it was because this watch was serviced by IWC a few months before.

    I agree with HANNAHARROW's statement above.


  • Apprentice
    1 Aug 2023, 2:40 p.m.

    Thanks for the extra clarification Philip. What I'm now unclear on is if, post original purchase, I were to email IWC about a serial number issue, would they check against a database of serial numbers registered by the original purchaser (or dealer) or would they check against a different internal database containing produced serial numbers?

    Just to clarify, I'm based in Singapore. When I was at the boutique, the sales staff checked the public database I linked to in my initial post. When I then emailed IWC Singapore about this issue, they were quick to turn around an answer saying they also couldn't find the serial number in the database. I'm not sure if they are checking the same database as the sales staff at the boutique. Perhaps if my email enquiry was to Schaffhausen, would they do a deeper serial number search covering their internal databases!?

    I have read online comments about inputted serial numbers bringing up wrong watch models. I haven't, however, read any comments about watches not appearing on the database.

    I have no cause to question the authenticity of the watch and will attempt to reengage IWC to clarify their databases. In the meantime, if anyone else has any wisdom on this topic, please do share.

    Thanks all

  • Master
    24 Jun 2024, 10:50 a.m.

    Dan, sorry to hear about your issues.

    There are some misunderstandings in this Thread. Let me try to put things clearer.

    The process to register is as follows:

    You can register any serial number in your account. If you're the first one for a watch, you're the first one. If you're not the first one to register the watch in your account, it doesn't matter. You're allowed to do so either. Every serial number you upload to register on your account, will be checked against IWC's internal database. If found, there will be a model or Ref. number as well, shown for this watch too. For some models, especially the older they are, there might no Ref number or model name be found. But still the serial number is checked against IWC's database. For very old serial numbers, especially before the year 1900, there might no entry be found in the database because not all numbers were entered in that database.

    But a 'new' Portugieser watch, that was made after 1990, should be in IWC's database under any circumstances.

    If you're trying to register a serial number, that can't be found, there is definitely something wrong. Either in the database or with the watch. But what?

    That can only be a speculation now. As I'm working in IT, I know from experience that there can always be a data error, even if it's not likely. Or the watch could be a prototype or some sort of unofficially released watch whatever that may be. Even a reputable seller might not have been aware of that issue. In any case, the best option to find out what was going on with your watch, is to let IWC check the legibility of the watch. But be aware of the fact that you have to carry the cost and they might say it's not a legit watch and the might keep and destroy it for whatever reasons. I've heard that Rolex does that even if only some parts were replaced with non original parts. But I don't have any detailed information about that. Just that you are aware of what might happen. On the other side, if it were my watch, I would want to know as well, what's the issue and would want to find out.

    In any case, best of luck for you and your watch! Let us know if you find out more. And hope to see and read you back here on this forum, the best source of IWC knowledge and information and comradeship out there.