IWC describes its Portofino collection as “the laid-back lifestyle of the Mediterranean and the very essence of understatement and good taste.” These watches have been around for more than three decades, loved by both men and women. If you’re looking for a simple yet elegant IWC model, this is it. The Portofino has a clean and classic look that one can wear with casual, business, or formal wear.
The first IWC Portofino watch—the Portofino Hand Would Moonphase—was released in 1984. Through the years, the brand has produced a number of versions of watches, all of which have the iconic design that’s simple but elegant.
IWC watches, however, can get very expensive. Made in Switzerland, these watches cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. If you want a similar look but don’t want to pay the hefty price tag, read on.
For this article, we’re doing the same thing that we did to our IWC Big Pilot alternatives feature. We’ll focus on watches that can be alternatives to the IWC Portofino (you can learn more about the brand and get an idea of its price points on Bob’s Watches site). Below, we’ll provide other watch brands and models that you can consider if you’re looking for an alternative—these are mostly more affordable models, but we’ll also include some luxury watches.
Best Affordable IWC Portofino Alternatives
Citizen Eco-Drive AR3073-06E
Japanese watch company Citizen has an excellent reputation (you can read our article about the brand here). If you’re looking for a trusted brand that has a similar aesthetic to the IWC Portofino, this Eco-Drive model is another good one to consider.
The Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s AR3073-06E is a 38mm watch with a stainless steel case and a croc-embossed leather bracelet and a black Guilloché dial. This model, which is off the brand’s Stiletto collection, has rose gold-tone hands and has a Japanese quartz movement
Powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, this sleek and thin watch is powered by any light, and will never need a battery.
Fossil Townsman Stainless Steel
American brand Fossil is known mostly for its leather goods, watches, and accessories but not many know that Fossil Group Inc has a wide portfolio of well-known brands like Skagen and Zodiac watches (we talked more about this in this article). Their watches, which have Japanese quartz movements, are affordable and fashionable so they are excellent alternatives to Swiss watches that cost thousands of dollars.
Portofino also has chronographs in its collection. Those who are looking for a similar style (big dial, clean and legible markers), one of the brands that you should consider is Fossil.
The Fossil Men Townsman Stainless Steel is a 44mm watch with a three-hand analog display with two chronograph dials. The strap is a genuine leather band, and the watch is water-resistant up to 50m.
Seiko Neo Classic Leather Watch SUR297P1
Japanese brand Seiko is another trusted name when it comes to affordable and good quality quartz watches.
One of its models that has the same look as some IWC Portofino models (particularly the Portofino Automatic IW35650) is the Seiko Neo Classic Quartz watch, a 41mm model with similar featured: a white stainless steel case and markers that have a combination of index and Roman numerals (for the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock marks). Both watches also have a date window at 3 o’clock.
The Seiko Neo Classic has a scratch-resistant hardlex crystal and a fixed stainless steel bezel. The water resistance is up to 100m.
You can explore the brand further by reading our Seiko Watch Reviews or Brand Comparison articles (such as this one where Seiko is compared to Casio).
Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic
This watch by Swiss watchmaker Tissot is an homage to their innovations that go as far back to the 1950s, the period when the company integrated Visodate, a date function to their watches.
The Tissot Heritage Visodate watch has a stainless steel case and silver dial with the distinct domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Powered by a Swiss automatic movement, this has a power reserve of up to 38 hours. The brown leather strap has a butterfly clasp.
We’ve written a number of Tissot watches on our site, such as Best Tissot Watches for Men, Best Tissot Watches for Women, and brand comparisons like Orient vs. Tissot.
“Swiss heart. Australian soul.” This is how the Australian watch company Melbourne describes its watches. The company is relatively new—it launched in 2013 through crowdfunding—but has received many good reviews by experts and watch enthusiasts alike over the years.
The Melbourne Flinders Heritage Black, which is part of the brand’s first collection, has a similar look to Portofino watches because of the simplicity of the dial. Powered by a Swiss movement, this watch is comfortable and has a slim dial, allowing the watch to be easily slipped under a shirt cuff. This one’s a 40mm stainless steel case with applied steel indexes and a sapphire crystal, and a black leather strap (brown strap options are also available).
Melbourne watches are not available on Amazon, but you can purchase them on the brand’s official website. See the rest of the Flinders collection here.
Maurice Lacroix Eliros Date
The IWC Portofino collection has a model with a mesh band—the Portofino Automatic IW356505.
If you’re looking for something similar that has a relatively more affordable price tag, there’s the Eliros Date watch by Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix.
This 40mm watch also has a stainless steel bracelet (not mesh like the IWC version, but it does have a nine-layer stainless steel strap, which has a similar look). This watch runs on a Swiss quartz movement and has a water resistance of 50m.
Read more about Maurice Lacroix here.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic 38mm
Junghans, a German watchmaker that has been around since 1961, is known for producing watches with a minimalist aesthetic (it was also featured in our article on Bauhaus Watches).
The Junghans Max Bill Automatic 38mm watch is a collaboration with renowned Bauhaus designer Max Bill, who is known for his neat aesthetic, with clean lines and markers. This model has a white dial and thin black index markers, with a black calfskin leather strap. The hour markers are luminescent, and there is a sweep seconds hand.
Made in Germany, this model is powered by a Swiss automatic movement caliber J800.1, with a power reserve of 38 hours. The water resistance is 30m.
Read more about the brand in our Junghans Watch Review article.
Oris Artelier Silver Dial
Swiss watchmaker Oris is known for its high-quality mechanical watches. Their products are not cheap, but still relatively more affordable compared to IWC’s.
This Oris Artelier 40mm watch has a simple silver dial and index markers. It has a stainless steel case, luminescent hands, and a date window at 6 o’clock. This model is powered by an automatic movement, with 38 hours of power reserve.
Another notable feature of this watch is the domed sapphire top glass, which has an anti-reflective coating. This allows the wearer to have a clear view of the dial’s pattern.
Oris and IWC watches are compared often. You can learn more about both brands in this article that we have on our website, which places them side by side and discussing histories and important models.
Frederique Constant Manufacture Moonphase Watch
This is another model for those looking for a moon phase feature. The Frederique Constant Manufacture Moonphase automatic watch has a rose gold-plated stainless steel case, a white dial with applied gold index markers, and an alligator strap.
The moon phase feature is at 6 o’clock. To learn more about how Frederique Constant makes its watches, specifically the Manufacture collection you can check out the brand’s official site.
We’ve also featured the brand on our site—learn more about its history and models by reading our Frederique Constant Watch Reviews.
Nomos Orion Neomatik 39 Men’s Automatic
Another brand that has a minimalist and Bauhaus-inspired design is Nomos. This German brand produced manual-wound and automatic mechanical watches.
The IWC Portofino has a neat dial, which gives it a classic look that will match both casual and dress occasions. So does this model by this Nomos model: the Neomatik 39 Automatic watch. This is a silver-tone stainless steel model with a 38.5mm case, leather strap, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
You can read more about the brand in our German Watch Brands article.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon 39mm
The IWC Portofino collection includes models that have a moon phase feature, such as the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 (IW459008). Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are not cheap, but if you’re looking for a similar design that’s about the same price or sometimes lower than other IWC models (one of the most expensive IWC Moon Phase models is around $37,000), you can consider this one.
The Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon watch is a 39mm watch with a date and moon phase display and runs on Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 925/1. This is a simple but elegant luxury watch that has an analog display, a silvered and sunray-brushed dial, and a black leather bracelet.