IWC Schaffhausen Master watchmaker Kurt Klaus is celebrating his 80th birthday
The inventor and design engineer of IWC’s autonomous perpetual calendar turns 80.
On October 26th, Kurt Klaus, inventor and tireless IWC brand ambassador celebrated his 80th birthday. The story of his time in Schaffhausen, now exactly 57 and a half years, is not over yet. His desk is still at the company’s head office. Just a few days ago, he returned from yet another of his trips abroad as a watchmaking “missionary”.
Above all, his creative contribution, namely “Operation Eternity”, has made him immortal. Although this particular achievement lies some 29 years back, it has lost none of its brilliance. In 1985, he wrote watchmaking history as the inventor and design engineer of IWC’s autonomous perpetual calendar. He liberated the owner from the need to make the corrections that were usually required and made the complication suitable for everyday use. For the first time ever, the synchronization of the calendar indicators, including an extremely accurate moon phase display, were complemented by a four-digit year display. To the astonishment of the watchmaking world, the calendar was constructed so that it would go on functioning correctly for more than 500 years. This endowed the watch, felicitously named the Da Vinci, with a positively philosophical dimension.
In 2007, IWC payed tribute to Kurt Klausen: the brand launched the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Edition Kurt Klaus, featuring the technology of the original model and his portrait on the reverse side. It was initially launched in an edition of 500 watches in gold as well as 50 in platinum and 50 in white gold. But worldwide demand for the special edition was so large that this tribute to one of the most significant figures in
IWC’s pantheon of illustrious watchmakers was reproduced with another 1,000 watches in red gold and 3,000 in stainless steel. For all his modesty, Klaus can’t help but feel proud of this honour. He subsequently contributed to the development of the most advanced successor yet to the watch that featured his original calendar/chronograph movement: the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month,
which was unveiled in 2009 and incorporated many of his ideas.
Even after his official retirement at 65, the company’s management had recognized that his role as a brand ambassador with a genuine enthusiasm for IWC, media spokesman and teacher of watchmaking was a trump card that had to be played, particularly in distant markets.
With a clear emphasis on technology and development, IWC Schaffhausen has been manufacturing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. Its philosophy, based on a passion for watchmaking, aims to maintain a spirit of indefatigable initiative and impeccable craftsmanship.Find out more >
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