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IWC Schaffhausen - IWC’s 150th anniversary celebration in Singapore

IWC Schaffhausen IWC’s 150th anniversary celebration in Singapore

As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2018, IWC will be holding a retrospective exhibition in Singapore.

From Tuesday, 1 May 2018 to Sunday, 13 May 2018, fans of IWC Schaffhausen who are in Singapore will be able to soak in the brand’s watchmaking history through a retrospective exhibition to celebrate its 150th anniversary (1868 to 2018) held at the level 1 atrium of the ION Orchard shopping mall.

American Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841 to 1916), a former director of F. Howard & Cie, a leading watchmaking company then in Boston, USA, founded International Watch Company in 1868 in the small town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. Schaffhausen was chosen because Jones was offered space in industrial buildings for his facility and the availability of hydroelectric power supply by industrialist Heinrich Moser (1805 to 1874).

Le 150e anniversaire célébré à Singapour

F.A Jones and the IWC factory in Schaffhausen © IWC


As the American watch industry was flourishing then, Jones’ vision was to utilise machinery efficiently to manufacture quality watches in Switzerland and enjoy lower production costs before exporting them back to America.

In the early 1870s, the Jones calibres were made using industrial production processes. The finished watches classified as “Pattern H” were of the highest quality and shipped to America for sale.

Le 150e anniversaire célébré à Singapour

Some calibers produced by Jones. © IWC

However, the business model Jones had in mind was not a commercial success due to artificial trade barriers – the American war duty of 25% in particular that was not lowered as was expected.

In 1880, ownership of IWC was taken over by the Rauschenbachs, an industrial family based in Schaffhausen. In 1884, production began for Pallweber pocket watches featuring hour and minute digital displays. It is said that in the first half of the 1890s, some 20,000 of such watches were made.

Le 150e anniversaire célébré à Singapour

Pallweber pocket watch, 1886 © IWC

In the 1930s, IWC produced two watches that are today icons of the brand – the Special Pilot’s Watch of 1936 – the Ref. 436 and the Portugieser following the request from two Portuguese watch dealers, Rodrigues and Texeira, for a steel case wristwatch with marine chronometer features. 

Albert Pellaton joined IWC in 1944 and he was the gentleman credited for developing the brand’s first in-house automatic movement featuring an efficient bi-directional pawl-winding system – the 85 Calibre launched in 1950. The first IWC Ingenieur, introduced in 1955, housed the 85 Calibre and had a soft-iron cage protecting the movement against magnetic fields.

Three milestone watches were achieved in the 1960s – the Aquatimer that was water-resistant to 200 metres (1967), the Yacht Club Automatic (1967) and the Da Vinci with the Beta 21 movement (1969).

Le 150e anniversaire célébré à Singapour

Aquatimer, 1967 © IWC

The IWC Perpetual Calendar is perhaps the must-have piece for every serious fan of the brand. The brand’s famed Perpetual Calendar with the calendar module debuted in a Da Vinci Reference IW3750 at the 1985 Basel watch fair. It was developed by IWC legend Kurt Klaus and everything was set and controlled by the crown.

In the 1980s, IWC launched its first titanium wristwatch known as Porsche Design Titanium Chronograph (1980) and the first watch in a black ceramic case (1986). 

Through this summarised IWC history, one can therefore understand why some of the brand’s most iconic watches mentioned, such as the Pilot’s watch Ref. 436 of 1936, the Yacht Club Automatic Ref. 811 of 1967 and the Lepine Pallweber III pocket watch with digital displays (1886) will be the main focus of this upcoming retrospective exhibition. 

Watch collectors and IWC fans will also have the opportunity to view the Jubilee collection comprising 28 references that was launched in early 2018 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie held in Geneva.

Watch out for the Tribute to Pallweber pocket watches and wristwatches, the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition “150 Years” set with diamonds and the Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “150 Years”

In addition to the 28 references of the Jubilee collection, there is a 29th reference which was only recently announced in April 2018 – the Portugieser Chronograph Edition “150 Years” IW371603 with a white hand-lacquered dial housed in an 18K red gold case. This Portugieser Chronograph will not be exhibited as it will only be showcased later in the year.


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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.

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