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IWC

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.

  • IWC WorldTempus
About

IWC has a 145-year old history of watchmaking craftsmanship that began on the other side of the Atlantic with Florentine Ariosto Jones. At the age of 27, this young engineer and watchmaker was assistant director of E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. in Boston, one of the main watchmaking brands in the United States, when he decided to move to Switzerland. He was keen to combine outstanding Swiss craftsmanship with contemporary American technologies in order to produce better-quality watches for the American market. However, the craftsmen were sceptical about building a modern manufacture with centralised production. Finding it impossible to implement his project in French-speaking Switzerland, Jones sought another location in the diminutive nation, and finally set his sights on Schaffhausen, a booming economic centre at that time.

Schaffhausen was a town with a rich watchmaking history, and there Florentine Ariosto Jones met Heinrich Moser, a local industrialist. From this meeting the International Watch Company was born in 1868. In 1875 high investment costs in the property and plant led to disagreements between the shareholders and F. A. Jones. The latter left Switzerland to return to his home country, but IWC found a new investor in the person of Johannes Rauschenbach, another Schaffhausen industrialist. He bought out the company in 1880 and committed himself to maintaining the production of watches based on the same principles of industrial manufacture.

In 1936, IWC launched one of the first special watches for aviation. It had a revolving bezel with a marker hand to record take-off times, as well as an anti-magnetic movement.

Three years later, in 1939, two traders from Portugal came looking for a wristwatch with all the qualities of an onboard stopwatch (readability, accuracy) – and so the ‘Portuguese' was born.

At around the same time, another adventure began in the world of diving. In 1967 came the creation of the unprecedented Aquatimer, watertight to 200m. It became the must-have watch for professional divers.

The first Ingenieur, presented in 1955, was a complete revolution in more ways than one. The aim of the designers was to build a perfectly protected and extremely accurate watch – which could be rewound simply by the wearer moving their arm.

On the strength of these achievements, IWC has pursued its dynamic by developing a fascinating combination of meticulousness, functionality and design, expressing all its knowhow in each of its timepieces.

1841
Florentine Ariosto Jones born.
1868
International Watch Company founded.
1899
Creation of the first wristwatch manufactured by IWC.
1993
Production of Il Destriero Scafusia, a highly complicated mechanical watch featuring a tourbillon, split-second hand, minute repeater and perpetual calendar.
2000
IWC becomes a part of the Richemont Group.
Philosophy

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.

As one of the world leaders in the luxury watch segment, IWC makes Haute Horlogerie masterpieces that combine engineering and accuracy in an exclusive design.As part of its responsible and ecological code of conduct, IWC is committed worldwide to a large number of causes in favour of underprivileged children and environmental organisations.

At the same time, IWC regularly creates special editions that become ambassadors for these causes; part of the profits from these watches are passed on to help these.

Collections

Aquatimer

With the Aquatimer collection, IWC offers chronographs for underwater activities. Accuracy, reliability and refinement, along with the extensive technical progress displayed in the Aquatimer collection, bear witness to the Schaffhausen manufacture's desire to be at the cutting edge of mechanical watchmaking art.

Aviator watches

Designed to withstand the extreme conditions of aircraft cockpits, the aesthetic appearance of these timepieces embodies the spirit of aeronautics, with a luminous dial featuring large numbers and hands.

Da Vinci

This watchmaking icon amazes watch-lovers with its design and the many complications it features. These include a mechanical chronograph with flyback function and a perpetual calendar with large-figure digital display of the date – and month.

Ingenieur

The Ingenieur range embodies the technical profile of the IWC brand and characteristics such as sturdiness, sportiness and functionality.

Portofino

The key factors of the success for the Portofino are its timeless design, reliable mechanics, sober elegance and charming discretion.

Portugieser

As well as echoing the tradition of nautical instruments, this line features an attractive, contemporary design and cutting-edge mechanics.

Watches

IWC’s U.S. origins

Although IWC was born and bred in Switzerland, the house was in fact founded by an American, the watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones from Boston, Massachusetts. In 1868, he set up the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen, located on the Rhine – back then, a water supply was optimal for watchmaking – and legend has it that after Florentine Aristo Jones met the wealthy industrialist Johann Heinrich Moser, builder of the first hydroelectric plant in Schaffhausen, the groundwork for IWC Schaffhausen was laid.

Pilot watches

IWC and the pilot watch go hand in hand, thanks to the brand’s rich ties to aviation history. The company’s first pilot watch dates back to 1936, with its most legendary models the IWC Mark line that’s linked to the air forces and which will top any collector’s list at auction today. IWC pilot watch design nods to original aviation functions, such as cool, black dials set with contrasting luminescent displays that recall cockpit instruments. Add the triangular index at 12 o’clock, and you have an especially evocative look (even more so when fixed on those black dials; cue 1994’s Mark XII Pilot’s Watch with an automatic movement). Aviation tradition continues in the likes of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner chronograph with an automatic 89760 calibre that powers a chronograph, 24-hour display worldtimer function, date display and small hacking seconds, all set in a stainless steel case with a black luminescent dial matching a black leather strap. Or there is the understated IWC Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar, a more rugged item with a ceramic case that’s coupled with a magnetic resistant, soft-iron inner case. An integrated, resetting flyback function also instantly returns a running stopwatch hand to zero before counting resumes without a pause

IWC Portugieser

Whether topping your list is a pilot, navigator or diver’s watch (the latter’s offering being the IWC Aquatimer, which has a patented quick-change system for swapping a steel to rubber strap), legibility is key and which is best embodied in the IWC Portugieser collection. Among the most handsome designs are the Portugieser Annual Calendar pieces, a 7-day power reserve item with a stainless steel case and in either a silver or blue dial showcasing the month, date and day. On the reverse side is a view of the automatic, self-winding 52850 calibre, finished with Geneva stripes. Those who like to view the movement may also fancy the Chronograph Classic, notably the stainless steel item with a blue or silver dial that’s equipped with a flyback function.

IWC Da Vinci for women

Watch fans may take the view that IWC’s strong military ties equate to a house that’s more an old hand at men’s watches, but in 2017, the brand sought to win over women, notably reviving a 1980s classic, the Da Vinci, which saw IWC add eight new models. If your list includes ultra-feminine designs, the diamond-bezel Da Vinci Automatic 36 with a stainless steel case and lovely raspberry strap, fits the bill - as does the Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36, another stainless steel item here set on a chic blue alligator strap. Should innovation be on your list, that too was well served via the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph complete with the movement on view on the reverse side for admiring the 89630 calibre’s perpetual calendar and chronograph functions. Another mechanical wonder is the Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph – the first time all the complications have been merged onto one dial - again with the in-house manufactured 89900 calibre on view on the reverse.

Charles Darwin Foundation

For nearly a decade IWC has partnered with the Charles Darwin Foundation that works to protect the Galapagos Islands. The watchmaker has created a line of special edition Aquatimer chronographs, where a portion of sale proceeds from each item goes to support the foundation’s tireless research.