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.