In 1868, the American watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones travelled from Boston to Switzerland and founded the ‘International Watch Company’ in Schaffhausen. His visionary dream was to combine advanced American manufacturing methods with the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers to make the best pocket watches of his time. In doing so, he not only laid the foundation for IWC’s unique engineering approach but also established the centralised production of mechanical watches in Switzerland.
Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust, and easy for customers to use. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specialises in highly engineered technical watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as titaniumaluminide and Ceratanium™. Preferring the principle of “form follows function” over decoration, the Swiss watch manufacturer’s timeless creations embody their owners’ dreams and ambitions as they journey through life.
IWC sources materials responsibly and takes action to minimise its impact on the environment, creating intrinsically sustainable timepieces that are built to last for generations. The company prides itself in training its own future watchmakers and engineers, as well as offering an excellent working environment for all employees. IWC also partners with organisations that work globally to support children and young people.
It is the latest chapter in a story that started 150 years ago. In August 2018, IWC officially opened the doors to the new Manufakturzentrum, a 13,500 square meter, state-of-the-art building constructed to house case and movement production as well as movement assembly, giving the company room to further expand in-house expertise and prepare for a future of technical innovation.
As a consequence, the brand is renewing its legendary promise of quality “Probus Scafusia” – the Latin motto, which translates as “Solid Craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”. The new ‘My IWC’ programme enables you to extend your International Limited Warranty from two to eight years. Register therefore your watch on myiwc.iwc.com.
IWC Schaffhausen Family
Portugieser collection 2020
In the late 1930s, two Portuguese businessmen ordered wristwatches with the precision of marine chronometers from the International Watch Co. The first “large wristwatch” with a pocket watch calibre was very much ahead of its time. In 1993, this model celebrated its comeback, and was now known as the Portugieser. The Portugieser line established the trend towards the larger wristwatches so popular in the watch industry today, and due to its complex watchmaking technology is an icon in the world of haute horlogerie. Watch connoisseurs appreciate the imposing size of these timepieces as well as the clearly organized dial with its characteristic railway-track-style chapter ring and Arabic numerals. The Portugieser line has always been defined by IWC-manufactured movements and sophisticated complications. The minute repeater, rattrapante or split-seconds hand and in-house movements with a 7- or 8-day power reserve certainly impressed upon their respective debuts. The most exclusive and complicated mechanical watch ever made by IWC is the Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia. This model marks the most outstanding moment so far in the history of the Portugieser family.
IWC unveiled the first Special Pilot’s Watch in 1936. The Big Pilot’s Watch followed 4 years later and was the ultimate deck watch. In 1948, the Schaffhausen watch manufacturer supplied the Mark 11 to British Royal Air Force, where it remained in service for almost 40 years. The cockpit-instrument look of these three iconic watches inspires the design of classic pilot’s watches to this day. The IWC Pilot’s Watch family is divided up into five distinct lines. The classic Pilot’s Watches are instantly recognizable thanks to their black-and-white dials and the triangular index at “12 o’clock”. The shimmering metallic dial on each Spitfire watch is reminiscent of the fuselage of their legendary namesake. Watches in the TOP GUN collection feature a classic dial and a black ceramic case with push-buttons and a crown made from titanium, while the TOP GUN Miramar line sports authentic military-style design cues. The “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” and “Le Petit Prince” special editions pay tribute to the life and work of the French author and pilot.
Launched in 2012, the TOP GUN collection with its black ceramic cases has established itself as an independent line in the IWC Pilot’s Watch family.
The Pilot’s Watch Spitfire collection has been paying tribute to the elegance and cutting-edge technology of the legendary fighter plane since 2003. It is now continuing its success story with an optimized design, new complications and in-house calibres.
In 1984, IWC unveiled the simple “pocket-watch-style wristwatch”, which was inspired by the Lépine pocket watch and went by the name “Portofino” and became one of the Schaffhausen-based manufacturer’s most successful models. The former fishing village of Portofino has for decades been the embodiment of the relaxed lifestyle in southern Europe and the carefree Mediterranean mentality. The classically elegant Portofino is a perfect reflection of this way of life. The watch family famed for its refined simplicity now includes sophisticated timepieces with ingeniously designed complications and in-house movements and features models with an 8-day power reserve, large date display or monopusher. With their classic dials, Roman numerals and feuille hands, Portofino watches are an expression of understatement and good taste. The 37-millimetre watches make the Portofino line from IWC Schaffhausen equally attractive to women and men who prefer a slightly smaller and more luxurious timepiece. Diamond¬set models combine understated design with a touch of luxury.
In 1969, IWC unveiled the Da Vinci – the first wristwatch with a quartz movement that IWC played a role in the development of. The hexagonal gold case and long indices gave the watch a technical yet elegant look. In 1985, IWC scaled the peak of haute horlogerie with the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar, developed by then chief designer Kurt Klaus. The perpetual calendar requires almost no manual corrections until the year 2499 and can be set using just the crown. The Schaffhausen watchmakers provided further watchmaking highlights with the first in-house chronograph movement developed in Schaffhausen and a perpetual calendar with large date and month displays. The designers have returned to a round shape for the current collection. The double-framed bezel with its visible seam between the two frames and the articulated strap horns with curved lugs recall the iconic design code of the 1985 models. A smaller case diameter, precious stones and close-fitting straps and bracelets also make this watch family attractive to women
Revisiting old icons and presenting the new: The IWC jubilee collection unifies through a timeless design code to form a single striking collection of timepieces.
For almost 50 years, the Da Vinci collection has united the inventiveness and hunger for development of IWC’s engineers with a classic aesthetic. In the anniversary year, the family welcomes five new members.
In 1967, the growing popularity of scuba diving prompted the company to introduce the first Aquatimer. It was pressure-resistant to 20 bar and equipped with an internal rotating bezel that displayed dive time. In 1982 came the first diver’s watch that was pressure-resistant to 200 bar, the Ocean 2000, which caused quite a stir. The technical ingenuity of IWC’s engineers inspired them to develop the GST Deep One, which featured a mechanical depth gauge, in 1999. In 2009, IWC brought a completely revised Aquatimer collection with watches sporting a chunky external rotating bezel onto the market. Watches in the current collection are equipped with the innovative external/internal rotating bezel, making them even more functional. This mechanism combines the advantages of an internal rotating bezel with the ease of use of an external rotating bezel that, thanks to the SafeDive system, can be moved easily by a diver wearing gloves or with cold fingers. With even more in-house calibres as well as the digital perpetual calendar, mechanical depth gauge and sensational pressure-resistance to 200 bar, the watch family has also advanced to the highest stages of development in haute horlogerie.
The first Ingenieur model wowed watch connoisseurs with its bidirectional Pellaton winding system, which was much more efficient than conventional movements. It also featured protection against magnetic fields, which remains a key feature of Ingenieur models to this day. In the early 1970s, Gérald Genta designed the legendary Ingenieur SL, adopting a distinctly modernist, technical approach. The Ingenieur collection, which was completely redesigned in 2013, is inspired by the world of FORMULA ONE. The materials used – titanium aluminide, carbon, ceramic and titanium – are frequently found in this motor sport. Technical highlights in this watch family include the patented constant-force tourbillon, the quick-action switch and large double-digit displays for both the date and month. The new Ingenieur models from 2017 once again clearly draw on the design code of the 1950s and 1960s, as evinced by the simple round case and a dial featuring striking hands and indices with luminescent elements.