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IWC: Anatomy of a Watch Brand

By Adrian Prisca


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iwc watches

From where it started

IWC – International Watch Company – is situated in Schaffhausen in the far upper east of Switzerland, parted from Germany by the huge Rhine and near the Rhine Falls, Europe’s biggest waterfall. The company was founded in 1868 by the 27-year-old American businessperson named Florentine Ariosto Jones. Since then, the firm has been an attachment of the chocolate-box primitive town. Jones chose Boston to hone his horological expertise; however, he decided to go into business in Switzerland where the wages were lower and skill base was high.

In the wake of getting the brush off from workers in the country’s west, who were dreadful of his ideas for large-scale manufacturing, Jones met Schaffhausen industrialist Heinrich Moser, who leased him his plant premises next to his lately opened Rhine hydro plant. However, Jones’ fantasy was not to live long – IWC became bankrupt in 1875 and was taken control by the Schaffhausen Handelsbank the next year.

Association with famous friends

iwc friends

Barely any brands as are celebrity responsive as IWC. Kevin Spacey is an old friend of the IWC watches. He even produced a play, Leo and Lisa, to celebrate the iconic line, Da Vinci. Ewan McGregor is a frequent guest to IWC’s stand at the SIHH watch fair, while Cate Blanchett and Boris Becker are regularly seen displaying their IWCs around Geneva.

Portofino, a short film for the marque by Peter Lindbergh, is an all-star affair, including appearances by Matthew Fix, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tim Jefferies, Eric Dane, and Marc Forster.

The science bit

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage

IWC has been acclaimed since long for its engineering magnificence, together with the jagged pilot watches it started delivering during the 1930s. Few of these include the astute pawl winding, a bi-directional automatic movement developed by Albert Pellaton in the later 1940s; and the ultra-anti-magnetic Ingenieur watch invented for scientists and lab technicians in 1950s. The first model was contained inside a delicate iron inner case, fit for protecting its mechanism from a magnetic force of up to 1,000 Gauss.

At that time, in 1993, the amazing II Destriero Scafusia was introduced. This watch was the most complex wristwatch for it contained 750 individual parts and presented 21 functions.

In 2007, IWC set up a best in class, carbon-neutral production and today, backs prominent conservation ventures including ones being run by the Cousteau Society and Charles Darwin Foundation.

The business

iwc boutique

The company has gone through the hands of different businesspersons. Günter Blümlein, who is known to be the transformer of the watch industry, rejuvenated IWC amid the 1990s. He was the visionary person behind regenerating some of today’s best-cherished watch brands including Jaeger-LeCoultre.

It has been under the ownership of the luxury giant good Richemont since 2000. This implies that it considers Piaget and Cartier as its stablemates, and has developed from being a niche brand preferred by staunch horophiles into one with some 1,000 points of sale all over the world.

The brand currently has 70 independent boutiques in regions around the world including Hong Kong, Beijing, and New York. Just as being established in Germany and the United States, IWC has recently put its footsteps in Asia as well.

The style

iwc style

With one of its slogans being “engineered for men”, IWC’s intended audience group is left in no reservation. Its particular strategy is to offer an all-inclusive but firmly curated choice for the ideal watch closet. In that you will get a dress watch (Portofino), a diving watch (Aquatimer), a flight watch (Big Pilot’s Watch and smaller models, for example, the MK XV), a tool watch (Ingenieur), and obviously, an everyday classic (Portuguese).

In pretty much every case, the watch comes out to be a combination of genuine functionality with appealing adaptability. If a thing like a formal sports watch would exist, then IWC is definitely the brand that accounts for it.

The must-have model

IWC Portuguese

People say that the old is gold. This holds true in the case of watches as well. It is unquestionably valid because of IWC’s Portuguese line, which looks back to a variant made in 1939 with regards to a few Portuguese watch exporters. They believed that there would be an interest for a large wristwatch with the precision of a marine chronometer. IWC incorporated a highly exact pocket-watch movement in a plain 41.5mm case with the choice of silvered or simple black dials.

This line was manufactured in small numbers until 1958 after which it was revived for IWC’s 125th anniversary in 1993. Watch enthusiasts view it as the ideal IWC; its various versions are available. Out of them, the most desirable is the Portuguese Chronograph 3714 that has a fresh, vertical sub-dial design – a model piece that leaves no room for further improvement. Go for the white dial with gold hour markers and blue steel seconds hands at £5,900, it is a starter to the superb collection.

An affordable IWC luxury watch: the IWC Mark XVII


IWC is one of the major luxury brands and is largely acknowledged for their flawless structures and the high mechanical standards of their in-house movements. This affordable IWC model makes a great luxury watch and a great addition to your collection. This model is a proud portrayal of what the brand conveys.

It comes from the famous IWC pilot watches. It links its association with the IWC Mark timepieces dating back to 1936. Like all other Mark variants, the Mark XVII displays the same symbolic layout: prominent figures and prominent luminous hands. The XVIII has a 40-mm case size and is powered by the automatic IWC caliber 35111 with a 42-hour power reserve.

The new Mark XVII comes in a range of color configurations. Its classic version has a black dial and strap with contrasting white hour and minute markers. There is also the version that has a white dial on either a black leather or beige textile strap. This watch is accounted for 5,300 USD – a little sum to pay for an incredible piece of watchmaking history.

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About Adrian Prisca

Founder of Luxatic and countless other projects, Adrian has shaped this website into a go-to source for discerning readers looking for the latest in luxury products and experiences. He has over 15 years of experience in creating, managing and publishing lifestyle content across numerous platforms and he’s considered a leading voice in the luxury industry.

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