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The History

IWC Schaffhausen founder Mr Florentine Ariosto Jones was an American who set up his own high-tech factory in German-speaking Schaffhausen in 1868. From the outset, Mr Jones’ International Watch Company harnessed the skills of Swiss workers, the efficiency of US-made machinery and the hydropower of the Rhine. It was a key producer of military watches in WW2, and in the modern era has built on this heritage, combined with the high-end expertise that was revived in the 1980s.

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A River Runs Through It

An early investor in sustainable energy, or what passed for it back then, IWC founder Mr Florentine Ariosto Jones deliberately perched his first IWC factory on the banks of the Rhine. Giant paddles fed hydropower into permanently spinning shafts that ran the length of each workshop’s ceiling. The watchmakers’ lathes and mills all fed off them via belts.

INNOVATIONS

The Digital Display

The exotic Pallweber digital display was first introduced into a range of pocket watches in 1875 by an Austrian watchmaker, Mr Josef Pallweber. IWC bought the rights in 1883, sat on them and perfected the system via a new independent powertrain, just in time for its 150th anniversary in 2018.

The Pawl Winder

The mainsprings of IWC’s automatic watches (and several others since the patent ran out) are still wound up via a clever pawl winding mechanism dreamt up by technical director Mr Albert Pellaton in the 1950s. It’s the closest you’ll get to wearing a perpetual-motion machine.

The Perpetual Calendar

Watchmaking legend Mr Kurt Klaus spent over five decades working with IWC and was responsible for inventing several horological launches during quartz’s war on Switzerland. His most famous is the perpetual calendar module of 1985 – the first to boast a four-digit year display.

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