ENGINEERING TIME MACHINES SINCE 1868
As IWC Schaffhausen celebrates its 150th anniversary, discover how its launch
helped forge an exciting future for the Swiss watch industry
Among the grand masters of the Swiss watchmaking industry, IWC Schaffhausen is one of the most iconic. From its headquarters in northern Switzerland, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces since 1868 – a century and a half – and has elevated its status to that of global titan thanks to a world-renowned collection of men?s watches that pairs classic design with typically high-end Swiss craftsmanship.
It all began 150 years ago with American entrepreneur Mr Florentine Ariosto Jones, who emigrated to Switzerland from Boston in the 1860s and combined his transatlantic know-how with local manufacturing prowess to set up what was known as the International Watch Company. By applying his knowledge of industrial processes and modern technology – lacking at the time in Switzerland – his fledgling firm was able to start competing on a larger scale than had previously been possible.
IWC Schaffhausen continues to place technical ingenuity at the centre of everything it does, combining supreme precision with exclusive design
Various breakthroughs throughout IWC Schaffhausen’s history have elevated the firm to where it is now. One such moment was the creation of the Portugieser watch – now one of IWC Schaffhausen’s most celebrated designs – which came following an encounter with two Portuguese businessmen who proposed the idea of a large stainless-steel wristwatch housing a movement that matched the precision of marine chronographs. Succeeding in placing a pocket-watch mechanism inside a wristwatch case resulted in a design that has since become an archetype for the firm’s later creations. Similarly, the production of the Caliber 89 movement in the mid 20th century continued to power IWC Schaffhausen models until the early 1990s and was renowned for its accuracy and longevity.
The qualities that made IWC Schaffhausen’s early ventures so successful remain unchanged. Its timeless creations are the epitome of craft that defies trends: a mechanical product thriving in a digital age. IWC Schaffhausen continues to place technical ingenuity at the centre of everything it does, combining supreme precion with exclusive design. The firm remains defiantly high-end.
From the elegant to the sporty, each of IWC Schaffhausen’s six families of watches retains a distinct character. The sophisticated Portugieser and Portofino watches are the meeting point of classic and contemporary design; the Aquatimer and Ingenieur models come with considerable sporting heritage, not to mention a wealth of technical functions; while the artful Da Vinci and high-spec Pilot’s Watch complete a collection that continues to set the benchmark within Swiss haute horlogerie.