Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

IWC Schaffhausen

Swiss luxury watch manufacturer

Boston watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founded IWC (International Watch Company) in Schaffhausen, Switzerland in 1868. He combined American production technologies with renowned Swiss craftsmanship, starting in a modern factory with a hydropower plant driven by the Rhine to run the machines. In 1875, a new IWC factory was built at the Baumgarten, directly adjacent to the banks of the Rhine and it's still the company's headquarters today. The brand is well known for its luxury pilot/aviation watches, among many others, and has been a subsidiary of Richemont since 2000.

With over 150 years of history, IWC is among the foremost Swiss luxury watchmakers in the world. The brand’s current watch collection includes the Pilot’s Watches, Portugieser, Ingenieur, Aquatimer, Da Vinci and Portofino, all looking back on a long tradition and embracing IWC’s broad range of timepieces. Additional watch specialties, such as the Grande Complication and Vintage Collection, round out their portfolio. The company is also dedicated to responsible environmental and sourcing practices, achieving RJC Code of Practices certification in 2014. 100% of diamond and gold suppliers, and 75% of cases and bracelets suppliers are RJC-certified. In December 2018, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released an official report with environmental ratings for 15 major watch manufacturers and jewelers in Switzerland. IWC was ranked number one among the 15 manufacturers.

There are many well recognized lines in IWC’s collection, including the Portuguese since 1939 and Pilot’s Watch Mark series since 1948. The brand is also no stranger to grand complications, launching the Grande Complication in 1990 with a chronograph, perpetual calendar, minute repeater and moon phase. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” features a flying minute tourbillon, perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month and year in four digits, and perpetual moon phase. The complex 51950 Calibre in the latter piece and many others are designed and manufactured in-house, and more and more of the company’s watches are being equipped with in-house developed and manufactured movements.

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition 150 Years Pre-SIHH 2018

IWC’s philosophy is based on a passion for watchmaking, untiring enterprise and perfect craftsmanship. The company is the only major Swiss watchmaker based in eastern Switzerland, away from the French-speaking western region that’s known for watchmaking. Christoph Grainger-Herr became the latest CEO in 2017, replacing Georges Kern who was the youngest CEO within Richemont when he took the position at age 36 in 2002.

History of IWC Schaffhausen

Boston watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founds IWC in Schaffhausen, Switzerland
New IWC factory is built at the Baumgarten, directly adjacent to the banks of the Rhine and is still the company's headquarters today
Schaffhausen engine manufacturer Johannes Rauschenbach-Vogel acquires IWC
The company sells its first pocket watches with digital hours and minutes display (Pallweber system)
The company's first wristwatch, a ladies' piece with the small 64-calibre pocket watch movement, leaves the factory
Two new calibres designed specifically for wristwatches, the 75 (without seconds) and 76 (small seconds) are produced
The new tonneau-shaped 87 calibre is developed for rectangular wristwatches
IWC launches its first "Special Pilot's Watch" with rotating bezel to register take-off times and an antimagnetic escapement
The famous IWC Portuguese line is born - two importers from Portugal order large wristwatches with pocket watch calibres
The Pilot's Watch Mark 11 launches with the 89 calibre, with a soft-iron inner case providing a high level of protection from magnetic fields
The 85 calibre becomes IWC's first automatic movement and is a patented, proprietary development
Hans Ernst Homberger becomes IWC's last private owner
The 44 calibre becomes the brand's first automatic women's movement
The Aquatimer is IWC's first dive watch, water resistant to an unprecedented 20 bar
IWC launches the Da Vinci with the Beta 21 quartz movement (frequency 8192 hertz)
In cooperation with designer F.A. Porsche, IWC launches the first wristwatch with a built-in compass
IWC starts using zirconium oxide, a scratch-resistant and virtually unbreakable ceramic, as a case material
Seven years in the making, the Grande Complication launches with a chronograph, perpetual calendar, minute repeater and moon phase
IWC is acquired by Richemont
Georges Kern becomes the youngest CEO within Richemont when he heads IWC at age 36
On its 140th anniversary, IWC pays homage to the founders of its six watch families with an exclusive Vintage Collection
Christoph Grainger-Herr becomes the new CEO