The headquarters of IWC Schaffhausen today stand on a site that used to be the orchard belonging to the All Saints monastery in Schaffhausen. The premises were built between 1874 and 1875 in the garden, directly adjacent to the banks of the Rhine, based on plans by the architect G. Meyer. It was the new factory belonging to an American watchmaker by the name of Florentine Ariosto Jones whose pioneering spirit led him to found the first and only watchmaking company in north-eastern Switzerland. Behind the building’s impressive façade, IWC has been producing watches that have established themselves as classics worldwide for more than 140 years. And now, the company is opening its doors to the general public, who can see and admire the work of the engineers from Schaffhausen. Back in 1993, on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, IWC set up an exclusive museum in the attic of its headquarters – by this time a listed building – and became Switzerland’s first watch manufacturer with such a facility.
It creates surroundings that are at once modern yet timeless, luxurious yet functional
In 2007, IWC trumped its past achievements with a totally newly designed watch museum on the converted ground floor of the main building. In spaces once given over to the manufacture of cases and watch parts, light-flooded rooms and display cases set off the exhibits to their best advantage. Production has been relocated to more spacious premises directly next door, making room for many more exhibits and a multimedia presentation documenting the company’s history.
The new home of IWC watches represents the world of an international luxury brand: together with the objects on display, it creates surroundings that are at once modern yet timeless, luxurious yet functional, and with every convenience the visitor could possibly wish for.
Over 230 carefully selected items bear witness to a manufacturer that started making a name for itself with unusually reliable quality and unmistakable, universally appealing design from the very beginning.
The new museum catalogue presents a best of the watches exhibit in the IWC Museum.
For the first time, the Jones movements in their various qualities are clearly presented
The journey through the history of innovation at IWC starts here, with the legendary Jones calibres from the period of the company’s foundation. For the first time, the Jones movements in their various qualities are clearly presented. The post-Jones period, with the famous 52 calibre, for example, is also documented. To make more room for the development of the calibres, there has been a slight reduction in the number of pocket watches with digital displays. As a result, there will be fewer cases containing marksman’s and dress watches, and a shift in emphasis to the quality of IWC movements. Highlights of the wristwatch display are the Albert Pellaton anniversary watch, the so-called “club watches”, and new models in the Porsche Design family. The intention is to appeal to a younger and broader audience while accentuating IWC’s special strengths – in particular the company’s ingenuity when it comes to wristwatch technology and design. New catalogues and advertising artwork in the smaller intermediate cases and in the main cabinets supplement the watch display.
In the East Wing, the showcases for the individual watch families like the Portuguese or the Portofino collections are accompanied by additional exhibits. It would also be feasible for the museum to continue adding to its extensive collection by making targeted acquisitions and integrating the company’s own existing watch collections. In the East Wing, visitors to the Museum can trace the genealogy of the individual IWC watch families.
IWC also stages a variety of special exhibitions at the museum. The retrospective is fittingly complemented by original documentation from IWC’s own archives: watch catalogues from 1900, historic machining tools, spare parts and technical drawings, contracts and records.
Also on show are two of the 94 ledgers that provide complete information about every IWC watch made since 1885: its calibre, case material, date of delivery and name of the recipient. These details are indispensable for research, even today. In every section of the exhibition visitors can make use of interactive screens to obtain an in-depth understanding of the individual exhibits in eight different languages. The exhibits come complete with a detailed technical description and, at a second level, contain additional background information.
Visitors to the Museum can trace the genealogy of the individual IWC watch families
The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays:
We will gladly arrange guided tours through our museum for groups up to 14 persons during our opening times. Please contact us either by phone +41 52 635 65 65 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to make prior arrangements.
For children under 12, admission to the IWC Museum is free.
The museum is in the main building at IWC Schaffhausen at the edge of the old town in Schaffhausen and on the banks of the Rhine.
About ten minutes’ walk from Schaffhausen main station.
Take bus no. 5 (Buchthalen) to the “Rhybadi/IWC” stop.
From Zurich/Winterthur, leave the tunnel at the “Schaffhausen Süd, Zentrum, Kreuzlingen” exit and head for the centre (Zentrum). Coming from Stuttgart/Singen/Donaueschingen, leave the tunnel at the “Schaffhausen Süd, Rheinfall, Kreuzlingen” exit and head for the centre (Zentrum). Car parking in the old town.