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IWC Watches&Wonders
Watches&Wonders 2014

Order your invitation to the first unique Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition, Watches&Wonders 2014.

GIVING A FUTURE TO THE GALAPAGOS

“September 17, 1835. As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least 200 pounds. One was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly stalked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head."

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DISCOVER THE NEW AQUATIMER COLLECTION

Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, explains the design of the new Aquatimer watches.

SIHH 2014 Booth
BEHIND THE SCENES AT IWC'S SIHH 2014 BOOTH

Take the wave to Geneva. For the 24th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IWC invites visitors to take a plunge into deep water and discover the fascinating species that define the new Aquatimer collection.

Watches and Wonders
WATCHES&WONDERS

IWC Schaffhausen cordially invites you and guest to WATCHES&WONDERS, the first Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 25th-28th, 2013. To mark this event, IWC Schaffhausen will offer a chance to win an exclusive trip for two people to visit IWC’s manufacture in Schaffhausen, the home of IWC and will be whisked away to Portofino in Italy, where they will experience the inspiration behind one of IWC’s most famous collections.

NYC Skyline
IWC Schaffhausen Makes a Home on Madison Avenue

An epicenter of business and culture, New York City is one of the world’s most iconic cities. Both locals and tourists take advantage of the arts and theatres, renowned chefs and restaurants, and the constant flux of activity that makes the city one of a kind. So it makes sense that it is also home to IWC Schaffhausen’s North American flagship boutique, opened in April 2012 on the famous luxury shopping destination of Madison Avenue.

Beverly Hills
Schaffhausen and the World's Most Famous Zip Code 90210

As the first IWC boutique to open its doors in the United States, IWC Schaffhausen has been serving American watch aficionados since 2008.

Ingenieur 2013 Collection
Discover the new Ingenieur Collection

Learn more about the new Ingenieur timepieces from IWC Creative Director, Christian Knoop.

Experiences

Watch Wizard

Inside IWC

Text — Medard Meier Photos — David Willen Date — 1 July, 2009

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—Watchmaker Peter von Gunten has played a major role in the rapid expansion of IWC's service department in recent years

A specialist like von Gunten never ceases to be amazed by the complexities of mechanical timepieces

Who are Switzerland’s best watchmakers: the French-speakers or those from the German-speaking part of the country? In Peter von Gunten’s case, the question is hardly relevant. Raised bilingually in the watchmaking city of Biel/Bienne, he is equally at home in both regions. The French side of his nature is perhaps not quite as picky as the German, while the German side may occasionally make him a tad more meticulous.

Be that as it may, he sees no influence of either culture on the art of watchmaking, which he, like many others in his family, learned here on the country’s language divide. No matter where you’re from, success as a watchmaker calls for solid training, nimble fingers and an ability to learn quickly. Plus a well-balanced disposition. Without it, you would be out of place in a watchmaking workshop. As would anyone who is unable to sit still for more than two minutes. Still, Peter von Gunten believes it is attitude rather than genetic predisposition that enables a watchmaker to find the equanimity needed for his job.

Peter von Gunten has played a major role in the rapid expansion of IWC’s service department in recent years. To a certain extent, the company’s enormous success is underpinned by the section’s 50 or so employees. For they service and maintain more than 16,000 watches each year, sent to Schaffhausen by owners from all over the world.

Properly maintained, a mechanical watch will go on running forever. However, it is vital that the abrasion inevitable in any mechanical movement be removed every five years, otherwise the watch’s accuracy will suffer. Lubricants, particularly those found in older watches, can turn resinous. Seals, which help to keep watches water-resistant, become brittle with time and need replacing. Overhauling a movement takes about five to six hours, but if the watch has complications this can easily extend to more than a whole working day. In the case of the celebrated Grande Complication with its perpetual calendar, minute repeater, chronograph and other features, it may take as much as 16 hours of painstaking manual labour to dismantle and reassemble the hundreds of individual parts with the same absolute precision that went into the original watch.

A specialist like von Gunten never ceases to be amazed by the complexities of mechanical timepieces. “The 28,800 beats per hour completed by the balance in some movements is a phenomenal achievement,” he explains. He experienced the watch crisis of the 1970s, when quartz movements threatened to oust mechanical ones. “But I never completely wrote off those little works of art,” he says, recalling possibly the most tumultuous period in the history of Swiss watchmaking. Nevertheless, he was forced by circumstances to give up his profession for a time, until IWC asked him to come back. He has never regretted it, although the demands have increased massively in the meantime. And they continue to rise. “For us, quality and customer satisfaction are a constant challenge,” says Peter von Gunten. Despite feeling so much at home in Schaffhausen, he still enjoys the occasional change of scene. So, two or three times a year, he leaves Swiss-German culture behind him and heads first for the south of France, and from there to Piedmont, where he enjoys walking and revisiting the vineyards for which he has developed an affection over the years.

Service and Support

Devoted exclusively to the care and repair of IWC timepieces
Explore More Articles
IWC Watches&Wonders
Watches&Wonders 2014

Order your invitation to the first unique Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition, Watches&Wonders 2014.

GIVING A FUTURE TO THE GALAPAGOS

“September 17, 1835. As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least 200 pounds. One was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly stalked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head."

Aquatimer
DISCOVER THE NEW AQUATIMER COLLECTION

Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, explains the design of the new Aquatimer watches.

SIHH 2014 Booth
BEHIND THE SCENES AT IWC'S SIHH 2014 BOOTH

Take the wave to Geneva. For the 24th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IWC invites visitors to take a plunge into deep water and discover the fascinating species that define the new Aquatimer collection.

Watches and Wonders
WATCHES&WONDERS

IWC Schaffhausen cordially invites you and guest to WATCHES&WONDERS, the first Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 25th-28th, 2013. To mark this event, IWC Schaffhausen will offer a chance to win an exclusive trip for two people to visit IWC’s manufacture in Schaffhausen, the home of IWC and will be whisked away to Portofino in Italy, where they will experience the inspiration behind one of IWC’s most famous collections.

NYC Skyline
IWC Schaffhausen Makes a Home on Madison Avenue

An epicenter of business and culture, New York City is one of the world’s most iconic cities. Both locals and tourists take advantage of the arts and theatres, renowned chefs and restaurants, and the constant flux of activity that makes the city one of a kind. So it makes sense that it is also home to IWC Schaffhausen’s North American flagship boutique, opened in April 2012 on the famous luxury shopping destination of Madison Avenue.

Beverly Hills
Schaffhausen and the World's Most Famous Zip Code 90210

As the first IWC boutique to open its doors in the United States, IWC Schaffhausen has been serving American watch aficionados since 2008.

Ingenieur 2013 Collection
Discover the new Ingenieur Collection

Learn more about the new Ingenieur timepieces from IWC Creative Director, Christian Knoop.