IWC Schaffhausen tells the story of the Pilot’s Watches

Date — 18 January, 2012

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Geneva, 17 January 2012 – As part of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IWC Schaffhausen invited around 1,000 guests and journalists from all over the world to the launch of its new Pilot’s Watch collection in Geneva.

Under the motto “TOP GUN”, and in the presence of celebrities like Cate Blanchett, Jean Reno, Ewan McGregor, Ronan Keating, sporting legends Boris Becker, Luís Figo and Zinédine Zidane as well as top model Adriana Lima, guests enjoyed an unforgettable gala evening rounded off with a performance from the legendary Bryan Ferry.

“Our aim this evening was to create an emotional experience for our guests, based on the story of our Pilot’s Watches: a story that started in 1936 with the Special Pilot’s Watch and has been part of IWC Schaffhausen’s DNA ever since,” said IWC CEO Georges Kern, who was the host for the evening. Around 100 international journalists were present as IWC’s prominent friends and guests arrived on the red carpet: Hollywood celebrities like Cate Blanchett, Jean Reno, Ewan McGregor and film director Marc Forster as well as sporting legends Boris Becker, Luís Figo and Zinédine Zidane honoured the Schaffhausen-based manufacturer with their presence at the “TOP GUN” gala event. Singer Ronan Keating, top model Adriana Lima and gallery owner Tim Jefferies also took this unique opportunity to plunge into the world of the Pilot’s Watches.

A unique atmosphere
Palexpo Hall 1 in Geneva’s exhibition complex was virtually unrecognizable. Around 1,000 guests from all over the world gathered aboard the replica aircraft carrier IWC 12. The reason for the spectacular backdrop was the newly launched Pilot’s Watches from IWC, primarily the TOP GUN and TOP GUN Miramar formations, which are dedicated to the legendary elite flying school. It was precisely this theme that set the tone for the entire gala evening. Check-in was handled by ground crew in white dress uniforms, while other personnel, sporting authentic flight-deck gear, coordinated the evening. Actress Rosamund Pike and singer Aloe Blacc mingled with astonishing interior design. The new Pilot’s Watches from IWC were displayed in a walk-in control tower, which provided them with a perfect setting and an ideal exhibition space.

A superlative exhibition, even for VIPs
IWC’s exhibition stand at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is another outstanding achievement: a highly detailed aircraft carrier, which spans 900 m2 and features a command centre structure, flight deck, steam catapult, hangar, flight control and pilot’s locker room. In a relatively small space, IWC succeeds in creating an uncannily authentic atmosphere using specially selected details and decorative elements for the launch of the new IWC Pilot’s Watches. Taking centre stage is a full-scale cockpit section of a modern naval jet, which contains a flight simulator waiting to treat interested visitors to an airborne experience of a very special kind. Naturally, Friends of the Brand like Jean Reno, Ronan Keating, Marc Forster and Arsène Wenger as well as other celebrities were happy to let IWC CEO Georges Kern show them around the fabulous exhibition stand before going off to enjoy the gala evening.

Highlights of the evening
Throughout the entire “TOP GUN” gala evening the spotlight remained firmly on the world of flying. The first course of dinner, for example, was served on trays from high-rise trolleys, just as it would be aboard an aircraft carrier canteen. The Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps put on yet another of their breathtaking performances. The Corps, which is widely regarded as one of the most innovative drumming troupes in the world, appeared in uniforms specially made for the event, and the phenomenal choreography left their audience in raptures. To mark the central event of the evening – the launch of the new Pilot’s Watch family – IWC presented a gripping product film dedicated to the engineering as well as to the craftsmanship and precision that go into the new TOP GUN watches. The short film cleverly interweaves animations from the Pilot’s Watch fleet with training sequences from the legendary Top Gun elite flying school, which has served as the inspiration for the subline in the Pilot’s Watch family since 2006. After all, the pilots who get the chance to hone their flying skills here really are the very best of breed. Together with the quest for perfection, the passion for technology and functionality, this impressive, dynamic footage reflects the history of the Pilot’s Watches and IWC’s unwavering commitment to it. The Schaffhausen-based company’s tradition in the production of professional Pilot’s Watches goes all the way back to the 1930s and has seen the creation of timeless icons such as the Big Pilot’s Watch or the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph. In their new TOP GUN design, they were the stars of the gala event. To round off this spectacular evening, IWC CEO Georges Kern handed over the stage to British pop singer Bryan Ferry. The co-founder and frontman of Roxy Music has helped to write musical history and was last year presented with the title Commander of the British Empire, by Queen Elizabeth II. For decades, Ferry has bowled over audiences as a solo artist with his massive stage presence. And at the IWC gala evening, he showed that he has lost none of the old magic. Towards midnight, DJ Jack E from Saint-Tropez took charge of the music.

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