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> IWC's Industry Role ...
IWC's Industry Role in the '90's ...
June 19, 2001
684 Discussions and Comments
Member since March 22, 2001
Hi IWC fans,
In searching my files I found a post contributed by our moderator nearly two years ago on another forum and one which I think deserves a top spot here among IWC enthusiasts.
So, I'm sure Michael won't mind my sharing his message on this board.
IWC's Industry Role in the '90s...
Posted By: Michael Friedberg Date: 10/7/99
As the decade comes to a close, I think it's interesting to reflect on what IWC has accomplished during the past 10 years.
Not all is perfect, certainly, and IWC's conservatism sometimes surprises me (I mean, why can't they make a Fliegerchrono in titanium?). And there's been a use of more ETA-based movements, which may be rational in terms of function and market price points, but some collectors wish for the return of in-house movements. Hopefully, the awaited Calibre 5000 will fill that niche, and launch a new decade of IWC watchmaking.
But, off the top of my head, I keep thinking of the number of market trends where IWC has been a leader during the past ten years. It's really a formidable record for a small company.
Here's a quick list, to my knowledge and subject to someone finding a few narrow exceptions--
1. First series production grand complication wristwatch (Grand Complication)
2. First series production grand complication wristwatch with tourbillon (Scafusia)
3. The watch that started the military watch trend --the Mark XII. Sure, there were many before, but virtually none were sold in the early 90s, and there must be 20 Mark XII style clones out there now.
4. The watch that started the over-sized watch with pocket watch movement trend -- the Jubilee Portugieser. Sure, there were watches like this before (the original Portugieser, the Portofino wristpocket, etc.) --but this watch must have spawned a good half dozen clones, as well as a new line for IWC and many other over-sized variations.
5. The first rattrapante (Doppelchronograph) that wasn't out -of-sight in price, by using a module on a base chronograph, even if it isn't and wasn't exactly inexpensive. But previously there were few in any rattranpantes that weren't ungodly expensive. There's now a whole culture of rattrapantes on the market.
5. An almost new approach to a GMT watch --the UTC-- at least enough to win a technical innovation award.
6. The first totally new wristwatch complication --the mechanical depth gauge in the Deep One.
There's others that are slightly older or may be slightly less innovative. Some of IWC's work in titanium (even improved since Porsche Design watches), the perpetual calendar plate from the mid-80s (and as used in the Ref. 2050 world's thinnest pereptual).
Clearly, I'm not saying that other companies haven't kept track or don't produce great watches, too. But if I think of the number of firsts and "market leader" designs, it's an enviable record for a small company.