However, in the mid-1970s, the high price of gold, a strong Swiss franc and the emergence of low-priced quartz watches put the Swiss watch industry under enormous pressure. In 1978, IWC was acquired by a German instrument manufacturer, VDO Adolf Schindling AG. The new owners brought Günter Blümlein on board, a qualified engineer who was also well versed in distribution and marketing. He recognised the potential of high-quality mechanical movements and encouraged head watchmaker Kurt Klaus to develop a mechanical perpetual calendar. In 1985, the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar premiered in Basel. The calendar module requires virtually no adjustment before 2499 and can be set and adjusted simply by turning the crown. In 1990, with the Grande Complication, IWC rises to the top of Haute Horlogerie. To celebrate IWC’s 125th anniversary in 1993 came “Il Destriero Scafusia”, at that time the most complicated watch in the world.
Under Blümlein, IWC not only returned to mechanical watchmaking but also established an expertise of materials that has remained unique to this day. In 1980 came the first titanium wristwatch, which was followed in 1986 by the first watch in a black zirconium oxide ceramic case. Collaboration with industrial designer Ferdinand A. Porsche likewise resulted in a series of special timepieces. The first wristwatch with an integrated compass and the Ocean 2000, water-resistant to 2,000 metres, is still remembered to this day.