IWC AND SANTONI ACCESSORIES - A MANIFESTATION OF SYNERGIES
IWC formed a partnership with the Italian luxury shoe manufacturer Santoni back in 2011, thanks to the brand’s emphasis on manual skill, professional diligence, and a high appreciation of tradition and craftsmanship — key elements when it comes to making beautiful, hand-made creations. Both brands understand that in order to progress and innovate, you have to preserve your heritage. In a fast-paced world, both IWC and Santoni still take their time and exhibit the patience necessary to create with care and precision exquisite products and accessories of the highest quality.
Known mostly for their brown leather toe oxfords and boots in a classic Italian design, Santoni has grown into one of the world leaders not only in the manufacturing of men’s and women's shoes, but also in handling and processing quality leather items. For several years now, IWC has drawn from the Italian shoemaker’s expertise by equipping some of its most precious timepieces with exclusive alligator- and calf-leather straps made by Santoni. In the end, every single product featuring a strap, no matter what the colour, is a manifestation of synergies on the highest level. Below are seven little-known facts about Santoni and its partnership with IWC Schaffhausen.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CURRENT COLLECTION FEATURING SANTONI STRAPS
7 FACTS ABOUT “IWC X SANTONI”
Andrea Santoni, the founder of the company, grew up in a peasant family in the Italian municipality of Corridonia near the Adriatic coast. He started learning the art of shoemaking as a young boy in 1952 by working as a cutter in a factory where, for a whole year, he was only permitted to cut paper. Only after that he moved on to cutting cheaper quality leather, which was used for lining. He worked at the factory for the next ten years. Several years later, in 1975, Andrea Santoni established his own company, Santoni.
Santoni shoes are known for featuring specific artistic and design elements mostly made by hand. Signatures of the typical Santoni man’s shoe include:
- “Velatura”, a time-consuming painting technique, in which an antique finish is achieved by applying multiple coats of leather dye
- Orange leather accents featured on the soles of shoes and lining of the belts — and on the lining of all watch straps by Santoni made exclusively for IWC Schaffhausen
- Hand-made stitching and concealed seams, in which the needle penetrates only the bottom layer of leather in the upper. It takes four to five years of training to master the technique.
Depending on the model, there are up to 100 steps involved in the manufacture of a Santoni luxury shoe. It takes around five years for an apprentice to learn how to properly carry out a specific stage in shoe-making, such as, for example, the art of hand stitching. It may take even longer for someone working on a specific phase who aims to become a master shoemaker. An overall vision of the complete production cycle including the careful consideration of shapes, structures, processes, and techniques is one of many essential assets that aspiring Santoni-shoemakers have to acquire.
The partnership between IWC and Santoni was established in 2011, when IWC re-launched its timeless and elegant Portofino line, including the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days (Ref. 5101) featuring Santoni straps for the first time. To capture the dolce vita spirit of the new collection, IWC held a photo shoot in Portofino with star photographer Peter Lindbergh featuring friends of the brand Cate Blanchett, Elle MacPherson, Zinédine Zidane, and Ronan Keating, among others. References equipped with Santoni straps were limited to dark brown, brown and black leather at that time. However, IWC started offering a wider selection of strap colours for certain exclusive references with the launch of the latest Da Vinci collection in 2017, as well as with the introduction of the mid-size models of the Portofino collection in 2014, which was accompanied by another photo shoot with Lindbergh and IWC brand ambassadors Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Christoph Waltz, Ewan McGregor, Karolina Kurkova and Adriana Lima.
IWC currently comprises over 70 select luxury watches for ladies and men with Santoni straps offered in a selection of 15 exclusive colours, including lilac, orange, red, grey, bronze, olive, burgundy, blue or raspberry pink among others. All colours are carefully developed and selected by both brands’ design teams. During the colouring process, several layers are applied using a cloth and a brush in order to achieve the final nuance. Scroll down to see the full assortment of IWC men’s and women’s Santoni luxury strap watches as well as the colour palette.
All Santoni watch straps for IWC are made either of calf-leather from Italy, or of alligator leather from the United States. The leather used in Santoni shoes and accessories, on the other hand, is derived from various high-quality materials such as shell cordovan - an equine leather made from a muscle beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. A renowned tannery in Chicago processes the material using different tanning techniques.
Unlike many other luxury brands, Santoni does not outsource, following its founder's philosophy of "everything under one roof". Hence, Santoni men’s and women’s shoes are developed and manufactured entirely at the company’s headquarters in Corridonia. The head office is an eco-sustainable centre consisting of 90% of recyclable materials and earned the prestigious Italian award Sisterna d’autore METRA 2011 in the innovative technologies category.