THE JOURNAL

IWC Manufakturzentrum: Making room to grow

What do you do when you’ve outgrown not one, but two sites in 13 years? You keep growing. The new IWC Manufakturzentrum reflects our continued expansion while honoring 150 years of tradition.

 

“The dimensions of this building are enormous.” With a sweeping gesture, Christoph Grainger-Herr points from one end of the 130-meter-long hallway to the other. IWC’s CEO is standing with a group of guests at the “topping off” ceremony held last year in what soon will be the new IWC Manufakturzentrum.

 

“Some suggested integrating a sprint track for our employees in this hallway – but that option is still being evaluated,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye. Once construction is complete, the site will have space for around 400 skilled workers. 

 

It will also have space for IWC’s continued growth. After two expansions of the Schaffhausen headquarters, both in the last 13 years, the company was bursting at the seams. And the development of the company’s in-house movement expertise needed room to grow as well.

 

“Here under one roof we will fully centralize our key processes and manufacturing steps which in the past have been scattered across several locations,” says IWC Chief Operating Officer, Andreas Voll.

 

 IWC Manufakturzentrum under construction

The Manufakturzentrum by the numbers

The glass facade building is nestled in a rolling green field about 8 km north from IWC’s headquarters in Schaffhausen. It was designed to have open areas and bright, spacious rooms for easier collaboration.

 

According to Voll, “Twenty-five engineering firms, 70 construction companies, and 100 craftsmen have been involved in this project.” In addition, 8400 tons of concrete and 3300 square meters of glass were used to build 13,500 square meters of production area.

 

The building is the first free standing IWC structure built since the company was established. “The costs of the 1868 building were projected at 100,000 Swiss francs at the time, but climbed to the then astronomical sum of 250,000 Swiss francs.

 

“It’s good to see we have things under control this time,” Voll says with a smile.

At the new location, we’re combining centuries-old watchmaking expertise with cutting-edge production methods and innovative technologies

Blending the old and the new

The case and small parts production units settled into their new home in January this year, while the movement assembly department shifted production to the building in March, representative of the timely transition.

 

“At the new location, we’re combining centuries-old watchmaking expertise with cutting-edge production methods and innovative technologies,” says Grainger-Herr. “This way, we’re ensuring that our mechanical watches maintain a high quality in the long term and the products manufactured in Schaffhausen still have a competitive edge in the international market.”

 

The official opening ceremony is scheduled for August 2018. An open house for the general public will be held at a later date.

IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr (right)

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