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IWC Schaffhausen


This is their IWC Story. What’s yours?

2018 is the 150-year jubilee of IWC Schaffhausen. What a better moment to ask our clientele for their personal IWC stories?

From cherished family heirlooms to wedding watches, these proud IWC owners captured by Dutch TV-presenter, photographer and IWC ambassador Humberto Tan share their passion and fascination for our unique brand.



“It’s all about passion” 

“I am a real IWC fan. I bought my very first IWC – a Portugieser – to celebrate I signed a new contract with my broadcast company. I fell in love with both IWC and my watch. That’s why I feel very honoured to be an IWC-ambassador for more than 12 years now. I love mechanical watches because of their complexity and precision. The design is never too loud, too flashy or too in-your-face. I often hold my ear close to my watch to listen to the soothing ticking of the mechanical movement on the inside. And I really like to feel the smoothness of the quality Italian-leather strap on my skin. There’s this one IWC commercial, starring John Malkovich, that I’ll never forget. A customer visiting his jewellery store points to a Big Pilot’s Watch and says: ‘Yes, that’s the one I want.’ John Malkovich haughtily replies: ‘Of course you want it. But do you deserve it?’ In a way, an IWC watch is a statement. When you feel you’ve accomplished certain things in life and want to celebrate your successes, it’s a reward you give yourself for all of the hard work and effort you put in. You do it for you.

A luxury watch is something to celebrate your success in life with. A reward you give yourself for all your hard work and effort.

“As an ambassador, I’ve seen and learned over the years how IWC watches are made with so much passion. It’s great to see how the company’s clientele is so very passionate too. To celebrate their 150-year anniversary, IWC asked me to photograph their customers. So I got to do the two things I love most: photographing people and talking about watches. Days like this, when we get to meet, connect and share our personal experiences, are moments in time with a silver lining to me. Ultimately that’s what it’s all about.” 


JAAP (42) 

“I love my wedding watch” 

“I asked Janneke to marry me during a trip to Marrakech. I surprised her with the ring I knew she would love as an engagement ring. She said yes and made me the happiest man on Earth! Back home, we went to the jewellers to pick out our wedding rings. She knew straight away what she wanted, but I wasn’t so sure. To be honest, I wanted a nice watch with her name and our wedding date engraved on it instead of a ring. I had told Janneke that I was not really a traditional wedding ring kind of guy. I could not decide which ring to choose. We made an appointment to come back later. 



“Of course, my fiancée saw right through me. She felt my hesitance and knew what I really wanted. Women can always sense these things, can’t they? She did not say a word. When we went back to the jewellers a couple of weeks later, there was this watch waiting for me. It was an IWC Fliegeruhr. ‘What’s this honey?’ I asked. ‘It’s your wedding ring,’ she replied, smiling and her eyes twinkling. I was over the moon. I had her name and our wedding date engraved on it. We got married on my birthday – that way I would never forget our wedding anniversary. Yes, I have a very smart wife. I wear my wedding watch every day, and I’m very proud of it. One day, our son, who’s five years old now, will inherit it. He will have his father’s watch with his mother’s name and their wedding date engraved on it. I really love the thought of that.” 

‘What’s this honey?’ I asked. ‘It’s your wedding ring,’ she replied, smiling and her eyes twinkling.



“I saw Hamilton wear these gloves on TV!”

“I’m a big Formula 1 Racing fan. Lewis Hamilton is my absolute favourite racing driver. When I was watching him race on TV with my dad, I noticed his white racing gloves. One had a watch printed on it. I told my dad I really liked Hamilton’s gloves, especially the watch on them. ‘You do, son?’ my dad asked, grinning. And then he went upstairs. When he came down, he had the exact same watch as the one printed on Hamilton’s glove, The Big Pilot’s Watch, on his wrist! ‘How come I never noticed you have that watch dad?!’ I exclaimed. My dad laughed. He promised to take me to the IWC boutique to check out their other watches. So, on a Saturday we went to the boutique, and I loved looking at all those beautiful and amazing watches. I hope to be able to buy one when I grow up. 

I think these gloves are the actual gloves Lewis Hamilton wore at the Formula 1 Race

When my dad told the man at the boutique that I was crazy about watches and especially the one Hamilton has, he said, ‘Come with me, I have something to show you’. He had the white racing gloves Hamilton was wearing at the Formula 1 race, just like I saw on TV! ‘Would you like to have them and take them home?’ he asked me. I was flabbergasted. And of course, I said yes straightaway! That day really was my lucky day. Sometimes I put them on when I watch the Formula 1 Race on TV.”  


JAN (81)

“It’s a cherished family heirloom”

“This golden pocket watch used to belong to my grandfather, who was born in the 1880s. He worked as a travelling salesman. He must have seen a lot of the world and visited many places in his day. Together with my grandmother and their eight children, they lived in a very nice house – they were op stand as we say in Dutch [‘Well-to-do’: Ed.]. He was a man who appreciated real quality; that’s why he bought this watch. From what I’ve heard, he initially bought himself a silver pocket watch, which he later traded in for a more expensive gold one. My grandfather died in 1919 at a very young age. He was in his early thirties when he passed away. 

“My dad, his eldest son, was only nine years old at the time. When he got married to my mother, my grandmother gave him his father’s golden pocket watch as a wedding gift. My dad was a carpenter his whole life. He hardly ever wore a watch. I only saw him wear his father’s watch in a waistcoat pocket on a few, rare, occasions. Most of the time he kept it safe in a closet. He was very careful with his father’s watch. 


Being the eldest son, I always knew I would inherit it one day, just like my eldest son will eventually.  I’ve kept it safely stored in a closet too for many years, just like my dad. The other day I took it out, to see if it still worked. I think the clockwork must have stood still for more than 50 years. But then the mechanics started moving and the watch was ticking again. I suddenly felt very emotional. I was holding over 100 years of family history in my hands, and I felt a really strong connection to the past.”  

My grandfather’s golden pocket watch symbolizes over 100 years of family history


BAS (54)

“My hobby got a little out of hand” 

“I used to be in the military. After graduating from the Dutch Royal Military Academy, I was assigned as a young lieutenant to the Dutch elite special forces (Commandos/Green Berets). I was trained to – among other military skills – hike, climb, dive, skydive and survive, both in the Netherlands and abroad. I liked how, in those military trainings, I was always challenged to overcome my limits both mentally and physically. It gave me a real thrill. I guess you could say I’m an adventurer at heart.


“I retired as a captain after 17 years of service, and consequently left the military. My life is much more homely and less high-risk these days, but I still long for adventure. That's why I ride my motorcycle on circuits for fun, and every year on holiday, I go diving. I’ve dived in Zanzibar, Cape Verde and multiple times in the Caribbean. Every three years, my former army comrades and I organise an expedition – military style. It’s just something we love to do for fun and old-times’ sake. So far, we’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Everest in the Himalayas in Nepal, and Mount Elbrus in Chechnya, Russia. 

I’ve worn my Aquatimers both at 140-feet deep and over 18,000-feet high

Every holiday or expedition I’m on, I bring an IWC watch. Or I buy one, as a tangible memory of that specific trip. I’ve worn my Aquatimers both at 140-feet deep and over 18,000-feet high, isn’t that amazing? Yes, plural – I’m a passionate IWC collector and over time I have collected several of them. It’s a hobby of mine that got a little out of hand, really. Don’t get me started on chronograph or flyback functions, power reserves, perpetual calendars and other specifics, because I won’t stop talking and will make your head spin [Laughs]. 


“In 2019, I’ll be walking the Inca trail and climbing Machu Picchu with my former army comrades. I think the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘La Cumbre Volcano’ will make a great companion for this expedition.”




“We love surprises”

Michiel: “Marieke and I share our life and our business. We’re together almost 24/7. In 2009, the company we were building together started to flourish. That’s when she surprised me with my very first IWC watch: the Portugieser.”

Marieke: “I felt I wanted to give Michiel a token of my appreciation for all the hard work he had put in. I knew he would appreciate a nice watch. Getting him one was my way of celebrating our success and what we had been able to accomplish together.” 

Michiel: “I felt very proud and was delighted with the watch Marieke gave me. It was the sweetest gift ever.”

Marieke: “Michiel turned 50 a few years later, which was the perfect occasion for another special watch. So, we went to the jewellers. I could tell he really liked the IWC Spitfire Chronograph. But he was a little hesitant, because the specific model and type he wanted was quite expensive. I decided to surprise him again. You should have seen the look on his face when he opened his birthday present. It was priceless!”

Michiel: “Last spring, we had our 12.5-year wedding anniversary. Now it was my turn to surprise Marieke and buy her a beautiful watch. I took painstaking precautions to not spoil the surprise: after surfing the IWC website to find the perfect watch for her, I made sure I deleted my browser history. And I made up stories about my whereabouts when in reality I was visiting the jeweller.”


Marieke: “I never saw it coming. We had nothing special planned for our anniversary. Then suddenly, there was this enormous giftbox on the dining table. I knew straight away there had to be something very special in it. It was an IWC Portofino.”


Michiel: “You should have seen the look on her face. It made me so happy. Today, I not only have two IWC watches, I also have a wife who wears an IWC. What more could a man wish for?” 

You should have seen the look on his face when he opened his birthday present



“I knew I wanted that watch”

“My husband Rob has been a huge IWC fan for as long as I’ve known him. When we got married ten years ago, he did not want a wedding ring – he wanted a watch instead. It came as no surprise to me, Rob has always been unconventional and strong-minded. It’s what I love about him. Over the years, he kept sharing his passion for mechanical watches with me, and I gradually came to understand and appreciate what makes these watches so special and unique.

“One day, when I was accompanying Rob to our jeweller to pick up his new watch, I found myself buying my very first IWC. It was the Da Vinci. It’s actually a men’s watch. I tried on lots of women’s watches, but I just like the men’s models better. Maybe because I’ve always been unconventional and strong-minded too, just like my husband. I love my Da Vinci and I’ve worn it for several years now. I like how it’s stylish and elegant yet modest. And yes, it’s big, especially on my wrist­ – but I don’t think it’s too big.

“Two years ago, I got my second IWC watch: the Big Pilot’s Watch with a brown leather strap. I had seen it in the IWC newsletter, and it was love at first sight. I wanted that watch. But getting yourself a new watch is not like buying yourself a lipstick or a new pair of shoes, so I told myself: no Judith, forget about it. The Big Pilot’s Watch kept lingering in the back of my mind though… And then one day we were at our jewellers again and I just HAD to try it on. I simply could not resist. I fell in love all over again, and next thing I knew, I was taking my Big Pilot’s Watch home with me. But we’ve been happy together ever since.” 

I just HAD to try it on. I simply could not resist. Next thing I knew, I was taking my Big Pilot’s Watch home


TOM  (27)

“I wear my father’s watch with pride” 

“When my brother Robin and I were still very young, Peter came into our lives. And he stayed. He has been like a dad to me and Robin in every way. He calls us his sons, and we are. Peter has always had a passion for nice watches. He has several, which he wears alternately. His IWC Portugieser Chronograph is his favourite. Mine too. My brother and I always joked that one day we would inherit his fancy watches and they would be on our wrists.

“Then Peter got sick. It was cancer, the same illness that took the life of our biological father. We witnessed Peter’s health deteriorate. There wasn’t much we could do but stand by and see him struggle. It was very hard on all of us. Luckily, he recovered, and our lives went back to normal. But in 2015 the cancer returned, and Peter had to fight all over again.

“In 2017, I was working on a Holland America Line cruise ship as an intern, as part of my training to be a Maritime Officer. My family decided to join me on the cruise for Christmas – it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Peter put his chemo on hold to be together as a family; there was no way he would miss out on this one. On Christmas Eve, there was a formal Gala Night on the cruise ship. After the main course, Peter stood up and unexpectedly gave a speech. He stated how proud he was of both my brother and me and how we were each finding our own way in life. He talked about time – how quickly it passes, how volatile and precious it is, and how we should cherish all those special moments in life we get to share together. Then, he handed both of us an envelope. Each contained a picture of one of his beloved watches. He had them engraved with a message, stating his love and pride for his sons. I got his IWC Portugieser – I still can’t believe it. Peter says it’s nothing really, and that he’d rather see me enjoy wearing his watch while he is still around. So I wear it with pride, and his gift means the world to me.”

He handed both of us an envelope. Each contained a picture of one of his beloved watches.


NAVIN (40)

“I want to leave behind a special legacy” 

“My wife Ashnie and I are blessed with three beautiful sons: Shiven, Gyan and Vyas. Vyas, being our third and youngest, is our Little Prince. After their first-ever family holiday abroad, I’ve bought each of my sons a luxury watch. I intend to give it to them when they grow up. It’s a little family tradition I’ve invented. One day they will receive their respective watches as a very special gift: for their 18th birthday, graduation, engagement or wedding day… I haven’t decided when to give it to them yet, but it will be on a memorable day in their lives. I think the right moment will present itself. As their father, I want to leave them a legacy. It’s not just about the watch – that’s merely the material aspect of it. It’s about so much more. I want my sons to grow up as kind, loving, responsible and righteous people. As a parent, it’s my task and responsibility to give them the tools they need to live happy, fulfilling and successful lives.

“When I set out to buy my youngest son his watch, I initially thought of the IWC Portugieser. But then I discovered the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince”. I was thrilled, because we often read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince to our boys at bedtime. I like how the book is an exciting tale and at the same time contains so many spot-on lessons and observations about life and human nature. I knew it had to be this watch, because it was the perfect fit for our Little Prince. One day it will be his.”

One day my sons will receive their respective watches as a very special gift from their dad


JIGAL (45)

“My watch reminds me of my success”

“An IWC watch had always been very high on my wish list. To one day wear a Portugieser was my ultimate dream. But I never thought this dream would actually come true. But then, in 2010, I was able to sell my company – and at a good profit. Suddenly my dream could become a reality. So, I decided to go for it. As soon as the deal was officially sealed and the company was sold, I phoned my jeweller to have the Portugieser Chronograph ready for me. One of my best friends went with me, and it was a good thing he did. Because my bank card was declined. In my excitement I had forgotten to notify my bank that I would be making a large transaction. Since it was a Saturday, the bank was closed. So, with my bank card maxed out, I was only able to pay for half of the watch. My friend paid the other half. 

“When I walked out of the store, the Portugieser around my wrist, I felt that sweet taste of success. Selling the company I had built and worked so hard for many years, and being able to buy my watch from the profit, gave me a sense of real pride. It’s a tangible reminder of my accomplishment and success. I’ve had it for almost ten years now, and I wear it every day. It’s chic with a suit, and casual with jeans and a T-shirt. Sometimes I change the straps to give it an entirely different look and feel. I love it.

“To this day, my friend keeps teasing me every now and then about how he had to help me out, claiming half of my watch is still his. We always have a good laugh about it.”

My Portugieser reminds me of what I’ve been able to accomplish

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