THE EARLY YEARS
Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841-1916), a watchmaker from Boston, Massachusetts, founds the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen. His aim: to produce high- quality pocket watches for the American market.
Construction of new premises and the current headquarters of IWC on the banks of the River Rhine. IWC has 196 employees.
Schaffhausen engine manufacturer Johannes Rauschenbach-Vogel (1815-1881) acquires IWC.
Following the death of his father, Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenk (1856-1905) takes over IWC's helm.
Innovation: the first watches with a digital hours and minutes display (Pallweber system) leave the workshops in Schaffhausen.
Manufacture of the Magique, a pocket watch in a cabriolet case with a 24-hour display that can be used either as a hunter or an open-face pocket watch.
One of the first known wristwatches leaves Schaffhausen destined for the market. The company's small 64-calibre ladies' pocket watch movement is housed in a dainty case fitted with lugs for the wristband. The 63-calibre ladies' pocket watch movement is used for other wristwatches.
Emma Marie Rauschenbach (1882-1955), daughter of Johannes Rauschenbach, marries psychologist and psychiatrist Dr. Carl Gustav (C. G.) Jung (1875-1961). Her younger sister Bertha Margaretha marries Schaffhausen industrialist Ernst Jakob Homberger (1869-1955) the same year.
THE ERNST JAKOB HOMBERGER ERA
Following the death of Johannes Rauschenbach, Ernst Jakob Homberger takes over the management of IWC on behalf of Rauschenbach's heirs.
Two newly developed calibres, the 75 (without seconds) and the 76 calibre (with small seconds), are the first movements designed by IWC specifically for wristwatches.
Ernst Jakob Homberger acquires the holding of his brother-in-law C.G. Jung and becomes the sole owner of IWC.
IWC creates elegant, rectangular watches that contain the newly designed tonneau-shaped 87 calibre.
IWC's first “Special Pilot's Watch“ is launched. It features a rotating bezel with an arrowhead index that can be used to register take-off times. It is also fitted with an antimagnetic escapement.
The birth of the Portuguese watch: two importers from Portugal order a series of large wristwatches with high-precision pocket watch calibres.
In response to demand, IWC develops the Big Pilot's Watch 52 T. S. C. with a central seconds hand.
ALBERT PELLATON JOINS IWC
The appearance of IWC's first W. W. W.: a new wristwatch for military use by the British Army. The letters W. W. W. engraved on the back of the case stand for “Watch, Wrist, Waterproof”, and the royal arrowhead insigna is used as a mark of ownership. Albert Pellaton, born in 1898, takes up his post as Technical Director at IWC.
Pellaton's first design, the 89 calibre movement, has a central seconds hand and is extremely accurate.
Appearance of the Pilot's Watch Mark 11 from IWC with the 89 calibre. Its soft-iron inner case provides unusually high protection against magnetic fields.
The 85 calibre, designed by Albert Pellaton, features IWC's first automatic winding mechanism. The innovative pawl-winding system replaces the traditional reciprocal gearing and, at this time, is a patented proprietary development by IWC.
HANS ERNST HOMBERGER TAKES OVER
Hans Ernst Homberger becomes the company's last private owner. The Ingenieur with automatic winding is launched.
Design of the 44 calibre, the first automatic women's movement from IWC.
With the Aquatimer, IWC marks the beginning of a successful series of diver's watches. Water-resistant to an unprecedented 20 bar, it is the watch of choice for professional use underwater. The Yacht Club Automatic is unveiled at the Basel Watch Show.
IWC is involved in the development of the Beta 21 quartz movement, a wristwatch calibre with quartz control (frequency 8192 hertz). It marks a watch-making revolution. The Da Vinci is the first IWC wristwatch to feature the Beta 21 quartz movement.
With the new Ingenieur SL, IWC takes the Ingenieur tradition a step further.
The unveiling of the 9721 calibre: the first pocket watch from IWC with a calendar and moon phase display. IWC embarks on the construction of its complications. These include a series of complicated pocket watches, some of which are also skeletonised.
THE VDO ADOLF SCHWINDLING ERA
Co-operation with designer F.A. Porsche results in the first wristwatch with a built-in compass. The same year, German instrument manufacturer VDO Adolf Schindling AG takes over IWC.
IWC produces the world's first chronograph in a titanium case, designed by F. A. Porsche. IWC procures its expertise in the machining of titanium through an exchange of ideas with Aérospatiale and other leading technology specialists.
IWC launches the ultra-rugged Ocean 2000 diver's watch, made of titanium and pressure-resistant to 200 bar.
The Da Vinci from IWC is the first chronograph to feature a perpetual calendar that is mechanically programmed for the next 500 years and can be set using only the crown. Another exclusive feature is the four-digit year display.
IWC begins to use zirconium oxide, a scratch-resistant and virtually unbreakable ceramic, as a new case material.
With its Novecento (Italian for “20th century”) the Schaffhausen-based company presents the first rectangular, water-resistant and automatic IWC watch with a perpetual calendar.
A quantum leap in precision watchmaking: the wristwatch-size Grande Complication appears with a wealth of functions: a chronograph with a perpetual calendar, minute repeater and moon phase display. It is a masterpiece that was 7 years in the making.
Watchmaking's ultimate achievement goes by the name of II Destriero Scafusia, “The Warhorse of Schaffhausen”. To mark its 125th anniversary, the company produces what was then the world's most complicated mechanical wristwatch in a one-off limited edition of 125 pieces. The exclusive timepiece features several complications, including a tourbillon, split-seconds, minute repeater and perpetual calendar. Likewise, to celebrate its 125th anniversary, IWC launches a limited series of its Portuguese watch, and in doing so revives the tradition of high-precision, large-calibre wristwatches.
The Pilot's Watch Mark XII maintains the tradition of the legendary Mark 11.
To commemorate the 10th birthday of the automatic Da Vinci Chronograph, the Da Vinci appears as a split-seconds chronograph with a tenth hand. Another new model is the Portuguese Chrono-Rattrapante, a large-calibre chronograph with split-seconds hand. There is also no mistaking the third new product: the Portuguese Minute Repeater.
The new GST sports watch line makes its debut.
IWC's designers launch the Pilot's Watch UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) featuring an hour hand that can be adjusted in one-hour steps and a 24-hour display.
The GST Deep One is a demonstration of IWC's creativity when it comes to diver's watches. The GST Deep One is the first IWC watch with a mechanical depth gauge.
THE RICHEMONT ERA
With the extra-large 5000 calibre, which runs for 7 days non-stop and features a power reserve display and a Pellaton automatic winding system, IWC's designers develop the company's own movement for large wristwatches. IWC is taken over by Richemont.
Günter Blümlein (1943-2001), amongst other things Chairman of the Board of Directors at IWC, was an outstanding personality who had a decisive influence on the company's development.
At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, IWC presents the Big Pilot's Watch with its 7-day movement, automatic winding, power reserve display and date display, and revives the company's tradition of the Big Pilot's Watch.
The Portuguese Perpetual Calendar with its newly designed perpetual calendar and exclusive hemisphere moon phase display is yet another demonstration of IWC's innovative tradition. A second highlight is the new Spitfire range of pilot's watches.
IWC relaunches the Aquatimer family. At the same time, the Portuguese family is extended to include the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère, the Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette and the Portuguese Automatic. New models are also added to the Da Vinci and Portofino lines.
Ten IWC premieres in a single year. There are some exquisite new additions to the Portuguese and Da Vinci families and, after 50 years, the Ingenieur makes a spectacular comeback in three versions. The new East Annexe of the company's premises in Schaffhausen is inaugurated.
IWC unveils five classic pilot's watches in a modified design, including the Big Pilot's Watch and the Pilot's Watch Chronograph. The watches in the Spitfire collection, such as a larger version of the Spitfire Chronograph, are given a facelift.
IWC presents the tonneau-shaped Da Vinci line. This includes the Da Vinci Chronograph with a completely new IWC-manufactured movement and the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Edition Kurt Klaus, named after the man who invented the calendar, commemorating his golden jubilee with IWC. Other new products include the Big Ingenieur and the Spitfire Double Chronograph. In the summer, the newly designed watch museum opens its doors. A modern, light-flooded space with many attractive exhibits now occupies the area where cases and movement parts were once made, and a multimedia presentation relates the company's history.
On the 140th anniversary of its foundation, IWC pays homage to the legendary founders of its six watch families in an exclusive IWC Vintage Collection. The West Annexe, built for the company's watchmakers in the same style as the East Annexe, is completed.
IWC presents a new generation of technically improved Aquatimer watches together with new models. A much-publicised premiere: the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date- Month arrives on the scene with a big digital display for the date and month in large numerals.
IWC launches several new models in the Portuguese watch collection. For the first time ever, the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde combines the flying tourbillon with a retrograde date display. While the Grande Complication makes its debut in a Portuguese case, the Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph brings an unmistakably sporty touch to the watch family. And the Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic, with a case made of extremely durable high-tech ceramic and titanium, features a fascinating three-dimensional chapter ring that appears to hover above the dial.
In its new guise, the classically elegant Portofino watch family combines Swiss precision with Italian joie de vivre. The flagship is the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days with its new IWC-manufactured 59210-calibre movement. With its combination of a titanium case, rubber strap and split-seconds hand, the Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium is a worthy addition to the Ingenieur watch family. In August, at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Cerro Paranal, Chile, IWC presents the most exclusive and complex mechanical wristwatch ever built in Schaffhausen: the Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia. It features a patented constant-force tourbillon together with numerous complications and individually calculated astronomical displays. Every watch is unmistakably unique and made specifically to order.
The year of the high-flyers: IWC takes off with five new TOP GUN models. The TOP GUN Miramar line, with its military style design, references IWC’s longstanding tradition in the manufacture of deck watches. Taking pride of place in the elegant Spitfire line, which comes in a more luxurious look with new features, is the Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. And in the Classics collection with its authentic cockpit-style design, the Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer continues the success of the UTC Pilot’s Watches.
The completely overhauled Ingenieur collection is inspired by IWC’s new cooperation with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team. Two of the spectacular watches that underscore IWC’s aspirations to lead the constructors’ championship in haute horlogerie include the Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon featuring the patented mechanism responsible for its name and the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month with its quick-action switch. Case materials such as titanium aluminide, carbon, ceramic and titanium are inspired by the range of materials used in FORMULA ONE.
Roll-out of the new Aquatimer generation, with an innovative external/internal rotating bezel. It combines the advantages of an internal rotating bezel with the ease of use of an external rotating bezel. With the new digital perpetual calendar, the mechanical depth gauge and pressure-resistance to 200 bar, the watch family confirms its arrival at the highest level in haute horlogerie. It is also the first time IWC has used bronze, a material with a charisma of its own, for a watch case.
In 2015, IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the 75th birthday of the Portugieser watch family. The newly designed IWC-manufactured 52000-calibre family, which is used in the Portugieser collection, sets new technical and aesthetic standards. The annual calendar and the digital calendar are adopted for use in the Portugieser line.
In 2016, watch lovers all over the world can look forward to a wide range of IWC Pilot's Watches that seem set to create a furore with innovative designs, sophisticated complications and top-quality materials.