In 1868, American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the International Watch Company, as the first and only watch manufacture in the north-eastern part of Switzerland. As a location, he chose a site close to the River Rhine that used to be the orchard of the All Saints abbey – a former Benedictine monastery housing the oldest building in Schaffhausen. Based on plans by architect G. Meyer, the first premises were built between 1874 and 1875 in the garden adjacent to the banks of the Rhine. Behind the building’s impressive façade, IWC has been manufacturing extraordinary timepieces for 150 years, many of which have gained iconic status. Back in 1993, on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, IWC opened an exclusive museum in the attic of its headquarters – by this time a listed building – and became Switzerland’s first watch manufacturer with such a facility.
In 2007, IWC trumped its past achievements with a newly designed watch museum on the converted ground floor of the main building. In spaces once given over to the manufacture of cases and watch parts, light-flooded rooms and display cases set off the exhibits to their best advantage. Production has been relocated to more spacious premises directly next door, making room for many more exhibits and a multimedia presentation documenting the company’s history.
The new home of IWC watches represents the world of an international luxury brand; together with the objects on display, it creates surroundings that are at once modern yet timeless, luxurious yet functional, and with every convenience the visitor could possibly wish for.
Over 230 carefully selected items bear witness to a manufacturer that started making a name for itself with unusually reliable quality, and universally appealing design from the very beginning.