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> Did making a ...
Did making a Compass Watch take guts?
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The first Porsche Design model by IWC was the compass watch shown here (it debuted in 1978 but this image is from the 1980 catalog).
I was talking to a friend the other day --who happens to be the most knowledgeable person I know about watches, although he has his own likes and dislikes. He was telling me why he likes IWC --they have not been afraid to experiement. He mentioned the compass watch, something not really done before. And initially in aluminum, then titanium. He said that this was a company not afraid to experiment --and that deserves great credit.
We both attributed this enterprising spirit to Günter Blümlein. Plus we had to admit that is might have been a bit easier for a small company with a grand tradition to awake from its doldrums with a few gambles. That might even have been necessary.
But the point is --innovation after innovation, IWC has started a lot of trends. Even if you don't see many other compass watches.
My friend, however, just wishes the Swiss watch industry would experiment with Teflon lubricants. He claims they're too tradiitonal to experiment that much. On the other hand, I bet they have --and they're too discrete to talk about that ;)
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Aside: Dr. Porsche and Titanium
As far as I know, The first experiment of using titanium for case was Nikon F2 titan(1978), but limited for special use (Announced: less than 1000 produced). I’ve heard from an famous Contax collector that Dr. Porsche have strongly intended to use titanium for consumer products, especially for his own designed Contax RTS (single reflex camera in 1976) case, but failed.
As for designing Contax T in 1984, Kyocera rejected his proposal again, simply because they could not process (Even soft) titanium. Please note that Only by IWC his wish was fulfilled in the early 1980s.
By the way although I’m not a scientist too, but completely approve MF and your friend (I bet Mr. Walt Odets) about watch lubrications. Not only Teflon lubricants but also astonishing Non-Newtonian oil should be used. I’ve thought that Non-Newtonian oil is perfect replacement for Moebius 9415….
701 Discussions and Comments
Michael, I concur with you about Gunter Blumlein's willingness to experiment. Yes, he was driven, bold, and courageous in `order` to be ahead of the competition.
The unique partnership IWC had with Porsche Design enabled Mr. Blumlein to implement collective ideas and thoughts more commonly found in the automobile industry which is light years ahead of the watch industry.
The strategy to keep the two collections, IWC and PD, separate but under one roof worked in IWC's favor since it allowed the company to remain with its bread and butter line except for its complicated timepieces.
All in all, IWC has shown the watch world that it has what it takes to innovate and leap forward with high quality well engineered mechanical timepieces.