At just a year old, the IWC Boutique in Munich has already garnered a loyal following. The Journal takes you inside the store, which blends Bavarian tradition with modern design in one of the most exclusive areas of town.
Standing in front of the new IWC Boutique in Munich, you cannot help but keep turning your head in amazement. While the reflection in the shop windows may hint at what is behind you, only a proper view from the front reveals the breathtaking elegance of what lies on the opposite side: the Bavarian State Opera House.
The location of the new IWC Boutique with its historic shop facade featuring an enlarged IWC Portugieser timepiece – 70 cm in diameter – could not have been chosen more wisely. Max-Josef-Platz is probably one of the most exclusive addresses in Munich and a magnet for both tourists and culture-loving locals.
Identity and history working together
After one and a half years of planning and construction involving 185 staff members and extensive correspondence with the local authorities, the second IWC Boutique in Germany celebrated its opening in the very building that used to house the well-known Eilles Kaffeehaus. Indeed, preserving the unique appearance of the venerable, six-floor coffee house was of the utmost importance to everyone involved.
“We wanted to maintain the brand’s identity and character while keeping and emphasising the beauty of this historical building – for example, by using 26 metric tons of steel to enhance the building structure and walls. The boutique was a great opportunity to combine both historical and modern elements,” says IWC Brand Architect Alex Maschmeyer, who oversaw the project.
Carefully curated comforts of home
The approach is reflected across 180 square metres of retail space, where every single detail has its place and meaning. A large video screen wall with 15 seamless 55" LCD screens stands opposite a traditional Bavarian seating niche and an ornate tile stove featuring a charging station among images of animals and flowers; in fact, the 17th-century tiles are from the original coffee house. “We carefully assessed the condition of each tile and chose the most intact ones for the stove. The images are truly stunning,” says Maschmeyer, whose favourite motif is a small unicorn on a tile in the front middle row.
On the second floor, a rotating selection of vintage timepieces on loan from the IWC Museum in Schaffhausen and special timepieces also on loan from private collections are exhibited in wall vitrines next to a bust of F. A. Jones, the founder of IWC Schaffhausen. A little further down, guests can relax in a small living room featuring a bar where the IWC Boutique Team offer Augustiner beer fresh from the tap and a selection of spirits to visitors. The entire area exudes a comfortable, homely atmosphere enhanced by beautiful vistas onto the Opera House.
The boutique is a great opportunity to combine both historical and modern elements
A touch of Munich for your wrist
But the main focus of the boutique are the six IWC watch families: Da Vinci, Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watches, Ingenieur and Aquatimer.
One specific model has attracted particular interest, as explained by Aline Thomas, IWC Munich Boutique Manager: “We take pride in offering several IWC models that are sold exclusively in our boutique. This includes our Munich Boutique Special Edition featuring a stunning engraving of the local ‘Frauenkirche’ (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady) on the case back. Many visitors come in to discover and try the elegant timepiece themselves.”
The special-edition Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition “Boutique Munich” (Ref. IW371217) is limited to just 250 pieces and exhibited in a special vitrine on the ground floor. Rumour has it that a client from Frankfurt flew in only to view the watch in person and immediately ordered four timepieces: one for his wife, one for himself and two for his sons.
At your service
Last but not least, what would a boutique be without an incredible team? Consisting of six IWC representatives (including a Spanish former opera singer) and a dedicated watchmaker, the crew speaks a total of ten languages and has cultural roots in Germany, Indonesia, Poland, Russia and Spain.
To leave their very personal mark, the team had their own hand prints embossed underneath the staircase before the final cementing procedure.
Visit the IWC Boutique in Munich, located at Residenzstrasse 13 near Max-Joseph Platz.
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