The story of IWC is classic, modern, diverse and innovative – all at the same time. This month for the Journal Dr. David Seyffer, IWC Museum Curator, focuses on our history and all it entails, including our special relationship with the Spitfire, a trailblazing Pilot’s Watch and young man’s quest to continue his father’s legacy.
As curator of the IWC Museum and a lover of history, I’m in a dream world. Each day I walk into a 144-year-old building that houses the place I work. In terms of European history, it’s not that old. But in terms of its place in watchmaking history, it’s ancient.
IWC was ahead of its time when it was founded in 1868. Before then, watch manufacturing was centered in western Switzerland. IWC, based in Schaffhausen, was the first to meld then-modern engineering technology with fine watchmaking, sealing its place in history as a timepiece design and manufacturing innovator. But that’s not the only historic combination IWC is a part of.
In 1936 the first IWC Pilot’s Watch was launched. In 1948 the UK Government issued a tender for an aviation service watch that was robust and anti-magnetic. The Mark 11 Navigator’s Wrist Watch was the result. In the spirit of this collaboration, our Spitfire collection honors this classic plane.
We’re also co-sponsoring “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight”. In August, pilots Matt Jones and Steve Brooks from Boultbee Flight Academy will embark on an around-the-world flight in a Spitfire, stopping in almost 30 cities.
The Aviation Series
This month, we’re delving into the trip and the history of the plane in our latest video offering, “The Aviator Series”. Once a week we’ll introduce you to the men behind the expedition as they share their hopes, dreams and fears about trip.
In our first episode “Introducing the Spitfire” we learn why many pilots call this legendary aircraft a work of utter perfection and how the expedition journeyed from an idea to reality.
The Mark XVIII: The Evolution of a Legend
We continue our historical journey into the relationship between IWC and love of flight with columnist and collector Michael Friedberg. In this article, Michael travels back to 1936 for a close look at the Mark 11 Navigators Wrist Watch to analyze how this piece bridges the past with the present through the Mark XVIII.
A very special anniversary in Hong Kong
And in Hong Kong, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of our first-ever flagship boutique. If you’re in the area, stop by the IWC Boutique at 1881 Heritage to see the exclusive Spitfire exhibition. At center stage is a life-size replica of the Silver Spitfire. You can also see a collection of 12 historical watches from the IWC Museum.
When I look at where I work, both the building and the company itself, I’m amazed by the space it holds. IWC’s universe is vast – vast enough for the past, present, and of course, the future. Please accept my invitation to enter and explore.
Dr. David Seyffer
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