The IWC Collectors Forum is an online platform brimming with the knowledge of numerous watch collectors. The Journal traveled to Amsterdam for the 2018 7th Annual IWC BBAMSGTGIWC (Bill Barker Amsterdam Get ToGether) to meet some of these enthusiasts as they enjoyed the “Venice of the North” in the company of new and old friends.
It’s 11 o’clock on a sunny Saturday morning as 31 people gather under blue skies in Amsterdam for a fantastic day of fun. The BBAMSGTG namesake, and senior IWC Collectors’ Forum member, Bill Barker, could not join this year, but he insisted that we keep the tradition going.
And for us it was again a good opportunity to get together, renew acquaintances face-to-face and share our passion for those luxury timepieces we so enjoy collecting. IWC has again brought us together from as far as Austria, Denmark, Germany, India, Portugal, Russia, the UK, the US and of course, The Netherlands. Someone flew in just for the day from Moscow, returning that same evening. And someone else joined the entire day after having piloted himself an 11-hour flight from Bangalore to Amsterdam. How amazing is that?
Now, here is the thing about this bunch of collectors, or should I rather say friends (many of whom I have known for years); they are a discerning bunch of good people, with fine tastes. Of course, haute horlogerie and an almost insatiable desire to get to see some new as well as old IWC timepieces, motivates them to travel afar – but it’s more, much more than this. These are people from all walks of life, of different ages and incomes – yet they all love to travel and use the opportunity to have fun experiences, and share the comradery that the Forum has facilitated for this community for 15 years.
Moreover, whilst there seems to be a perception that IWC builds “watches for men”, some of the fellows’ wives once again joined us, as they too just love both the watches and the great social event this has become. In fact, this is the 7th annual event, and year after year the number of requests to participate and join the event have grown.
Something for everyone
After a light brunch seated outside on the terrace of the restaurant conveniently located in the Vondel Park, it was time for a short walk to the IWC Boutique on the P.C. Hoofdstraat where, as always, we were warmly welcomed by the most professional and friendliest of staff. Here, the ladies were also given some special treatment as we men were ushered off to the upstairs lounge. The wives and girlfriends got an exclusive “women only” hands-on viewing of the new collection. By the time the men returned, it was clear that the new collection was a hit and that some of the women had made their choices.
Of course, the IWC marketing team who supported our GTG event also ensured that we men did not feel left out. We were all surprised in the boutique when IWC Associate Director of Product Management Walter Volpers gave a short presentation showing highlights of the Sustainability Report, with a focus on packaging, and measures taken to manage IWC’s footprint to reduce overall volume and weight. He also gave a sneak preview and unveiling of the prototypes of such future packaging, which brought huge sounds of appreciation from the collectors.
Having fed the collectors the IWC Übervirus, and together with the entire group, we left the boutique to step aboard a private boat charter for a traditional Amsterdam canal cruise.
Overall, a great IWC event, which no doubt will be repeated
Talking watches on the water
We sailed for an hour and a half, passing many of Amsterdam’s historic 17th century grachten houses and other must-see sights, including the beautiful replica of the 1749 VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) sailing ship, the “Amsterdam”. Watch talk was lively aboard as the Champagne and beers were poured, and snacks served. A highlight of the cruise was a short stop to pick up some freshly baked Amsterdam poffertjes drenched in melted butter, and of course enjoyed together on-board with a traditional shot of Dutch genever.
The dinner venue, again with our own private dining room, was the perfect place for us to round off the day with lots of flair, and most of the gents used the occasion to swap out the watches on their wrists with many unique watches now making an appearance.
Of course, as is the tradition after the main courses and before the dessert arrives, it was time for the show and tell as the watch collections appeared, given that many of the guests have brought some of their best luxury timepieces with them and we are all keen to get some wrist shots and photos.
The time passed quickly, with our forum moderator keeping tradition with his quiz and handing out prizes, as well as attendees clearing a table and preparing for the now famous “table shot” photo session – where all the IWC watches in the room are put out on display for a photo opportunity. The table shot reflects the group, with some truly magnificent and special IWC’s on display including many scarce and rare Limited Edition watches.
Overall, a great IWC event, which no doubt will be repeated, and we collectors wish again to thank IWC for the great support of the Collectors’ Forum and the members.
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