MEETING OF MARVELS (PART I)
Shipping and delivery conditions
FIND OUT WHAT A GROUP OF IWC COLLECTORS CHATTED ABOUT AT A RECENT GATHERING IN GENEVA
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to attend an IWC collectors meeting? Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall and understand why collectors are so passionate about their watches – or that one particular timepiece they cherish above anything else? At Watches and Wonders, the JOURNAL recorded a full hour of delightful conversation among IWC watch collectors as they marveled at each other’s treasures.
Check out some of the excerpts here and get a glimpse into the world of the IWC COLLECTORS FORUM.
— Tonny’s treasure trove – from Ingenieur pocket watch to Big Pilot
FEELING NAKED WITHOUT YOUR WRISTWATCH
What’s on your wrist today?
You did say wrists, plural, right? [Collectors laughing]
I came here with no wristwatches. I only brought one watch: an Ingenieur pocket watch. A quite rare one, not often seen. I’m a pocket watch guy, although I felt really naked on the way here for not wearing a wristwatch.
This collectors meeting – like so many – really represents the friendship that has grown among us over the years. I remember the first time I had a collectors meeting, I had only one IWC. Still, I felt as welcome as someone who had a collection of ten platinum Tourbillons or Perpetuals. Whatever collector you are, the moment you share the same passion for this brand, you’re welcome.
That’s what I’m trying to do on the IWC Collectors Forum, too: not to be an exclusive but an inclusive group. Everybody should feel welcomed. The watches are for sure important, because that’s the thing that brings us together, but it became a lot more.
How can anybody top this?
BJØRN HELGE JAHNSEN
I’m wearing two watches. The newer watch is from around 1994. It’s the 3705, the ceramic Flieger Chronograph. I bought it probably 18, 19 years ago. And I remember one of the first times I wore it. I accidentally hit it on the dishwasher. No scratch on the watch, but a huge one on the dishwasher’s steel plate.
The other watch I’m wearing today is an Ingenieur Ref. 666. I bought it about five years ago along with the box and papers. The original owner turned out to be my boss during my first summer job – when I was 18 or 20 years old. He had worked as an engineer in the 1960s and told me that he had bought the watch on 24th of December, 1960, as a reward for his very first job.
It’s fascinating that nearly 60 years ago, in 1965, IWC accepted a special order to create a one-off piece. […] It’s such an awesome watch!
THAT ONE-OFF PIECE
I also have an Ingenieur 666 on my wrist, but it’s not your average 666. My first port of call was to reach out to Frank Geelen, CEO of Monochrome Watches, who was a true gentleman in answering some of my questions. I asked if the owner would be willing to get in touch, but they politely declined.
Frank and I continued our own investigations, intrigued about why the original owner ordered an Ingenieur with a completely white dial without any marks except for the IWC brand and the name INGENIEUR, and without a second hand and with extra heavy black hands! This went on for several months, but nothing came of it as the current owner of the watch politely declined to comment.
Then, maybe a year and a half later, I saw it in a dealer’s email newsletter. I instantly called the dealer, and after many sleepless nights deliberating whether I should buy it and if it was genuine, I took the risk and managed to get hold of it.
The next step for me was the most important: finding out the real story behind this watch. Where to turn first? The IWC COLLECTORS FORUM. I also reached out to David Seyffer [IWC’s museum curator] for his opinion on the watch. David hadn’t seen the watch before and there was nothing in the archives. So, my friend Justin Hast and I took a trip to Schaffhausen to find out more. Subsequently, IWC took the watch apart to investigate. It passed through three or four watchmakers to confirm its authenticity, and I was ecstatic when David provided me with a certificate of authenticity.
It’s fascinating that nearly 60 years ago, in 1965, IWC accepted a special order to create a one-off piece. The watch comes with the original request letter, envelope, and guarantee. I’m very grateful to have the watch and to have added to its story. It’s such an awesome watch!
— James Green’s one-off piece, the Ingenieur 666 feat. a completely white dial
I’m wearing the 3505 “Skinny” Ingenieur SL. I bought it about 10 years ago. It was in pretty bad shape and I got it restored. I’m more into the vintage stuff and old movements. I’ve been on the FORUM since the beginning in 2001. I was on one of the IWC watch fairs when it was still taking place in Basel.
I’m not so much into pocket watches, but more interested in the wristwatch area. My idea was once to build a collection of all IWC’s wristwatch movements - which I found out is a very hard thing to do. Nevertheless, I have quite a number of the movements, some of them without the cases because they’re easier to acquire. I appreciate the quality mechanics, and the image of IWC in the 40s, 50s and 60s, the quality inside the watch, and the very understated look of the watches.
What movement is next?
I’m still missing 62. And of course the 1000 and 1001.
ONE OF THE DEAREST
Which IWC piece was your first crush?
My first crush was 25 years ago. I didn’t know much about IWC. My boss at that time had a Pilot’s Watch Chrono on his wrist, with a steel bracelet. One time over lunch, he told me: “It’s an IWC Schaffhausen, something very special!”. So, I started looking into IWC. It took me three more years until I bought my first IWC watch, the Mark XV in 2001.
My first Ingenieur was the Silberpfeil (Ref. IW378505). I sold it for my first Perpetual Calendar a few years later. Two years ago, I was able to acquire this one: The Big Ingenieur Chronograph Edition AMG, a tribute to 45 years of AMG. And because it feels naked when you turn up to a collectors’ meeting with just one watch – I have one more on the other wrist. It’s a Pilot’s Watch Spitfire Perpetual Calendar in gold – digital date month. This is one of my dearest.
And as you asked not only for the wrists, but also for the pockets, in my pocket I have a Caliber Jones. One of the early pocket watches, among the first 10,000. I’m very proud of this piece, which almost looks like new. It’s three times as old as I am now. It’s a very precious piece for me too.
I’ll keep it short and sweet. I just brought one watch with me, the Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic. I bought it back in 2011, it was released in 2010. I don’t believe it sold that well because it’s a really big watch but I love it because it’s ceramic, I love it because it’s titanium. It fits me. I think it will have its time at some point in the future because it will be quite rare. 68 hours of power reserve, flyback chrono, it’s just a cool watch. It was my first one and it’s still my favorite. It didn’t sell that well so it’s quite rare. And it’s what got me into IWC. You go to collector’s meetings and people go “Oh, what’s that?” and they go “Oh, okay”, so it doesn’t get much attention but I don’t care, I like it.
— Big Ingenieur Chronograph Edition AMG Ref. IW378407
I fell in love with it. I kept looking and keeping my eyes open until I finally found one in Japan
— Ben Johnson’s Ingenieur 3227 with salmon dial
KEEP THE COMPLIMENTS COMING
I have an Ingenieur 3227. Salmon dial. Limited edition of what was originally supposed to be just 200 pieces. Koen showed some pictures and said “This is an awesome watch” on the FORUM. And I fell in love with it. I kept looking and keeping my eyes open until I finally found one in Japan.
For the Japanese market it’s a little bit heavy, I think. So, it wasn’t a big seller. Eventually, only 100 pieces were made. So, I was fortunate to find one. This one actually gets amazing compliments. On the shuttle ride to here, of course, we have a bus full of watch enthusiasts. As soon as they saw it, they said: “Excuse me sir, what watch are you wearing?” So, a lot of compliments on this dial.
And the other watch I’m wearing is a Mark XVIII Special watch for aviators, which was a special edition for Andrew Thomas. He was meeting with other collectors and discussed ideas for a watch. And this was the result. Only 27 pieces were made, and I was fortunate to be able to get one of them. Erwin [Chu] has got one too.
And Tonny, as well. There are a few of them. It represents our community, you know?
And the last watch I have is a pocket watch. I also am a pocket watch guy – more recently. And this one is a gold watch from 1925. And this watch was purchased by Ernst Homberger, the owner of the company. He bought it for a very good friend of his. It’s engraved in the back – to his friend. (David Seyffer was able to find out in the archives that the owner of the company paid CHF 275 back in 1925 for this watch, which is equivalent to CHF 15,000 today).
Ernst Homberger’s friend was a Jewish German who was also an ambassador to Czechoslovakia. He eventually had to leave Germany even though he was in the government originally. He went through Switzerland and ended up in South Africa. I think he may have sold this watch in Switzerland on the way to South Africa. We are going to meet with Stephanie Homberger on Monday for a manufacture tour, so I’ll bring this along and have her take a look at this watch that her great-grandfather bought for his friend.
Read Part II of “Meeting of Marvels” at Watches and Wonders 2023.
This article is dedicated to Ralph Edmondson, Jens-Kristian Soegaard and Argiris Develegas, beloved friends, forum members and passionate collectors who passed away in 2022.
They are dearly missed, and our hearts go out to their families and loved ones during this difficult time.