Häberli comes across as a patriarch, but the longer he worked at IWC, the stronger his impression became that the management did not wholly appreciate his skill. “A sense of injustice wormed its way deeper into my heart,” he records in 1908, two years after the Milan “Grand Prix”. He took it as a mortal insult that the gold medal for the Milan success was withheld from him. He tendered his resignation, but signed a new contract the next day with the firm “to which I had grown so close.”
So close, indeed, that around one-third of his extensive family was employed at one time or another by IWC. The staff register of the era, displayed at the entrance to the IWC Museum in Schaffhausen, lists not only Jean Häberli but his two sons, Hans and Ernst, and his three daughters, Marie, Alwina and Mina. Ernst Häberli, born in 1886, followed in his father’s footsteps. After serving an apprenticeship at IWC, he attended the Neuchâtel School of Watchmaking from 1907 and became head timer at IWC in the 1920s.