The Journal

The IWC archives: The “Google of watchmaking history”

Over 16,000 watches and countless documents make up IWC’s archives. The Journal introduces you to the team in charge of caring for these precious items and takes a look inside this special room.

Items from the IWC archives
— Items from the IWC archives

The IWC Museum stands out for what’s inside the building: world-class guides, breathtaking interior and – of course – over 230 historical watches that bear the name “International Watch Company”. But what’s underneath the Museum is noteworthy as well.


Directly over the main IWC building rests the IWC archives collection, locked away in an unassuming room down a corridor. But looks can be deceiving; this room could be called the “Google of watchmaking history”.


The archives hold various pieces of the IWC story: from documents signed by IWC’s founder Florentine Ariosto Jones, to historical IWC watches, to the famous tongue-in-cheek advertisements of the late 1990s.

This is watchmaking history, painfully – and lovingly – documented, detailed and ready to be retrieved.


Caring for these precious documents and items are the daily duties of IWC’s three-person museum team: Corinne Landolt, Sonia Jiménez and museum curator, Dr. David Seyffer. Together the team has 32 years of experience.


“What’s in this room is what led me to IWC,” says Seyffer. “When it came time to do my doctoral thesis, I wanted to examine the history of technology and I figured watchmaking would be an interesting subject to tackle.


“I contacted IWC and asked if I could have access to the historical records. They said ‘yes’ and that’s how I started here.”

(L-R) Corinne Landolt, Dr. David Seyffer & Sonia Jiménez
— (L-R) Corinne Landolt, Dr. David Seyffer & Sonia Jiménez
Archive retrieval
— Archive retrieval

Both Jiménez and Landolt also have a personal connection to the archives, which gets even stronger during inventory time. “We’re so proud of what we have here. Every year in December we count all of the watches by hand. They’re like our babies.”


Which means they have 1,600 babies.


The team’s duties are important not only because they care for watches and documents. The IWC Museum is a member of the Swiss Museums Association and the International Council of Museums. This means that the museum adheres to global best practices, including acquisition, collection documentation and conservation. The archives play an enormous role in making this happen.


The archives are closed to the public, but we’re offering you an exclusive look inside the unassuming room - which holds over a century and a half of watchmaking history - below.

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