The history of the IWC watch

IWC FactoryThe International Watch Co. also known as IWC is based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. An American watchmaker, Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the company in 1868. IWC stand out as they are based in eastern Switzerland instead of the west, were most of the other watchmakers are based. IWC has a company motto of Probus Scafusia meaning good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen, and in 1903 became their official motto.

Mr Jones had previously been the director of E. Howard & Co. in Boston that was a leading US watchmaking company and this company founded IWC, with the intention of making a European arm, which focused on Swiss craftsmanship, and engineering technology from the US.

In 1850 the town of Schaffhausen was in danger of being a ghost town after the Industrial revolution had been and gone. But Johann Heinrich stepped in and did the region a huge favour. He had visions of the future and looked into hydroelectric plants and he met Mr Jones here and showed him these plans. Together they laid the foundations for the new Schaffhausen and the town become the home of The International Watch Company.    

The first factory was rented in 1869 and as soon as the doors opened they had to expand and by early 1874 a new factory was being made on the banks of the Rhine. Many companies tried to acquire IWC but none were successful.

IWC WatchThe company has kept detailed records for every watch that has left the factory since 1885. The records have been detailed to the degree that they know the exact calibre, materials and cases that have been used and the owner can purchase the details of their watch from IWC directly. There is a claim that IWC can repair any watch since 1868 as they have all the parts acquired over the years.

 IWC only produce a small amount of watches a year. The estimates are between 35,000 to 39,000. This is a short mass production for such a loved and well-known brand. IWC is known to be a master in many areas of watch making. And IWC’s pocket watches, dress watches are very elegant pieces of art. There most famous watch type in many people’s eyes is their Pilot’s watches, especially the Mark series and the Big Pilot series. They combined large easy to see dials on a black face, with a thick leather strap and an easy to use crown, proving to be very desirable over the years. As well as being a piece of art on your wrist they were also very functional.

 IWC WatchIWC does not often stud their bezels but prefers to let their history do the talking and the simple perfection of their design and composition to be their own merits. IWC has an international feel and they contribute to the world though various partnerships such as the funding of environmental projects and the Charles Darwin Foundation. And sometimes they even make special designs with these partners and donate the sales directly to the foundation or project. 

Written by Benjamin Dyson