About IWC Watches
In 1868, American watchmaker, Florentine Ariosto Jones, founded the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland to produce top tier pocket watches for the American market. Today, IWC is recognized as a leading maker of luxury watches, with watches ranging from sporty aviation models steeped in military history to ultra-complex mechanical timepieces.
The 1930s proved to be an important decade for IWC with two important watch models. First, there was the “Special Pilot’s Watch” unveiled in 1936, which would lay the foundation for IWC’s famed Pilot Watch collection of aviation timepieces. Then, in 1939, at the request of two businessmen from Portugal, IWC developed precise wristwatches powered by pocket watch movements—the birth of the IWC Portuguese (also known as the Portugieser) design.
In 1940 during World War II, IWC creates the Big Pilot’s Watch to meet the military specs of the German Air Force. This paves the way for other IWC military watches including the Watch, Wrist, Waterproof (W.W.W.) piece for the British Army in 1940—the predecessor of the famed 1948 IWC Mark XI navigation watch for the British Royal Air Force. Today, the Pilot’s Watches are some of the most popular timepieces from IWC, encompassing a wide range of aviation watches from classic vintage-inspired pieces to modern Top Gun watches to luxurious Le Petit Prince and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry editions.
In the 1950s, IWC released an antimagnetic watch called the Ingenieur for scientists and engineers. In the 1970s, legendary watch designer, Gerald Genta, reimagined the watch and unveiled the stainless steel Ingenieur SL “Jumbo,” complete with a large tonneau-shaped case, integrated bracelet, and screw-in bezel that were all the rage in the seventies.
The 1960s saw the birth of IWC’s diving watch series in the form of the Aquatimer, followed by the first IWC Da Vinci watch with a quartz movement inside the watch. However, in the 1980s, repositioned the Da Vinci with the mechanical Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar. Today, the Da Vinci collection houses some of IWC’s most complex timepieces. The 1980s also welcomed the pocket watch-inspired IWC Portofino dress watch lineup, a collection that still endures today, spanning from simple time-only models to highly complicated mechanical masterpieces.
The start of the new millennium marked a new chapter for IWC as it was purchased by the Richemont Group and it now sits alongside sibling brands such as Cartier, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, and so many others. IWC counts several celebrities as brand ambassadors such as actor Bradley Cooper and five-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton. In fact, since 2004, IWC has been a partner of Mercedes-AMG and in 2013 it became the Official Engineering Partner of Mercedes- AMG Petronas Motorsport. The IWC Racing Team made its debut in 2018, with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” as the official team car.
Modern-day IWC categorizes its watches into six main collections: Pilot’s Watches, Portugieser, Portofino, Da Vinci, Aquatimer, Ingenieur, in addition to a special Jubilee collection of timepieces to celebrate 150 years of IWC history.