Founded in 1868, the International Watch Company, which is more known in its abbreviated form – IWC, was led by an American engineer and horologist Florentine Jones. Before he had the company, he was the director of E. Howard & Co. the then leading watchmaking company in America.
Jones moved to Switzerland to start his own watchmaking company with touches of modern American engineering and technology to create world-class, authentic, and sturdy watches.
In its century of innovative craftsmanship, IWC has been awarded and recognized to be one of the world’s best watch brand because of its authentic artistry in watchmaking. Not to mention, the in-house movements they have created that is being used to calibrate smart watches. Additionally, IWC created inventions that are significant in the horological world. The innovations received awards and recognitions. Here are more of interesting facts about IWC Schaffhausen that you might not have known yet.
Interesting Facts About IWC Schaffhausen
- IWC Schaffhausen is the only major Swiss watchmaker company that is in the eastern part of Switzerland. Most of its competitor and well-known Swiss watch brands are in the western part of Switzerland.
- IWC supplies itself with in-house cases. However, due to mass demand, they outsource the case to accommodate the fast growing number of clienteles.
- IWC creates its own movement parts. Some came from ETA, but most of the components are made in-house.
- There are more IWC replicas (fake) watches in the market today than there are real authentic IWC watches.
- The IWC’s motto is Probus Scafusia. When translated, it means “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen.”
- The motto went official in 1903.
- Ebauche kits in IWC’s low range chronographs are from ETA and its subsidiary, Valjoux.
History Timeline of IWC Schaffhausen
1868: Florentine Jones established the company in Schaffhausen. He is a watchmaker and an engineer that worked as a director of E. Howard & Co. in Boston. Other firms and watchmaking companies are located in the western Switzerland.
Why the company was built in Schaffhausen (eastern Switzerland) is an interesting story to tell. In the 1850s, the town of Schaffhausen was in the cliff, or should we say, is being left behind the Industrial Age. An industrialist named Johann Moser built the first hydroelectric plant in the town of Schaffhausen. He must have met Jones, and together they collaborated in forming a watch company, the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen.
1869: Jones rented the industrial building of Johann Moser. Soon, Jones needed to rent more spaces for production workplaces.
1874: The project of building a new factory site was made. Also this year, Jones acquired the industrial building of Johann Moser.
1875: The purchased site was redesigned by architect G. Meyer
1880: The company, Internationale Uhrenfabrik was acquired by Johann Rauschenbach-Vogel.
1881: Johann died, and his son took over the company. His name is Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenk.
1905: Johannes’ death resulted to the company being taken over by his wife, daughters, and the husbands of their daughters – Ernst Homberger and Carl Gustav Jung. The company was renamed as Uhrenfabrik Hans Ernst Homberger.
1944: Germany was bombed, and one of the towns that got severely damaged is Schaffhausen. The watch factory was destroyed. While not being dominantly affected by this issue, the company focused more on how to get up and that is by creating the Caliber 89 movement which made the watches more accurate – company gained impressive revenues.
1955: While the company was under their tutelage, the firm was renamed as Uhrenfabrik von Ernst Homberger-Rauschenbach. He died in the same year but will happiness and achievements. Three years before he died, in 1952, he was awarded by University of St. Gallen an honorary doctorate. His son, Hans Ernst Homberger run the factory after his death. His son joined the company in 1934.
1973: The company (Uhrenfabrik H. E. Homberger) created remarkable success in its timeline after expanding its collection to lady watches. It also developed the Beta 21 quartz with the collaboration of Centre Electronique Horloger.
1974: A crisis in the exporting industry affected a lot of companies including the Uhrenfabrik H. E. Homberger. Materials, currency rates, and competitors made the situation even worst.
1978: To survive the crisis and to battle competitors, the company created modern wristwatches including the first titanium bracelets under the new leadership of Otto Heller, the Director, and CEO of the company. In this same year, the original name of the company – International Watch Co. was reacquired.
2000: The company was acquired by Richemont.
In this present generation, the company just do not stop making amazements for watch aficionados. They continue to expand their menu of timepieces and complicated chronographs that are mean for various types of watch devotees. They create their signature watches with in-house calibers and inventions that inspired many other watch companies.