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IWC Swiss Watches

IWC Swiss Watches Brief History

IWC watches has an interesting history.  It is possibly the only major Swiss company that was founded by an American.

In 1868 Florentine Ariosto Jones from Boston Massachusetts, an American watchmaker, set up his company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. He was intent on combining low labor rates and the exeptional craftmanship of the Swiss to create International Watch Company (IWC). He wanted to apply the modern engineering technology from the US and manufacture movements and parts for the American market. At that time skilled watchmakers were abunduntly available becuase most watchmakers worked at home...(continued below)

IWC Aquatimer Swiss watches IWC Aquatimer Swiss watches

Aquatimer

IWC Aquatimer Swiss watches

IWC Da Vinci Swiss watches IWC Da Vinci Swiss watches

Da Vinci

IWC Da Vinci Swiss watches

IWC Ingenieur Swiss watches IWC Ingenieur Swiss watches

Ingenieur

IWC Ingenieur Swiss watches

IWC Pilot's Watches Classics Swiss watches IWC Pilot's Watches Classics Swiss watches

Pilot’s Watches

IWC Pilot’s Watches Swiss watches

IWC Portofino Swiss watches IWC Portofino Swiss watches

Portofino

IWC Portofino Swiss watches

IWC Portuguese Swiss watches IWC Portuguese Swiss watches

Portugieser

IWC Portugieser Swiss watches

1869 saw the first factory being rented out to IWC. Despite the company having a unique business plan, IWC watches were doomed from the start. First, IWC had trouble selling the watches in America due to high tariff on imported finished watches. Second, IWC was undercapitalized and experienced technical problems with the machines. By 1875, Jones grew desperate for new investors and inevitably had to relinquish control of his company.

IWC Swiss Watches Resurgence in the War

IWC experienced significant growth following World War I but the company's fortunes took a dive. Fortunately, after a major modernization effort, there was an increase in demand during the advent of World War II. It was during this time that IWC created the first oversized anti-magnetic pilot's watch featuring its new in house movement, the Calibre 83.

In 1944, IWC factory in Schaffhausen almost got hit by an Allied bomb and fortunately avoided destruction. After World War II, IWC watches was forced to change its marketing plan as most of Eastern Europe was in shambles. Because of this, old contracts and connections with the Americas, Australia and the Far East were re-established, revived and intensified.

IWC Watches Milestones

1969 saw the first quartz IWC wristwatch. In 1978, IWC introduced the world's first titanium watchcase and bracelet, which at the time was thought impossible because of the difficulty in working with titanium which required an oxygen free environment. In 1967 IWC also developed the world's first diver's watch, the Aquatimer

Today, IWC watches manufactures the world's most sophisticated bracelet system and most famous for its line of Pilot watches whose design was inspired by World War II and the Portugese family of watches.

They have 400 employees approximately and since the year 2000, IWC watches have belonged to the watch division of Richmont SA.