A Fresh Start for IWC

 

IWC Schaffhausen celebrates its 150th anniversary with brand new headquarters

by James Hill 19 April 2018

To fully comprehend the inextricable link between IWC and its hometown in Switzerland, Schaffhausen, we have to go back to the time when the company’s founder Florentine Ariosto Jones first arrived here during the second half of the 19th century. He looked for an opportunity to start his watchmaking business, and his chance acquaintance with Johann Heinrich Moser, the owner of a power plant on the Rhine River, was it. Jones rented a manufacturing site and founded the International Watch Company in 1868. Fast forward 150 years, IWC Schaffhausen is celebrating its important anniversary with brand new headquarters. We met with IWC Schaffhausen Chief Operating Officer Andreas Voll to find out more.

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What is the impact of the new facilities so far?

Our new manufacture is the largest investment that we have ever made over the past 150 years: CHF 42 million invested, a true milestone for our brand experience and production. For the first time, we can consolidate our production processes, which used to be spread throughout different locations in Schaffhausen. The new manufacture is amazing. It’s flooded with daylight, and we’ve replaced almost all of our old workplaces with new ones. The canteen has a rooftop terrace, and we love it. Our move to the new facilities coincides wonderfully with our anniversary. I led the project for the new building, so it’s a dream come true.

Can you tell us about the new synergies?

The new site is not only a perfectly functional layout, where we integrate all the processes instead of trying to adapt existing facilities to make them work for our production, but also offers a brand new experience. It is so welcoming and transparent. Visitors can see the whole process from the first parts of the movements to the final finishings.

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We’re constantly innovating our six watch families. We have iconic timepieces with a great heritage, which were not created for marketing and turnover, but re-invented in the pursuit of a challenge. That's our founder's pioneering spirit when he came to Switzerland from America, and this is where we want to build the experience upon. The new manufacture is all Jones had ever wanted, and 150 years later, here it is.

Air travel is so common today. Our heritage in flight-time measurement dates back to the early 20th century, so we have always catered to the needs of travellers. For example, what can be more practical than having all the time zones on your wrist? It is not just to show that we can create, but we also innovate. It is our core DNA.

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