The International Watch Company (IWC) was born in 1868 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the brainchild of an ambitious American and a Swiss industrialist. From the beginning, this new watchmaking enterprise focused on creating new standards in time-keeping technology and design. Their first pocket watches were characterized by a wealth of advanced technical features many of which are still used in pocket watches today. By 1898, the company had begun to adapt smaller versions of its pocket watch movements to wrist watches and introduced its first designed wristwatch in 1900.
Over the years, IWC has launched a series of collections widely regarded as some of the finest time-keeping instruments the world has ever seen. Prized by collectors and connoisseurs, IWC watches are engraved with a unique number and calibre type. Its reference number, calibre, material, case number, delivery date, purchaser or dealer name is then recorded for posterity in ledgers kept at the companys headquarters in Schaffhausen. Vintage IWCs can be traced back to their original owners. Also at headquarters is the Pharmacy where IWC keeps, catalogued and sorted, a minimum 30 years inventory of parts for its distinctive collections. In one hallowed corner is the shrine, comprised of tall chests with multiple drawers holding rare parts for vintage IWC watches, some dating back as far as 1886.
The most famous creation of IWC is the Portuguese watch, originally commissioned in 1930 by two Portuguese businessmen. IWCs challenge was to craft a wristwatch with a stainless steel case that possessed all the qualities of a marine chronometer. Today, the Portuguese watch is one of IWCs cornerstone collections, available in a split-second chronograph in rose gold, steel and platinum. The first Portuguese automatic was launched in 1996. But the Portuguese was not the only break-through design in the IWC stable. IWC is also well known for the quality design, precision movements, manufacturing excellence and watchmaking innovation of its Grande Complication, DaVinci, Novecento, Portofino, Ingenieur, Pilots Watches (the Mark series), and GST collections.
IWC Watches at Ashford