“The Pallweber really touched me when I saw it in a museum nine years ago,” the IWC creative director Christian Knoop said, “because I imagined what people in the 19th century must have felt when they saw these watches. It was a new archetype of a watch.”
Reworked to modern standards of precision and reliability, the Pallweber limited edition leads an anniversary collection that includes additions to IWC’s Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watch and Da Vinci families.
Featuring special dials imprinted in white or blue lacquer, the Jubilee timepieces were designed to reflect the brand’s signature Bauhaus-inspired simplicity. “We don’t have decorated dials or skeletonized movements for the art of it,” Mr. Knoop said. “Everything we do has a function, a clean and timeless aesthetic.”
That’s especially true of IWC’s most ambitious project to date: a headquarters encompassing more than 145,300 square feet of space scheduled to open this spring on the outskirts of Schaffhausen. The two-story building, which will unite every aspect of the company’s production (now at several sites in the city center), will be designed, as its rooftop restaurant might suggest, for the benefit of visitors.
“The 8,000-plus people who visit us every year will understand how we get from a bar of steel to the finished watch,” said Mr. Grainger-Herr, an architect who joined IWC in 2005 to oversee the design of its museum in Schaffhausen.
“We make highly emotional, highly evocative products,” he added. “The narrative you build is equally important as the product itself.”
Case in point: Les Aviateurs, IWC’s first pilot-themed bar, which opened two months ago next door to the brand’s boutique on the Rue du Rhône in Geneva. Styled like a gentleman’s club, the bar, a joint effort with the high-end department store Globus, serves cocktails like the Aviator, a $26 concoction of Aviation American gin, Champagne and lavender syrup.
“People sitting in a lounge and telling great adventure stories,” Mr. Grainger-Herr said. “No matter what culture they’re from, everybody can relate to that.”