With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868.The company has made an international name for itself through its passion for innovative solutions and technical inventiveness. As one of the world's leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC creates masterpieces of haute horlogerie that combine engineering and precision with exclusive design. IWC has continuously invested in the quality and durability of its products and has also opened a new manufacturing centre in 2018. As a result, the brand is renewing its legendary promise of quality "Probus Scafusia" - the Latin motto meaning "proven products from Schaffhausen".
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In 1939, two businessmen from Portugal placed an order with IWC for a series of large wristwatches that were to run as precisely as a marine chronometer. The captains and officers of the Portuguese merchant navy wanted a “seriously big watch” to wear on their wrists. Schaffhausen’s design engineers decided to put the men’s pocket watch 74 calibre into a wristwatch case.
Aviation was still in its infancy when General Director Ernst Jakob Homberger – inspired by his two aviation-enthusiast sons, Hans Ernst and Rudolf – launched the Special Pilot’s Watch, Reference IW436, in 1936. In the pioneering age of flying, most pilots were still using pocket watches. A wristwatch developed specially for pilots was a real innovation. Designed to use in the cockpit, the timepiece was driven by the 83 calibre with an antimagnetic escapement.
Since its launch in 1984, the Portofino Collection by IWC Schaffhausen has appealed to discerning watch enthusiasts who value the charm and virtues of the Italian way of life. The crowning jewel of the series was the Portofino Hand-Wound with Moon Phase (Ref. 5251). Designed on the basis of the Lépine pocket watch, this timelessly elegant watch with an impressive case diameter of 46 millimetres quickly went on to gain iconic status.
The 1960s saw the rise of scuba diving as a popular sport. In response, IWC unveiled its first diver’s watch at the Basel Watch Show in 1967. Instead of a classic external bezel for setting the dive time, the watch featured a rotating bezel under the glass that was operated using a second crown. Today, the rotating bezel is still placed behind the sapphire glass.
Probably no other watch has left its mark on the history of IWC like the Da Vinci featuring Kurt Klaus’s perpetual calendar. With the quartz crisis at its height, IWC’s head watchmaker pursued designing a mechanical perpetual calendar. Comprising 82 individual components in a design of ingenious simplicity, the calendar module, combined with a chronograph, made its debut in 1985 in the Da Vinci family.
In 1950, IWC launched its first in-house automatic movement. The man behind the development of the 85 calibre was the technical director at the time, Albert Pellaton. Unlike most other similar automatic systems of the time, it used the movement of the rotor in both directions to wind the mainspring. Additionally, because an increasing number of electronic devices in the household generated magnetic fields, the Ingenieur also featured a soft-iron case that effectively protected the movement against their influence.
IWC Schaffhausen is over 150 years old. Therefore, in 2018, the manufaturer presented a special anniversary collection at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. It comprises a total of 29 limited editions from the Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot's Watches and Da Vinci families.