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More about IWC Watches

The genesis of IWC dates back to 1868 when American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones founded IWC with the intention of combining the craftsmanship of the Swiss with the modern engineering technology from the U.S. to manufacture movements and watch parts for the American market. By the spring of 1875, a new watch factory in the Schaffhausen, Switzerland had been completed to take advantage of the cheap hydro-power and production of IWC watches commenced in 1868. Jones planned to assemble watches in Switzerland and import them into the United States, hence the name International Watch Company or IWC. The original business plan encountered numerous problems including a high tariff on imported finished watches in America and technical problems with his watch making machinery. By 1875 IWC was on the verge of collapse and Jones was forced to sell the watch company with one of the IWC stockholders, Johannes Raschenbach-Vogel, buying the company at auction, and commencing a rapid advance of technical achievements increasing sales as the IWC produced its first pocket watches with digital time indication, as well as the famous Calibre 52 movement for IWC watches. Since acquiring IWC, four generations of the Rauschenbach family have owned the watch company, with varying names. The turbulent economic times experienced by the rest of the world after World War I adversely affected IWC as well but fortunately a major modernization effort by IWC paid off when World War II resulted in increased military demand for high quality professional watches. It was thus during World War II that IWC created the first oversize anti-magnetic pilot's watch, followed by the famous Mark X watch, featuring its new in-house movement, Calibre 83 for the watch. In 1944, IWC had a close call when the Allies mistakenly bombed Schaffhausen, and the IWC watch factory was hit by a bomb that failed to detonate after crashing through the rafters. Fortunately, the IWC watch factory narrowly escaped destruction. In the aftermath of the war, International Watch Company (IWC) lived up to its name and became a company of international scope. IWC was forced to shift its focus after World War II as most of Eastern Europe had fallen under the communist controlled iron curtain, exports of IWC watches to the United States increased. The brand became best known for its specialty watches, such as the Mark XI watch and Ingenieur watch as well as for its elegant dress watches. IWC developed its first quartz watch in 1969 using the Beta 21 movement for the first watch produced using a quartz. Subsequent developments of IWC watches include the debut of the Porsche series of sports watches, which remain in production to this day, as well as the creation of the "DaVinci" watch; a perpetual calendar chronograph wrist watch that is mechanically programmed for the next 500 years. The Da Vinci watch caused quite a stir when first introduced and set new standards with a more user-friendly perpetual calendar. The 1970's saw an exponential rise in gold prices as well as cheaper quartz watches imported from Japan, and in response to this IWC built up a line of high-quality pocket watches and set up its own modern wrist watch and case manufacturing facilities which developed pioneered new watch making technologies, notably the first titanium bracelets for watches, developed in 1978. In 1993, the company again stunned the watch world when it unveiled the remarkable Il Destriero watch, which at the time, was one of the most complicated wrist watches in the world. In the year 2000 IWC introduced a new movement for its watches the 5000 calibre, an automatic movement and IWC exclusive that was developed with the patented Pellaton system. The pocket watch size movement featured in the latest addition to the Portuguese watch line: an automatic watch with a power reserve display. Today the watch company continues its legacy to build the highest quality watches with unique technical and design characteristics and thus continue to experience the pleasures of innovation.