The International Watch Company was established in northeast Switzerland in 1868 by Florentine Ariosto Jones, an American engineer from Boston. Jones worked in the American watch industry and observed the successes and failures of the great American watch companies of his time. Aaron Dennison, one of the leaders of the industry at the time, looked to move his business to Switzerland to take advantage of the Swiss expertise and lower wages. The business failed and Jones stepped up to take the reigns. He set up his own company in Switzerland in hopes of assembling the watches in Switzerland and importing them into the United States. In Switzerland Jones met Johann Heinrich Moser, another watchmaker who worked in Schaffhausen, near the Rhine. A dam was built in 1868 to exploit the river for hydroelectric power, which eventually drove the manufacturing machines throughout Schaffhausen.
The IWC Legacy
The first movement manufactured by IWC was called the Jones caliber. It contained many advanced technical features, including an elongated index for balance hairspring regulation and a bimetallic cut balance to compensate for temperature fluctuations. Unfortunately, the business suffered many losses due to high tariffs on imports into America. As a result, by 1875, Jones was looking for new investors. Eventually, IWC filed for bankruptcy and Jones stepped down. Soon after, a Swiss consortium purchased IWC shares and brought Frederick Seeland, another American, to lead the company for a short while until significant losses forced the transfer of ownership again.
The IWC Collection
Under its new leadership, IWC developed and produced the celebrated and revolutionary Calibre 52 movement as well as the first pocket watches featuring digital time indication. These great technical achievements brought increased sales and revenues for the struggling company. During World War II, IWC created the first oversize anti-magnetic pilot's watch and the renowned Mark X featuring Calibre 83, a new in-house movement. The IWC factory barely escaped complete destruction when the Allies mistakenly bombed Schaffhausen in 1944, saved only by the fact that the bomb did not detonate. Following the war, exports to the US increased, and IWC built a reputation for designing specialty watches like the Mark XI and Ingenieur, the first automatic IWC timepiece with a soft-iron inner case to protect the movement against magnetic fields. IWC also engineered the esteemed Porsche sports watches and the DaVinci, a perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch mechanically programmed for the next 500 years. In 1993, the company unveiled its Il Destriero, the most complicated wristwatch in the world (at the time of its introduction).
IWC at Wingate’s
Wingate’s is proud to offer a selection of prestigious IWC watches for men including: Aquatimer, DaVinci, Ingenieur, Mark XV and UTC.