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The International Watch Company’s success is really the best example of what happens when American entrepreneurship and European craftsmanship collided, or rather united.
The company’s founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones, a watchmaker from Boston, moved to Switzerland to set up shop but after his initial attempts to impress Geneva’s Horlogerie masters that were met with skepticism, he set up shop in the small northern town of Schaffhausen. As it turned out, conditions there were perfect—he used hydropower from the Rhine River to run the machines in his plant and hired talented local watchmakers to help him establish his company as a worthy competitor of its Geneva-based counterparts. And his plan worked.
Since the very beginning, IWC’s commitment to innovation and forward-thinking impressed customers and watchmaking professionals alike. With models such as the Ingenieur in 1955 which had an automatic winding, the first wristwatch with a built-in compass created in collaboration with Porsche in 1978, and, of course, the iconic Portugieser line, IWC proved it deserves a spot among the biggest names in Haute Horlogerie.
Here, we rounded up some of the most beautiful IWC watches that you can shop today.
IWC Portugieser Grande Complication Watch
When you think of an IWC watch, you probably picture the Portugieser with its refined design, slim hands, and railway-track-style chapter ring. Well, this Grande Complication model takes IWC’s iconic Portugieser on a whole new level.
It is assembled from 659 individual mechanical parts and boasts 20 functions including a perpetual calendar and a moon phase display. And, yet, its dial is easy to read and navigate. The 45mm platinum case encloses the beautiful silver-plated dial that sports Arabic numerals and the popular in the 1930s chemin-de-fer scale that makes it easier to tell the time. This automatic self-winding watch runs via a 79091 Calibre movement and has a black alligator strap by Santoni, a luxury Italian shoemaking company.
To buy: $235,000, iwc.com
IWC Pilot Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” Watch
The design of this limited edition (there are only 250 pieces) Pilot watch is inspired—and very fittingly—by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic The Little Prince.”
The midnight blue dial is housed in a 43mm 18-karat 5N gold case with a see-through sapphire case-back. The perpetual calendar complication is programmed for 577 years and requires no readjustments until 2100. The watch features 399 components and runs via an 89630 Calibre movement. Finally, the brown calfskin strap sports a cool contrast stitching which makes this timepiece the perfect everyday accessory.
To buy: $38,300, iwc.com
IWC Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37
Inspired by the “laid back style of the Mediterranean” the Portofino collection is the epitome of sophisticated elegance.
This timepiece has a 37mm case crafted from 18-karat 5N gold and a Milanaise mesh bracelet. The silver-plated dial also features a bezel set with 66 diamonds and 12 precious stones so there’s quite a lot of sparkle on this watch.
The moon phase display here is not just for aesthetic purposes. The company states on its website that it should also remind us that “long before time could be mechanically measured, it was the moon that showed us the passing of time.”
To buy: $37,900, iwc.com
IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph
This watch is a watchmaking masterpiece! It features three complications on its silver-plated dial and it’s powered by an 89900 Calibre movement consisting of 375 components that you can get a sneak peek at thanks to its see-through case-back.
The DaVinci Tourbillon Retrograde has a flyback function, a retrograde date display (the hand will jump back automatically to the first of the month after the 31st of the previous month), and a hacking tourbillon mechanism at 6 o’clock.
A brown alligator strap and a gold buckle closure complement the elegant design.
To buy: $103,000, iwc.com
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”
IWC started producing diver’s watches over 50 years ago and since then it has developed a quick bracelet change system and a secure sealing system that protects against water and dust damage. The company also equips its watches with a two-tone luminescent coating that makes it really easy to navigate the dial underwater.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” timepiece is entirely inspired by the first diver’s watch IWC launched in 1967 but it also sports modern features such as a rotating bezel with a SafeDive system. The blue dial is housed in a 44mm case and also has a day and date display.
To buy: $7,050, iwc.com