IWC - International Watch Company - Schaffhausen
The International Watch Company, or IWC, was set up in Schaffhausen in the German-speaking region of north-eastern Switzerland, in 1868 by the American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841-1916).
The company has had a somewhat turbulent early history, but by the beginnings of the last century it had established a solid reputation for technical excellence, based on its motto “Probus Scafusia,” translated from Latin as “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen.”
In 1944, Albert Pellaton became technical director at IWC where he remained until 1966. During this time he developed the Pellaton winding for mechanical wristwatches with a modified pawl mechanism for a double-sided winding of automatic movements. He also developed the legendary IWC Calibre 89, a movement which many consider the to be one of the greatest manually wound movements of the 20th century.
It is often said that owning an IWC is something everyone with a serious interest in both vintage and modern watches should aspire to! A strong statement perhaps, but a little time spent researching IWC and their 1950s & ’60s watches, will very likely lead one to the same conclusion. In essence, this is because, during the 1950s and ’60s, IWC determined they would manufacture some of the very best watches ever made and quite simply, this is what it achieved. The craftsmanship, technical excellence and sheer beauty of their exquisite movements and cases, manufactured during the ‘golden age’ of watch-making, has never been beaten – perhaps equalled occasionally, but never beaten!
An IWC is often referred to as a ‘watchmaker’s watch’. This is simply because watchmakers love them, both to work on and to own. This is due to the design, technical excellence and particularly the sheer beauty of their watch movements.