The history of IWC headquarters
The headquarters of the International Watch Company today stand on a site that used to be the orchard belonging to the All Saints monastery in Schaffhausen. The premises were built between 1874 and 1875 in the garden, directly adjacent to the banks of the Rhine, based on plans by the architect G. Meyer.
It was the new factory belonging to an American watchmaker by the name of Florentine Ariosto Jones, whose pioneering spirit led him to found the first and only watchmaking company in north-eastern Switzerland. Behind the building’s impressive façade, IWC has been producing watches that have established themselves as classics worldwide for approximately 140 years. And now the company is opening its doors to the general public, who can see and admire the work of the engineers from Schaffhausen.
Back in 1993, on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, IWC set up an exclusive museum in the attic of its headquarters – by this time a listed building – and became Switzerland’s first watch manufacturer with such a facility. Drawing on an impressive series of collector’s items, some of them never displayed before, the exhibition documented the company’s fascinating products from those ambitious early years all the way through to the triumphant rebirth of one of IWC’s most classic timepieces, the Portuguese from IWC.
In 2007, IWC trumped its past achievements with a totally newly designed watch museum on the converted ground floor of the main building. In spaces once given over to the manufacture of cases and watch parts, light-flooded rooms and display cases set off the exhibits to their best advantage. Production has been relocated to more spacious premises directly next door, making room for many more exhibits and a multimedia presentation documenting the company’s history. The new home of IWC watches represents the world of an international luxury brand: together with the objects on display, it creates surroundings that are at once modern and timeless, lux-urious yet functional, and with every convenience the visitor could possibly wish for.