HE’S GOT RANGE Why this dig­i­tal spe­cial­ist can­not get enough of me­chan­i­cal time­pieces.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents -

The new in­te­grated IWC Man­u­fak­turzen­trum cov­ers a stun­ning 13,500 sq m in to­tal area, but its ex­pan­sive­ness is not an end in it­self. It was de­signed with growth and ver­sa­til­ity in mind. With a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 400, there is room for al­most dou­ble its cur­rent work­force of 239.


Christoph GraingerHerr, who of­fi­cially took up the po­si­tion of CEO at IWC in April 2017, is an ar­chi­tect and in­te­rior de­signer by train­ing. He helped to de­sign the new fa­cil­ity, which he likens to a “mod­ernist pavil­ion”.


Case pro­duc­tion is car­ried out in the base­ment. Next to the case pro­duc­tion area are bars of met­als used for watch cases, in­clud­ing steel, ti­ta­nium, bronze and the brand’s own Cer­ata­nium, a mix of ti­ta­nium and ce­ramic boast­ing the light­ness and scratch-re­sis­tance, re­spec­tively, of both ma­te­ri­als.


Move­ment assem­bly is car­ried out in a class-seven clean room (more on that later). While small-se­ries move­ments such as that of the Tribute to Pall­we­ber watch and com­plex mod­ules like the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar are still as­sem­bled the tra­di­tional, A-to-Z way over at head­quar­ters, the line sys­tem ap­plies to the assem­bly of all the move­ments at the Man­u­fak­turzen­trum. These com­prise the au­to­matic move­ments of Cal­i­bre fam­i­lies 52 and 82, the Cal­i­bre fam­ily 59 hand-wound move­ments, and the Cal­i­bre 69 chrono­graph move­ments; as well as the new Por­tugieser Chrono­graph move­ment.

Ex­plains IWC COO An­dreas Voll: “Be­fore one watch­maker was do­ing one move­ment from A to Z. Now, we have bro­ken down the whole assem­bly process into mul­ti­ple sub-pro­cesses, which al­lows us to as­sign ded­i­cated watch­mak­ing spe­cial­ists to each pro­duc­tion step.”

The ex­pan­sive spa­ces be­tween sta­tions al­low for greater ver­sa­til­ity in quickly re­or­gan­is­ing the assem­bly lines – an im­por­tant fea­ture that al­lows IWC to re­act to fast-chang­ing mar­ket de­mands.


The build­ing houses key pro­cesses such as case and move­ment­part pro­duc­tion, as well as move­ment assem­bly. Some 1,500 parts are pro­duced at the move­ment­com­po­nent pro­duc­tion work­shop. These in­clude com­po­nents for base move­ments, as well as those for com­pli­ca­tions such as per­pet­ual cal­en­dars, an­nual cal­en­dars and tour­bil­lons. Be­cause of the very low tol­er­ances re­quired for these parts – think ac­cu­racy to the thou­sandths of a mil­lime­tre – most of the pro­cesses here are au­to­mated.

Com­po­nents are later moved to the move­ment dec­o­ra­tion depart­ment, where white-coated work­ers per­form their tasks adroitly along­side ma­chines. We saw a young woman ap­ply per­lage – or cir­cu­lar en­grav­ing – to a small, skele­tonised ro­tor, while a ma­chine nearby

ap­plied a sim­i­lar dec­o­ra­tion to big­ger move­ment plates.


Watch­mak­ers have to change into spe­cial, anti-static coats be­fore en­ter­ing the class­seven clean room where move­ment assem­bly takes place.

Ex­plains Voll: “This means you have a ten­fold air ex­change per hour. In our 1,200 sq m move­ment assem­bly area, that means we have an ex­change of 50,000 cu­bic me­tres of air per hour. We have two sep­a­rate air­locks that em­ploy­ees and the watch­mak­ers have to pass be­fore get­ting into the room.” Also, the pres­sure here is kept above at­mo­spheric lev­els, which fur­ther helps to keep dust out.


Two watch­maker work­sta­tions let vis­i­tors get hands on with tools of the trade.

Mov­ing for­ward, the brand ex­pects to host more than 10,000 vis­i­tors to the Man ufa kt ur zen tr um each year. There will be guided tours that are open to IWC cus­tomers, the me­dia and the pub­lic. In fact, says GraingerHerr: “Our next phase is to dig­i­talise this ex­pe­ri­ence; to make the Man ufa kt ur zen tr um an ex­pe­ri­ence for every­body around the globe. I’d love to do di­rect ques­tio­nand-an­swer ses­sions from here that will be broad­cast.”




Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.