WATCHES

IWC has pulled the wraps off an all-new man­u­fac­ture, one that aims to pair its cen­turies-worth of watch­mak­ing smarts with cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy of the fu­ture

Esquire Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE THE STYLE - BY THOMAS SHAMBLER

IWC un­veil their new cut­ting-edge man­u­fac­turer

IT MUST BE HANDY FOR IWC – one of the world’s pre-emi­nent watch­mak­ers — to have an ex-ar­chi­tect as its CEO. Not only does he un­der­stand he com­pli­cated de­sign lan­guage that goes along with cre­at­ing some of the most com­plex time­pieces on the planet, but if you’re ever in need of a new watch­mak­ing fa­cil­ity, he can step in and de­sign it him­self. Job done.

That’s ex­actly what hap­pened just months ago, as IWC CEO Chris Grainger of­fi­cially chris­tened IWC’S new fa­cil­ity, in its Switzer­land-based home of Shauffhausen. Sand­wiched be­tween the Rhine River and the old town (where the com­pany first be­gan mak­ing watches, some 150-years ago), this new fa­cil­ity is an ode to mod­ernism.

A heady mix of glass, steel and con­crete; the new IWC ‘Man­u­fak­turzen­trum’ looks like some­thing from James Bond’s wheel­house. And the sim­i­lar­i­ties aren’t just skin deep, as this new fa­cil­ity boasts cut­tingedge tech­nol­ogy at its core (not least when it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment). Atraipsed around its halls ear­lier this month, and here are just a few of its coolest new fea­tures.

The build­ing was in­spired by the Modernist pavil­ions built for early 20th cen­tury ex­po­si­tions, but makes use of mod­ern-day build­ing ma­te­ri­als and green­friendly tech­nol­ogy This is the first time IWC has built a new fa­cil­ity (in­stead of bolt­ing de­part­ments onto its ex­ist­ing one) since the brand’s founder F.A. Jones built the orig­i­nal man­u­fac­ture in 1874 IWC CEO Chris Grainger (him­self a trained ar­chi­tect) served as the build­ing’s lead de­signer, and came up with ev­ery­thing from the ba­sic aes­thetic to the in­di­vid­ual fin­ishes The new Man­u­fak­turzen­trum has opened on the 150th an­niver­sary of the brand, but ac­cord­ing to IWC that was not in­ten­tional (it’s a “happy coin­ci­dence”)

Nearly every part of IWC’S watch­mak­ing process can be seen and ex­pe­ri­enced by vis­i­tors; from the in­dus­trial­ma­chin­ery used to cre­ate watch cases, to the craft­ing of in­di­vid­ual move­ments by hand

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