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Leader in Watchmaking

Every IWC watch is professionally finished by masters of their trade. For they are the individuals whose trained eyes, nimble fingers and precision instruments put together IWC watches from a collection of single parts: each a fascinating showpiece of meticulous workmanship, functionality and design; each an outstanding example of the art of watchmaking at its very best.

Whenever IWC starts developing a new model, one question needs to be asked. What, exactly, do the designers and construction specialists wish to achieve? Should the watch set new standards in complexity? Will its main strength be the power reserve, or perhaps its water-resistance? In an initial step, the first components are “modelled” using computeraided design. Here, IWC attaches enormous importance to integrating the work of construction and design with modern production technology. Working closely with the construction engineers, the watch designers play a crucial role in determining how best to harmonise form and function. The dial and the strap or bracelet, the positioning of the displays, the choice of materials and colours or the surface finish are always the logical outcome of constructive teamwork. Apart from the technological achievement and an attractive design, other, more emotional, aspects – such as the way the watch actually feels in the hand – also play an important role. Thus, the feel of the edge of the case, the way a push-button is activated or the sound of the crown as it engages are not left to chance. Often, the construction engineers and designers will take their inspiration from old drawings. Ultimately, it is respect for the watchmaking pioneers of the past that guarantees continuity at the Schaffhausenbased company.

Thanks to a sophisticated development and quality management system backed by an exacting inspection and testing programme, IWC is able to guarantee quality of the highest order. The advanced scientific methods used include computer simulations drawing on three-dimensional models, X-ray-based material analyses or tests designed to show how the watches behave under extreme practical, everyday conditions. The use of high-speed cameras and laser measuring instruments makes even the tiniest movements visible, while sophisticated software calculates exactly what stresses a part will tolerate.

Details such as wheels, shafts, tooth profiles or the dimensions of springs are examined for potential sources of error from the earliest phases of development. IWC calls this process failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). The developers draw on experience from earlier projects, feedback from the market and suggestions about ways of making the watches more servicefriendly. The result is an IWC watch that will continue to run and can be repaired for many, many years.

Qualification is a term used to describe a programme of around 30 gruelling tests lasting several months which are designed for new watches at the prototype phase or later as part of the approval process for the pilot series. These tests simulate, in condensed form, just about everything that can happen to a watch, under normal and extreme conditions, during the course of its long life. Only when several prototypes have passed stringent testing and a pilot run has revealed no more problems is the company ready to go into series manufacture, thereby adding another fascinating chapter to the legend that is IWC.

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