The IWC Wristwatch Company has to be one of the most well respected and admired of all the great watch making houses. First started in 1868 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland the name associated with the company is that of Florentine Ariosto Jones, an American who settled in the pretty Swiss village and decided that it would be a good place to set up a watch making concern. His plan was to make watches for the American market as labor was cheap and plentiful in the watch making industry in Switzerland at the time.
The second person associated with the company is that of Johann Heinrich Moser. The two met and Moser offered Jones a deal renting his industrial units to him. Moser was also responsible for the development of the first hydro-electric power supply in the region that brought the industrial revolution to the area. Jones accepted and started work putting together the first watch making company in the Schaffhausen region.
The company started production of pocket watches after about two years, however the production figures envisaged never materialized and soon the company found itself in tight financial conditions. Rather than let the company fall into liquidation it was sold to the Rauschenbach family and so remained under their control for the best part of the next 100 years.
The most significant changes to the entire horological industry have occurred over the past 40 years with the advent of electricity used to power watches, make them cheaper and lighter and more appealing to the masses. However, IWC appeared to have a reluctance to spend heavily on these new technologies, instead concentrating on their mechanical timepieces.
Despite Japan releasing huge quantities of cheap, throw-away watches IWC has always maintained a market share with their high-quality and expensive mechanical timepieces. In 1978 the company was bought by Instek AG and in 1991 the LMH Group was founded, comprising IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A.Lange & Sohne, finally that group was bought by Richemont, a luxury goods retailer.
For the collector the IWC wristwatch is difficult to fault, yet sometimes impossible to afford! Notable special IWC wristwatches are the Da Vinci, the Grande Complication, and the Spitfire range of pilots’ watches. There are many, many more that are worthy of purchase, in fact I can't think of a single one that's not!
Today's U.S. Auctions of Sale Items on eBay.