In its new Manufakturzentrum, IWC Schaffhausen marries traditional watchmaking with state-of-the-art manufacturing methods and technologies. Outstanding levels of quality and precision can be attained in the production of movement components and cases courtesy of the most advanced turning and milling centres. Assembling the manufacture movements, in contrast, is a task that must be carefully performed by hand. Only in the experienced hands of the watchmaker will the mechanical heart of the watch finally begin to beat.
Completed in just 21 months, IWC’s new Manufak – turzentrum sits on the outskirts of the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. Even as you approach the building, it becomes clear that the watch manufacturer has raised a monument – both literally and figuratively – in a year that also coincides with the company’s 150th anniversary. The glass façade with its black frames stands in stark contrast to the white, flat roofs that extend beyond the façade. “Back in 1868, our founder Florentine Ariosto Jones was already pairing traditional watchmaking with advanced production methods. Ever since he established this approach to engineering, we have been systematically developing it; even today, we continue to combine skilled workmanship and sophisticated technology in our new Manufakturzentrum. But the building has more to offer than just optimal conditions for production and excellent working conditions for our employees – it also embodies the spirit of the IWC brand and allows visitors from all over the world to see up close how our manufacture movements and cases are produced”, reveals Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
In its Manufakturzentrum, IWC brings together the production of movement components, manufacture movements and cases in one place – a milestone in the company’s history. For Andreas Voll, COO of IWC Schaffhausen, this sees a long-held hope of his finally come to fruition: “The new building has given us the opportunity to configure our production processes precisely as is best for ensuring that they run optimally and produce perfect quality. So, for example, the entire process of creating value, from the raw material to the individual movement component and on to the finished manufacture movement, progresses in a logical order on a single storey. I have been dreaming of this ever since I started at IWC back in 2007”
MOD E R N T E C H NOL O G Y F OR M A X IM U M P R E C I S I ON
The imposing, 9-metre high entrance lobby affords direct access to the movement-component production workshop. This is where around 1500 components are produced, including components for the automatic movements of calibre families 52 and 82, the hand- wound movements of calibre family 59, and the chronograph movements of calibre family 69. Complex components are manufactured, such as bottom plates, bridges and oscillating weights, as well as small components including switching levers, springs and latching elements. Some parts are so small that they are barely visible to the naked eye. This department’s activities also encompass the production of components for complications, such as perpetual calendars, annual calendars and tourbillons.