IWC Schaffhausen recently unveiled its new collection at SIHH in Geneva. Azyaamode speaks with Christian Knoop, Creative Director-IWC Schaffhausen, to discover more about the new novelties and ladies watches.


What does your role at IWC entail?

I look after the aesthetics of the brand and visual elements. My team works on all the visual aspects of the brand – we do the watches, corporate design, branding, catalogues, visual merchandising, packaging, advertising concepts and even the film concepts. And we believe it is really important to use our own people for all these creation aspects – people who know the brand and are very reactive to problems, and can come up with concepts very quickly, if needed. This has been a part of our culture for 50 years.

What prompted the recent Midsize Portofino women’s line?

IWC has been making ladies watches for 140 years and it so happened that in the last 10 years, we predominantly focused on men’s watches. But in the last 15 years, we have matured as a brand. We decided to rediscover our history and the ladies watches, and we have seen fantastic watches in the 1920s, in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. We had small cases in the 80s on the Portofino, the gold watches, diamonds on the Portofino, colorful straps, moon faces on DaVinci ladies watches. But looking at 150 years of history, it is not such a big, surprising step.

What were the changes in design aesthetic for this line?

We are known to have six different product collections and Portofino is one of them. It was the right collection to start with, so we compared it to the Portofino ladies watches from the eighties and even made the cases a bit bigger because women now wear slightly bigger watches. Also, in the eighties we had a couple of watches with Quartz movement; we wanted to stay faithful to the fact that we only have mechanical movement and did not want to compromise on it. For the rest, we looked at the case and dial aesthetics that would go with the rest of the line and blend with the Portofinos.

What kind of woman wears the Portofino watch?

Interestingly, even during the 10 years that we focused on men’s watches, there were women buying our watches. The Portofino is still fairly a large watch; it is clean, pure and faithful to the DNA of IWC. So, I would say women who wear the Portofino appreciate design and purity more than romantic and playful aesthetics, which are not our business at IWC.

What kind of trends do you foresee in the ladies line?

In the new range, we have included three references and we are targeting women. The watches are forever more sporty and there is no diamond set complications. These are beautiful watches with leather straps and leather bracelets to be worn everyday.

Do you have a personal favorite?

If there is a piece that I would consider for myself then it would be the Heritage 48, as it perfectly combines the historic design with a contemporary movement and modern aesthetics.

What are the IWC novelties being launched this year?

This year with what we have launched, we wanted to emphasize the fact that IWC is the original manufacturer of pilot watches, which we started doing back in 1936. We did the first Rio pilot watches and were the first brand to place it in the context of luxury in the 90s. The introduction of IWC Big Pilot 2002 was pretty much in line with that. This year, we wanted to show a collection that emphasizes this heritage and is also more luxurious. So, we worked on our references to form a more sophisticated appeal and introduced a couple of outstanding novelties with heritage pieces. We also introduced new innovations like the Time Zone movement watch targeting women. It is a broad collection, which fits the market.

How long does it take to develop a collection?

It takes us around two years to develop a new collection. We are always two to three years ahead with our problems, thoughts and ideas. We also have design teams and dedicated designers for each collection – they keep working on it. And while I am here, I still have some ideas for, maybe, the next collection.

Have you ever made changes to a model per customer feedback?

Yes. The new mark and chronograph on the Pilots have a single date window, while the previous collection had a triple date. The innovative triple date was introduced in 2012. However, it was copied by a couple of other brands. So, we moved back to the single date with our new collection following feedback from our collectors.


Smitha Sadanandan