A House For The Future
The PEAK Malaysia|January 2019
A House For The Future

A major new IWC production facility is the latest milestone in the brand’s traditional watchmaking-meets-high-tech story.

Lynette Koh

There is no doubt that IWC’s new integrated facility is its pride and joy, and one that it is proud to show to the world. In our second outing to the heart of German-speaking Switzerland for the opening of the IWC Manufakturzentrum, there are absolutely no limits on photography or video-recording, and we practically breathe down the necks of some of the watchmakers. This is a far cry from four years ago, when we visited IWC’s headquarters and its other key facility at nearby Neuhausen, and strict restrictions were placed on photography, as well as where we could venture.

We would want to show it off, too: Located in Merishausen, a Schaffhausen municipality just a 10-minute drive away from the brand’s headquarters on Baumgartenstrasse, the 13,500 sq m facility makes a definite first impression. Amid a thoroughly verdant setting, it is a long, low-lying building with a facade dominated by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and rigorously rectangular white concrete structures. Partly designed by the brand’s CEO, Christoph Grainger-Herr – an architect and interior designer by training – the facility is meant to see IWC at least 50 years into the future.

Housing key processes – including case and movement-part production, as well as movement assembly – under its massive roof, the Manufakturzentrum brings together 239 skilled workers and high-precision machines in a logical, continuous production flow.

“We don’t just celebrate candlelight romance,” says Grainger-Herr with a wry smile, during a roundtable interview. “In watchmaking, there are times when the human touch is the only thing that makes a difference. But it’s never a contradiction to have machine technology come together with the human hand. I don’t think we need to be afraid to use the best technology to make a better product.”

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January 2019