Flying High
The PEAK Malaysia|November 2019
Flying High
Hannes Pantli, Board Member of IWC Schaffhausen, was in Malaysia recently to launch the IWC Pilot’s Watches Exhibition at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. The Peak speaks to him about his long legacy with the watchmaker and what this year’s Pilot’s Watch collection means for the brand.

Your career with IWC Schaffhausen goes all the way back to 1972, when you first joined as a sales delegate, and you even played a hand in bringing to life one of the maison’s bestselling lines, the Portofino. What drew you to IWC in the first place and what has kept you there all this while?

There’s a certain age in Switzerland where everyone receives a watch from his godfather. Everybody got regular watches but one boy got an IWC. We didn’t know what it was and when we asked, they said, “If you don’t know what IWC is, that’s your problem”. And I never forgot that. When I was approached by a head hunter from IWC, I said great. I gave myself a year or two because Schaffhausen is a small place. Then, everything went down the drain because of the Quartz Crisis. The price of gold went from 5,000 francs up to 40,000 francs, meaning gold watches tripled their prices in the span of six months. We had to reorganise the whole company and I can say I saved the company from bankruptcy by creating new markets, especially in the Middle East. I arrived with a collection and went from one royal family to the next. It was very difficult but, slowly, we built up the brand again, and here we are today.

In all your time with the brand, what would you say has been the biggest change within IWC and the watchmaking industry as a whole?


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November 2019