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REPORT: IWC



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JBHII

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Published on 03-22-2010 12:50 PM

Number of Views: 2834

IWC "Engineering Time" Press Event In Schaffhausen Switzerland

By: John B. Holbrook, II

3/16/10


On March 16th, the watch company IWC held an official Press Event to promote the launch of their new book entitled “IWC Schaffhausen. Engineering Time since 1868” at their headquarters in Schaffhausen Switzerland. I was one of over 80 members of the press from around the world who were invited to attend the event. For more information about you can read the Official Press Release posted in the WATCH TALK FORUMS IWC Forum by clicking here.

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IWC has one of the largest manufacturing facilities I've had the pleasure of visiting - they've made many additions and expansions to the original buildings of their Schaffhausen headquarters:

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The smiling faces at the IWC reception desk:

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Here's the conference room where the press conference was held - I made sure to get a seat front and center so I could get good photos during the conference.

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The assembled group of journalists all eager to learn more about IWC's new book:

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This was a great opportunity for me to see some of my friends and fellow journalists in the watch industry - here's freelance journalist and author Elizabeth Doerr with IW Magazine Editor-In-Chief Gary George Girdvainis:

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The press conference began, and IWC CEO Georges Kern took the stage:

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Mr. Kern opened the press conference by explaining that IWC was launching a new book entitled “IWC Schaffhausen. Engineering Time since 1868.” According to Kern, a guiding principle for the creation of this book was the notion that it should have a very wide audience appeal, and not simply a volume which "preaches to the choir" of IWC fans and watch enthusiasts in general. This book is intended to be entertaining and interesting to those who may know little to nothing about IWC or even watches in general.

To accomplish this ambitious feat, IWC commissioned a diverse trio of "A List" talent to work on the project. Each of the contributors were brought on stage and participated in a question and answer session with Mr. Kern. First up was Manfred Fritz - a name which should be familiar to IWC fans - He is recognized as a connoisseur with a profound knowledge of the watchmaking industry and of IWC Schaffhausen, and he has supported the work of the company as a publicist for many years. Thanks to his experience with writing about IWC watches and the company history, he was the perfect choice to be the primary writer for the book:

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Joining Manfred Fritz as a writer on this project is famed Brazilian author Paulo Coelho - most famous for the book "The Alchemist." Paulo Coelho essentially created, as IWC describes it, "a book within the book." Coelho provides seven stylistic short stories seamlessly woven into the main exposition provided by Manfred Fritz.

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Contributing illustrations to this project is noted French cartoonist and illustrator Enki Bilal. Bilal provides a dynamic visual uniqueness to this book which transcends traditional watch photography found in most watch related books.

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Here are the "Three Amigos" together - interestingly enough, this was the first time all three talents had come together since beginning this project which was three years in the making. Each contributor worked independently on their portion of the book.

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After the Press Conference, the gathered journalists were broken into groups and had hour-long sessions with each of the individual contributors, and we had the opportunity to see some preliminary copies of the book. I was extremely impressed by the passion and diversity these three contributors brought to this book. Based on the talent they've collected, I anticipate the initial print run of 10,000 books (a sizable print run unheard of in the rest of the watch book publishing world) will sell out.

During lunch, I had the opportunity to step outside and take a few photos of lovely Schaffhausen.

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After the sessions with the contributors, the journalists were given the opportunity to have a brief factory tour at IWC - the guided tour only lasted 30 minutes, and we did not go inside the glass enclosed rooms in which the watch makers performed their work. I was however promised that IWC would bring me back to Schaffhausen to do a more extensive factory tour in the near future.

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I did take a few photos through the glass of the IWC watch makers at work:

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After the tour, our day with IWC was officially over - but before transporting us back to our hotel, the kind people of IWC made the generous offer to take us to the nearby Rhine Falls - Europe's largest waterfall. it cascades over a 500-foot-wide rock shelf, in a 75-foot drop.

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We were taken by boat to this rocky cliff and climbed the stairs up to the observation point at the top.

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Later that evening at a press dinner, I learned from Michael Friedberg (the Moderator of the IWC Collectors' Forum on the IWC website) that he'd been taken on a tour of the new IWC production facility where manufacturing of both their in-house movements and cases will take place - an impressive step forward for IWC. The newly renovated building can be seen in this photo - it overlooks the Rhine Falls - I believe it is the building which has the blue "SIG" sign at the top:

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The following day, our group of assembled journalists were treated to another rare tread - a flight on the IWC JU-52! According to Wikepedia, the Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju - "Auntie Ju" - and "Iron Annie") was a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Lufthansa as an airliner and freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber. The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.

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Off we go!

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We flew in breathtaking formation with a 2nd JU-52 which also was carrying journalists traveling from the IWC event to Basel - about a 40 minute flight.

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Here's a great view of the Swiss Alps:

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I for one am greatly anticipating the release of “IWC Schaffhausen. Engineering Time since 1868” which I'm told should arrive some time in April. Based on what I've seen, I think this book will be very influential - not only for IWC, but for the watch industry in general and may change how the industry does these types of books in the future. I'll be doing a review of the book once I receive it which will of course be published right here on WATCH TALK FORUMS! For more information on “IWC Schaffhausen. Engineering Time since 1868” please read the Official Press Release from IWC in the WATCH TALK FORUMS IWC Forum by clicking here.

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**Photos & Text Copyright 2010 WATCH TALK FORUMS, INC. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.


This article was originally published in forum thread:

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