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In 1868, Florentine Ariosto Jones, a watchmaker from Boston, founded the International Watch Co. in Schaffhausen, away from the watch manufacturers of French Switzerland. His goal was to combine innovative production techniques with the famous American craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers. It was in Schaffhausen that Jones found the ideal conditions: modern industrial plants, a hydroelectric plant fed by the Rhine to operate the machinery and, not least, a century-old watchmaking tradition. The very first Jones caliber, named in honor of the founder of the factory, helped since then to create the excellent reputation that IWC still has. In 1885, the innovative approach was confirmed by the manufacturing pocket watches Pallweber, the revolutionary digital display of hours and minutes. The late nineteenth century saw the emergence of the first IWC wristwatches with caliber 64 pocket movement.

The families of IWC - Pilot's Watches, the Portuguese, Ingenieur, Aquatimer, Da Vinci and Portofino - have a long tradition. They testify the innovative spirit of the engineers of Schaffhausen through four generations and reflect the wide experience of manufacturing: from robust watches for everyday wear to sports professional, to the complications of the best Haute Horlogerie. To these there were added the special timepieces as the Grande Complication and the IWC Vintage Collection.

Today more than 1,100 employees, including 120 highly qualified watchmakers, engaged in the design, manufacture and distribution of these masterpieces of mechanical perfection. Since 2000, the factory is part of the Swiss group Richemont.