Community Articles October 17, 2002 admin
A Guided Tour Of The IWC Factory
5. Movement Production and Assembly
The primary reason for the success and respect for the brand is that while IWC has concentrated on advance technology, they have not forgotten the importance of the human factor. What sets IWC watches apart is that their timepieces are assembled and finished by hand. Even computers and ultra-modern machines can’t eliminate the distinct quality of a hand-finished watch.
Here, watchmakers work with some of the same basic hand tools used by their predecessors over a century ago.
Precision manual procedures are done by hand along the assembly operations.
Watch parts and components are inspected under high-power microscopes to eliminate those that don’t meet the tolerances and expected finish requirements.
All adjustments, polishing, chamfering, beveling, chasing and engraving gets done before the watch components are assembled into the final finished movement. Balances are poised
and hairsprings adjusted and regulated for timekeeping.
IWC makes no secret of its using basic ETA and VALJOUX movements but, after they’re modified, finished and decorated, they take on a meaning all their own. The results of these refinements not only add functional value but are aesthetically spectacular.
IWC has a proud tradition of offering exquisite engraving and enamelling on their pocket watches.
The DAVINCI is one of IWC’s fascinating timepieces perhaps because it represents a small piece of eternity and also will probably outlive us all. With the single turn of the crown the owner can automatically set the time,day, date, month, moon, decade and year at once. No other watch is made quite like it.
Meet Mr. Kurt Klaus, senior technician and father of the DaVinci. He was my instructor at the factory during training and stands next to a large drawing of the calendar program of the DaVinci movement. He was also responsible for introducing a new calibre for LANGE, IWC’s sister company in Germany.
The Davinci is made in gold, steel and platinum as well as in a ceramic case.
In fact, IWC is one of the first pioneers to make watch cases from ceramic.
To preset the calendars of DaVinci watches after assembly, IWC has made an ingenious tool which allows rapid factory setting of these specialty watches.
The writer acknowledges thanks to IWC, International Wristwatch magazine, and others for information gathered to cover parts of this report.
Thank you for taking this tour and getting familiar with IWC. Your comments are welcome and can be sent direct to me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(copyrighted by Jack Freedman, 10/98)