08/19/2015
 3 minutes

IWC Schaffhausen, the Audi of watchmaking

By Christopher Beccan
IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar

We’ve told you the story before about IWC and how one of the most revered watch brands all started when 27-year-old engineer and watchmaker, Florentine Ariosto Jones from Boston, America, travelled to Switzerland and established the watch brand “International Watch Company” in 1868. But it would take some time before IWC went from good product but average brand, to globally known luxury watch brand.

Now, a car brand that shares some similarities is Audi. Why you may ask? While not as obvious as our last watch and car pairing of the Porsche 911 and a Rolex, let me assure you, there are some. Audi have always had a great product: I remember when the world famous Quattro system that Audi introduced, which changed the rallying scene. And I guess you could liken this development to that of the Portuguese. If you remember when it was first introduced in 1939, it was considered one of the largest dress watches at the time measuring some 43mm in diameter, it was in many ways ahead of its time.

What is uncanny though, is the thought that in their infancy just how unknown these too companies were on the world stage. During the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Audi were never really at the forefront of motor racing, as say the likes of Porsche, Ford, Ferrari or even for that matter Mercedes. Things for IWC were pretty much the same too. However now, both brands are in the complete opposite position; they are household names and leaders in their respective luxury fields.

In 1880, some years after its foundation, the ownership of IWC changed hands to one Johannes Rauschenbach-Vogel. At this time the philosophy of the product “Probus Scafusia” (which loosely translates into the confirmed excellence of Schaffhausen) would become known and maintained till today and the same goes for Audi.

Historically made up of a band of four different car companies, today owned by Volkswagen, even Audi have a poignant slogan: “Vorsprung durch Technik” (meaning Advancement through Technology) – though if you are American that slogan isn’t as impressive and simply reads “Truth in Engineering.”

I guess another similarity you could draw on, is their vast range. Both companies are doing very well, covering a wide range, from entry level to super-high end. Audi have the A1, which is Audi’s entry-level luxury car, followed by the A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 and lastly the A8. Audi also have a full-size crossover SUV in the shape of the Q8. They also have smaller versions of this too in the shape of the Q5 and Q3. And if you are looking for something seriously fast they have the R8 and to a lesser extent the TT. IWC have their entry-level range too, starting with the Portofino, though this particular model only really works with the dress or smart casual look. Moving through the rest of the range; the Pilots, Ingenieur, Aquatimer, Da Vinci and probably their most coveted family, the Portuguese range. Through out these families there is something for everyone in all walks of life.

Clearly both Audi and IWC have a vast range that simply targets a wide audience, which in turn is the reason why both are so successful today.

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph Ref. 3714
IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph Ref. 3714

About the Author

Christopher Beccan

Christopher Beccan is the founder of the online magazine "Bexsonn," where he regularly writes about his two passions: extraordinary timepieces and whiskey. His work …

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