IWC Schaffhausen – From a dream to a global luxury brand

Gulf Insider meets Mehdi Rajan, Brand Director of IWC Schaffhausen, about the company’s rich history and global presence.

What is IWC Schaffhausen?
IWC Schaffhausen was created by an American, Florentine Ariosto Jones, when he left the US for Switzerland with a very bold dream. He wanted to combine the industrial system of watch making with Swiss craftsmanship and expertise. It was by the banks of the river Rhine in the city of Schaffhausen, Switzerland that he founded his international watch company in 1868. IWC Schaffhausen is the dream of an engineer who wanted the best of two worlds.

IWC Schaffhausen uses celebrity endorsements a lot, why?
There are many reasons we collaborate with ambassadors and friends of the brand. For one, it is important to have presence and awareness globally. Every ambassador that we collaborate with is genuinely a friend of the brand. Regionally we have Indian actress Sonam Kapoor, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, Hend Sabri, Raya Abirached and a lot more. All are watch aficionados and engaged with the brand. I think that is what makes these endorsements so successful, because they genuinely love and appreciate the brand. It is something we build organically with them.

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IWC Schaffhausen is also associated with conservation projects, tell us about the projects the company is currently involved with?
We currently have a lot of projects. The Laureus sport for good foundation has the most echo. We are one of the main sponsors of the foundation in helping children overcome handicaps in life through sports. Every year we actively participate in their regional endeavors. We put much support on the local level aside from our global endeavors. We have a special edition watch every year for the foundation, limited to 1500. Part of the proceeds go to the foundation. We also have partnerships with AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry which fights illiteracy around the world, Charles Darwin foundation in preserving the Galapagos islands, Cousteau Society, and a lot more. The brand is very much aware of its corporate social responsibility and is involved in preservation projects around the world which we take great pride in.

What is the current state of the luxury watch market, and particularly for IWC Schaffhausen?
The watch making industry is in a phase of consolidation and rationalization which is effecting all brands. We are focusing on less partners and more partnerships. We want to grow organically, not just spontaneously have presence around the world in multiple malls and such. We are focusing on where we are today and how to improve from there. The biggest ambition and task we have is to focus on the experience we provide to clients. Buying a watch is an emotional journey, not just a commodity. We are putting all our resources, from marketing, to sales, to training, to development, to product, and everyone involved in the company towards experience and customer concentricity.

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What are IWC Schaffhausen’s future plans?
One we are really excited about regionally is re-entering the Saudi market. We have a new boutique opening around spring in Riyadh. We opened a second manufacturial to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand. We are also celebrating this important anniversary of the brand by creating a capsule collection of 29 references that pay tribute to our heritage and history. This very limited collection is much sought after in the world.

For more information:
IWC Schaffhausen watches can be viewed in Bahrain exclusively at Asia Jewelers, Moda Mall.
Tel: +973 17431171