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At The Forefront of Technology

As a brand that embraces new ideas and technologies effortlessly, IWC wants to offer customers the possibility to interact with them on new platforms like the metaverse. IWC Creative Director Christian Knoop says these new opportunities add a new and surprising level to the brand experience.

For the last 14 years you’ve been in IWC, what are the key changes in watch design and consumer behaviour?

The whole process of designing a watch has changed dramatically over the last decades. Some years ago, a designer and a watchmaker were the only people at the table when creating a new timepiece. Nowadays, many more disciplines are involved; designers, movement and case engineers, material scientists, product management, marketing and sales, after-sales, and purchasing. The fact that you have all these specialists involved not only makes the process more complicated but also contributes to a product with a much better quality that is designed to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. In watch design, there are constantly changing trends. For example, we have been observing a trend towards casualization in recent years, leading to a growing demand for sports watches. We have a comprehensive product offering across elegant watches and sports watches, and we notice that our customers demand more sporty and casual designs. An interesting point is also how the current “always-on” trend has impacted our launch strategy. Some years ago, we focused on one big product family launch every year. Today, we continuously exchange ideas with customers and partners on social media and other channels. As a result, there are product developments and launches throughout the whole year. And there is a much more targeted and sophisticated approach to reach our customers through different channels in different markets worldwide.

There are great collections which come with great history like Ingenieur launched in 1976 by Gerald Genta. What is your process in updating these designs into today’s world?

The collaboration between Gerald Genta and IWC Schaffhausen marks one of the most important milestones in the history of our brand. The Ingenieur that Genta created is an absolute icon for me as a designer. We will launch a succession product true to the Genta DNA in the near future. Stay tuned for more to come.

We are seeing bold colours in dials and cases by many brands. And now the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph comes in a beautiful white case. Any tips on how to style these bold watches in everyday life?

Bold colours have been an integral part of our product offering for many years. Recently, at Watches and Wonders in Geneva, we showed a “best of” out Big Pilot’s Watch special editions since 2002 with some quite extravagant pieces in neon green or orange – not to mention the spectacular Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Lewis Hamilton Edition in black ceramic with a burgundy dial and golden crown. We also showed the pieces created in the context of our IWC Professional Pilot’s Watches Program, where we engineer bespoke timepieces for selected units of the US Navy, featuring squadron patches and their bold signature colours on the dials and various details of the watches. With our new “The colours of TOP GUN” collection and our partnership with Pantone, we have taken the colour topic to a whole new level this year, both technically and intellectually. The manufacturing of coloured ceramics is a true feat of engineering, as numerous trials are needed to determine the right mix of raw materials. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula OneTM team” with a black dial and printing in the team’s signature Petronas green which we recently presented also demonstrates the strength of the iconic IWC designs finding new creative expressions through colour. Playing around with colours and different straps, our EasX-CHANGE® system, which lets you change the strap quickly and easily without needing any additional tools, comes in handy. This adds a playful element and gives our customers the freedom to adapt their watch to their outfits and surroundings.

Smartwatches, the metaverse, NFTs… Do you think a watch should keep its origins or adapt to the future?

At IWC, we fundamentally believe in the durability and collectability of mechanical watches. If a mechanical watch is well-cared for, it might tick forever. In our restoration department, our specially trained vintage watchmakers service and repair every timepiece manufactured in Schaffhausen since 1868. However, we are also a brand that is at the forefront of technology. For example, we have been among the first luxury watch brands to fully embrace social media extensively, and we have also integrated e-commerce into our distribution network. In this logic, we want to offer our customers the possibility to interact with IWC on new platforms like the metaverse, which add a new and surprising level to the brand experience. We also believe that the NFT topic can be highly relevant in the luxury industry.


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