IWC. A Stainless Steel Automatic Wristwatch
Automatic jeweled movement IWC calibre 85, silvered matte dial, applied numerals, outer beady minute divisions, gold dauphine hands, center seconds, circular water-resistant case, screw back, case, dial, and movement signed
The International Watch Company was founded when Florentine Ariosto Jones, deputy director of the E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. in Boston, journeyed to Switzerland to develop a new watchmaking company. This company would have the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmaking with modern engineering from the Americas, with the intent that his timepieces would be sold in America. However, his plans for a large modern factory with centralized production were met with skepticism from the local watchmakers. In Schaffhausen, Jones found a more receptive audience, and the IWC factory was built on the River Rhine in 1875.
By 1899, the first IWC wristwatch was produced – featuring a small ladies pocket watch movement in a case that was fitted with lugs. In 1915, IWC developed two new calibers that were specifically for use in wristwatches – the caliber 75 was without seconds, and the caliber 76 with small seconds.
In 1944 Albert Pellaton joined IWC as the technical director, and by 1946 produced his first design – the caliber 89 movement which featured central seconds and was known for its accuracy. In 1950, Pellaton designed the firm’s first automatic winding mechanism. The caliber 81 used a patented pawl-winding system and had small seconds. The caliber 85 with center seconds followed in 1951. The biggest advantages of this system were that it was easy to disassemble for servicing and it provided shock resistance. An improved caliber 852 followed in 1952, with a number of changes including a Breguet spring, and an increased balance frequency.
By 1953, IWC began using the caliber 852 and 8521 (with date display) in their Ingenieur line. IWC had produced watches with the automatic calibers 85 and 852 before launching the Ingenieur. These early automatic wristwatches, such as the present example, represent an important and integral part of IWC’s history.