IWC Schaffhausen has opened the doors to its all-new flagship boutique in Zurich. Taking the concept of retail to a new dimension, IWC provides an interactive journey into its world, bringing to life the connection between engineering excellence in watchmaking and motorsport through a focus on the IWC Racing Team. The immersive experience includes memorabilia, virtual reality and even a live link to IWC’s Manufacturing Center in Schaffhausen for clients to enjoy as they browse the brand’s finely crafted timepieces.
Located on the ‘home straight’ of Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, the expanded and remodelled boutique has been styled as ‘IWC Racing Works’ – the global home of the brand’s classic racing team. The IWC boutique Zurich invites clients to enter the world of a bustling motor-racing workshop, appointed with a rich blend of motorsport memorabilia, engineering artefacts and unique timepieces that tell the story of the long-standing connection between IWC and motor racing. The motoring centrepiece is the IWC Racing Mercedes 300 SL “Gullwing” – the official car of the IWC Racing Team, driven by racing legends such as David Coulthard, Bernd Mayländer and Mercedes-AMG ambassador Bernd Schneider. Visitors can not only marvel at the sculptural beauty of the Gullwing, they are also invited to buckle up in the cockpit and put their racing skills to the test in a bespoke VR driving experience.
“ With this boutique we wanted to create a story our clients can walk into and become a part of – a permanent event bringing the world of IWC Racing to life. The Racing Works store offers a complete in-depth brand and service experience, as well as a centre of excellence for watchmaking.” – Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen
Upon entering the IWC boutique Zurich, clients step into a welcoming and personal space – an eclectic collector’s den filled with marvels of engineering and memories of great adventure. The presentation of the full collection of IWC timepieces takes centre stage, anchored by newly developed open and glass-free presentation cases for a more tactile product experience. The surrounding space is defined by distinct thematic zones:
The ‘Engineering Lab’ tells the story of IWC’s technical excellence and key innovations from the brand’s 152-year history. Movement models and material samples are complemented by a choreographed multimedia presentation.
The ‘Garage’ at the back of the storehouses the 300SL Gullwing and the VR driving experience as well as the Hero Wall – an animated presentation of IWC racing drivers, their legendary victories and timepieces.
The ‘Customs Studio’ is reminiscent of an interior trim and upholstery workshop and specializes in strap and accessory customization and personalization. Watch straps made from signature red Mercedes 300SL upholstery leather will be exclusively available at the IWC boutique Zurich. IWC’s famed hospitality along with themed snacks and drinks can be enjoyed at the ‘Paddock Bar’.
The ‘Driver’s Lounge’ is where guests can suit up and get ready for the race, courtesy of an instore digital shop-the-look concept in partnership with Mr. Porter, and study every twist and turn of the renowned Goodwood Motor Circuit.
The ‘Workshop’ on the lower ground level features the on-site watchmaking studio with AR video functionality as well as a live link to the Manufacturing Center in Schaffhausen. Clients will also be able to browse some of IWC’s most famous ads, as well as a curated selection of motor racing, themed vintage watches available for sale.
The IWC Racing Works experience will be augmented and extended by virtual and digital features, including interactive shop windows controllable from the outside as well as a full boutique VR experience on iwc.com. Clients will also benefit from a range of new services including part exchange, remote video consultation and interactive visual merchandising that connect customers to both WeChat and IWC.com where our customers can continue their experience post boutique visit. We will also launch a “shop the look” feature in partnership with Mr Porter so that customers can complete their style with a curated collection of clothing and accessories.
The visitor experience at the new flagship boutique is additionally enhanced by a range of digital functionalities. For instance, the content on the displays in the shop windows can be controlled from outside on the street using a mobile phone. In the entrance, a magical interactive book guides visitors through the history of the company’s foundation and IWC’s most important product ranges. The entire flagship boutique can also be visited in virtual reality at iwc.com. Customers can make the most of new services such as video consultations.
“This new space envelops guests in all the excitement of IWC’s racing heritage,” added chief designer Pascal Sbrzesny. “There is so much to explore, an abundance of details and hidden references. We want to take all our guests on a journey of discovery which surprises and entertains.”
IWC Racing Works Zurich is the first in a series of themed IWC flagship boutiques around the world. The next projects will continue to tell the IWC story of engineering and adventure – one exhilarating chapter at a time.
About IWC Schaffhausen
In 1868, the American watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones travelled from Boston to Switzerland and founded the ‘International Watch Company’ in Schaffhausen. His visionary dream was to combine advanced American manufacturing methods with the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers to make the best pocket watches of his time. In doing so, he not only laid the foundation for IWC’s unique engineering approach but also established the centralised production of mechanical watches in Switzerland.
Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust, and easy for customers to use. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specialises in highly engineered technical watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as titanium aluminide and Ceratanium®. Preferring the principle of “form follows function” over decoration, the Swiss watch manufacturer’s timeless creations embody their owners’ dreams and ambitions as they journey through life.
IWC sources materials responsibly and takes action to minimise its impact on the environment, creating intrinsically sustainable timepieces that are built to last for generations. The company prides itself in training its own future watchmakers and engineers, as well as offering an excellent working environment for all employees. IWC also partners with organisations that work globally to support children and young people.