IWC is a Swiss watchmaker with a long history. One hundred and fifty years to be exact!
The International Watch Company (IWC) was founded in 1868 by an American watch manufacturer named Florentine Ariosto Jones. He had fought in the American Civil War and then gone on to work for the best American watch company, E. Howard & Co, based in Massachusetts.
After learning his craft and rising in their ranks, he decided to head to Switzerland to find somewhere to build his watch company. He ended up on the banks of the Rhine River outside of the Schaffhausen old town. The location he chose was actually an orchard which was part of the All Saints Monastery at the time. This is where the IWC brand still has its headquarters and museum today.
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IWC Museum Details
The IWC Museum is easy to reach and is also open most days of the year except Sunday and Monday, and public holidays. Below are all the details you need for a visit to the IWC Museum:
|Address||Baumgartenstrasse 15, 8200 Schaffhausen (Google Maps)|
|Phone||+41 (0)52 235 75 65|
|Opening Hours||Tuesday to Friday: 9 am – 5.30 pm, Saturday 9 am – 3.30 pm|
|Ticket Prices||Adults: 6 CHF, Reduced Admission 3 CHF, Children under 12 Free|
|Guided Tours||15 people for 150 CHF|
To reach the IWC Museum you have a few options. Public transport is very easy, and there is also adequate parking in the neighborhood if you want to drive.
Schaffhausen has a lot of train connections from Zurich and it takes between 40-60 minutes to get there. From Schaffhausen train station, take bus 6 to the “Rhybadi/IWC” stop or bus 8 to Bachstrasse. It is only 9 minutes walk from the train station to IWC, so you can also skip the bus and walk it.
If you wish to go by car, it is only 40 minutes drive from Zurich to IWC. And, 1hour 30 minutes from Basel, 1 hour 20 from Lucerne, 2 hours from Bern and a more lengthy 4 hours from Geneva.
Inside The IWC Museum
The IWC Museum is housed inside the IWC factory, in attic rooms where the IWC employees used to actually make the watches. It was opened back in 1993 on the 125th anniversary of IWC.
There are over 230 exhibits on display in the IWC Museum, starting with the original Jones caliber pocket watches, moving on to the first digital pocket watch and making its way to the first IWC watches themselves.
There is a wide range of IWC watches, ranging from ladies dress watches to pilots watches, divers and antimagnetic pieces. IWC has ensured that all of its most prestigious calibers and timepieces are on display with one of its most complicated wristwatches, the Il Destriero Scafusia being the most impressive.
Overall, the museum is not large, spanning only 2 rooms, and it will take you at most an hour to see everything. It is an IWC specific museum and does not go into any detail on other brands or non-IWC topics. However, if you do go, use the App to get more details on each exhibit.
IWC Schaffhausen Factory Tour
IWC Schaffhausen watch enthusiasts should definitely combine a visit to the IWC museum with a factory tour. Luckily, IWC Schaffhausen offers this as an option!
IWC provides a knowledge ambassador to accompany you on your Fan Tour through their museum and then into the Manufakturzentrum (Manufacturing Center) itself. Here you can learn how watches are made – from pure metal bars to the final watches. The final part of the tour is a hands-on experience with some of IWC Schaffhausen’s watch collection.
They also offer a Virtual Tour online which is also worth checking out, however it certainly does not compare to an exclusive visit inside the factory itself.
Aside from visiting the IWC Schaffhausen Museum, there are also a lot of other things to do in Schaffhausen. Check out this post to find out.
Note: All images courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen