IWC’s New Beijing flagship store will take the level of service it provides in China to a whole new level, all inside a space that sets a standard for environmental innovation and horologic elegance.
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]n November last year a star-studded cast of characters including actresses Tang Wei and Zhu Zhu, Olympic gold medal winner Chen Yibing, movie director Wang Xiaoshuai and artist Wang Luyan gathered on a bridge in Parkview Green, a new mall in the heart of Beijing’s Business district. This auspicious group, part of a worldwide cohort of IWC fans known as “Friends of the Brand”, had come together to mark a major milestone in the evolution of the famous Swiss watch maker – the opening of a 300 square meter flagship boutique in the Chinese capital that is both an architectural triumph and a perfect home for IWC’s latest and most exquisite watches.
“Our new Flagship Boutique, now the second in Asia, takes IWC’s watchmaking heritage to a new level,”
explained IWC CEO Georges Kern. “We are proud to celebrate this occasion with our distinguished guests and to honour the importance of the Chinese market with an exclusive timepiece”.
The piece in question was a Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia with a celestial chart on the case back showing the Forbidden City’s horizon. To mark the creation of this masterpiece the new IWC flagship was also the site of another world premiere: a room dedicated to the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia.
Regarded as the pinnacle of engineering in the art of astronomical timekeeping, the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia combines over 500 components, from the patented constant-force tourbillon escapement to the wheel train, culminating in the display of solar and sidereal time. Solar time is based on the length of the average day that lasts precisely 24 hours and measures the average time between the passages of the sun over a given meridian.
Whereas sidereal time measures the time taken for the earth to complete the rotation around its own axis. Considering the fact that the earth also describes an arc around the sun, a sidereal day is approximately four minutes shorter than the solar one. The back of the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia shows the constantly changing view of the visible stars and constellations from the customer’s own horizon. The watch is like having the universe on one’s wrist and with a price tag of around 6 million RMB it’s more rare than a shooting star.
The Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia room at the new Beijing boutique is set within a bi-level glass cube. Designed by an in-house team, the interior reflects the luxurious ambience of IWC’s collection. Fitted out with sumptuous dark woods and exquisite materials, the boutique creates an elegant atmosphere where customers can explore IWC’s six fascinating watch families along with boutique-exclusive editions and the IWC Collection, which is only available in Flagship Boutiques and consists of innovative, handpicked items and accessories.
The boutique has a remarkably intimate ambience, enhanced by over-stuffed leather sofas, books and artwork. It is a place to linger and enjoy IWC’s achievements. Or for those who want more thrills there is a jet simulator and a dive room. The boutique is part of Parkview Green’s revolutionary design, which uses innovative environmental technologies to enable, among other achievements, the establishment of a microclimate that is beyond the influence of Beijing’s extreme seasonal changes. It provides the perfect showcase for the essence of IWC’s brand, a philosophy of innovation and creativity led by the most demanding principles of science and engineering.
SPIRIT OF INNOVATION
In its constant search for new ways to do the same thing IWC is always on the hunt for mechanical and aesthetic improvements. This might not be a daunting task were it not that the “same thing” in IWC’s case is the creation of watches that are among the most revered in the world.
To push the envelope of innovation even further in 2013 IWC will launch the first fruits of its collaboration with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. For the next three years, the watch manufacturer will be the Official Engineering Partner of the Mercedes-Benz works team and the result has been a completely remodelled 2013 Ingenieur watch collection that takes its inspiration from Formula One. Materials typically used in motorsport, such as carbon fibre, ceramic and titanium, are the hallmarks of this new branch of the Ingenieur watch family, which made its original debut in the 1950s.
“The engineers who work within our two companies have many things in common,” says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “They share a passion for precision technology and innovation. Their pioneering spirit and know-how push the boundaries of mechanical engineering and continuously redefine the achievements of precision technology. The two companies have a name for this untiring quest for perfection: performance engineering.”
In this case the performance is at F1 levels with the new collection led by the Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon in its platinum and ceramic case. Its patented constant-force mechanism is integrated in the tourbillon and guarantees an extremely precise rate. Two barrels supply the higher torque required to drive the constant-force tourbillon and also supply the energy needed for the moon phase module.
“The new Ingenieur collection boasts three distinct quality features: first-class IWC-manufactured movements, sophisticated functions and typical Formula One materials,” says Kern. “With complications like the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, digital big date and moon phase display, the Ingenieur watch line has finally taken its place in the upper echelons of haute horlogerie.”