Contact Information

The Next Hour Neuchâtel
Fbg de l’Hôpital 78
2000 Neuchâtel
SWITZERLAND

“A new generation of consumers is coming of age during a critical, sink-or-swim period for brands and retailers,” shared the Business of Fashion, examining a selection of brands from Nike to Louis Vuitton. It’s crunch time, and winning over the Tik-Toking, multi-hyphenate powers of Generation Z has never been more essential for brands in today’s market. What’s the solution? At IWC Schaffhausen, the answer is a simple one: transparency. 

In March this year, IWC clocked heads at the watch world’s version of the MET Gala, showcasing the best of the best watches and all-new timepieces. Taking a novel stance, IWC took their TOP GUN collection to the next level by engineering their color palette to develop a range of entirely new ceramic colors, partnering-up with the Pantone Color Institute.

“At the end of the day, we believe that it’s all about creating your own journey with a watch, and at your own pace, because it sits on your wrist the entire day — that’s your companion in life,” shares Franziska Gsell, CMO and Sustainability Committee Chair of the brand. As such, this companion needs to communicate with its wearer as clearly as possible, which is why IWC are making headway with their sustainable strategy; from gender representation to their ecological footprint. 

Combining precision engineering with extraordinary and timeless design and ethically sourced materials, The Next Hour caught up with Gsell to discuss how IWC is bringing the finest technology and unparalleled elegance to your wrist.

Scarlett Baker: What do you think watchmaking means to young people today? 

Franziska Gsell: I do hope that for young people, watchmaking is still first associated with craftsmanship because a watch is a lasting product and so much skilled work goes into it. If you think about a luxury timepiece or a mechanical watch today, there is no rational need for buying it other than the knowledge that this timepiece contains such heritage and fine engineering that it will surpass your own lifespan — if you treat it well, that watch will tick forever and may be passed on to the next generations. What is also important to know, not just for young people but anyone today is what goes into a product to ensure it is made responsibly. This is exactly what we try to do at IWC by opening up this conversation and offering a transparent window into the industry.

SB: To a watch novice, what do you think it is about IWC that stands apart from other watch brands right now?

FG: We call ourselves the “engineers of fine watchmaking” and this is exactly what we demonstrate in everything we do. We started making Pilot’s watches more than 85 years ago, and we have extensive experience and expertise in manufacturing precise, robust instruments for the cockpit. We have now taken our new TOP GUN collection to the next level by engineering colors: our creative specialists have drawn on a ground-breaking process to develop a range of entirely new ceramic colors, partnering-up with the Pantone Color Institute. The production of colored ceramic cases is a particularly demanding exercise which requires experience and unique formulas, but we wanted to add some fun and a touch of pop culture to our TOP GUN collection. At the end of the day, we believe that it’s all about creating your own journey with a watch, and at your own pace, because it sits on your wrist the entire day — that’s your companion in life.

SB: As someone who joined the industry very recently, I’ve learned lots of new names, but IWC was always a household one that I was familiar with, and one that even my friends with no knowledge of watches seem to know of. That means something! 

FG: That’s music to my ears!

SB: To me, the watch industry has always felt like a male-dominated world, something that people are really championing to change as of late. Have you seen a shift in the gender disparity of the industry since you first joined? 

FG: I do see a shift at IWC. We really try to understand why less women apply for certain open positions and are committed to encouraging them to apply for technical positions. Gender equality, diversity and inclusion are in general very important topics in our Sustainability Department. On a side note, it is really interesting to see that all the young talents who interview for a position at IWC have read our sustainability report — and they even have the right questions. I am very impressed by that. 

SB: What were your early introductions into the watch world? 

FG: I was born and raised in Schaffhausen, so I basically grew up with IWC. The company is part of the city’s history and culture, it is difficult to not get in touch with the watch world when you live there. 

SB: What does time mean to you today?

FG: That’s a very good question. And it’s not easy to answer. I think we all do not have enough time, or we hardly ever give ourselves enough time. Time has become very meaningful to me, and I do try to live in the present rather than the past, because that’s done — I prefer to talk about the future.

Share:

administrator

Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.