|Year of production (circa)
IWC Porsche Design Ref. IW3503
It was a success for a reason!
Watches and cars are objects that are frequently admired by the same kinds of people, and often go hand-in-hand. Therefore it is not rare that watch manufacturers and car manufacturers have collaborated in the past. Think about; Bentley and Breitling, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin, Zenith and Land Rover, and Girard-Perregaux and Ferrari. However, these collaborations have not always been perceived as a great success by watch enthusiasts.
The collaboration between IWC and Porsche Design (Related to Porsche Automotive) started in 1970 when both brands agreed to make an innovative quartz watch that doubled as a compass. Eventually, they entered a 20-year agreement in 1978. The plan was to make quirky and functional design watches with innovative materials.
Twelve years after the agreement IWC and Porsche Design co-created the reference IW3503, which is the watch you are seeing now. It measures 34mm in diameter and is fully executed in a titanium case, which was quite uncommon at the time.
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International Watch Company, better known as IWC Schaffhausen, was founded by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. The company specialized in Aviation watches and is currently operating under the Richemont Group umbrella.
IWC introduced its first pilot’s watch in 1936. An inner rotating pointer could be used to keep track of take-off times and the escapement was anti-magnetic, to cope with the magnetic fields from the cockpit instruments.
In 1939, two Portuguese distributors ordered a large wristwatch with pocket watch movement and another iconic IWC line was born: the Portugieser. Today, particularly the dressy Portugieser chronographs are popular among IWC aficionados.
When Europe plummets into WWII, IWC is commissioned by both sides of the conflict to supply military watches. The two best-known examples are the Dirty Dozen field watches for the allies and the big pilot, known as Beobachtungsuhr or B-uhr, for the German Luftwaffe. The latter would form the design template for the later Big Pilot range.
Towards the end of WWII, IWC developed a new military movement, known as Cal. 89. When the war ends, the tough caliber is fitted to civilian watches. The Cal. 89 watches, many in classic Calatrava style, remain popular among collectors until today. In 1948, the Cal. 89 is fitted to the Pilot Mk XI, another popular vintage reference.
1955 Saw the introduction of another influential IWC model: the Ingenieur. IWC used its expertise in magnetic resistance to manufacture a watch for engineers and scientists, working with magnetic fields. This is two years after Rolex introduced the Milgauss for the same clientele.
In 1967, IWC branches out into water sports. The Aquatimer is introduced as a serious divewatch. The more casual Yacht Club is launched alongside for all-purpose daily wearing.
IWC remained innovative, being among the early adopters of the brand new quartz technology, for instance. But the house also recognized the value of heritage, building on its historic Pilot and Portugieser ranges. The result is a broad scope of all sorts of watches, for all sorts of people. Through it all, IWC maintained a reputation as high quality watchmakers.
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