For those who know IWC, it may come as no surprise that this Swiss watch brand was actually founded by an American: Florentine Ariosto Jones. A watchmaker by the age of 18, Jones traveled from Boston to Switzerland, where he planned to harness the power of the Rhine River and build affordable watches. His search for the perfect location ended in Schaffhausen, where he founded the International Watch Company (IWC) in 1868. Today, in honor of Jones and his work, the brand is unveiling a limited-edition Portugieser Tourbillon Hand-Wound watch.
Created in 18-karat 5N rose gold, the US exclusive watch commemorates the centenary of Jones’ death. Reference IW546396 is created in a limited edition of just 27 pieces in honor of Jones’ age when he started the brand.
“Like no other watch family in our collection, the Portugieser stands in the tradition of pocket watches made by F. A. Jones during his time in Schaffhausen,” says IWC CEO Georges Kern, noting that those watches “were manufactured with an unparalleled and pioneering level of industrialization for the time.”
The watch, with silver-plated dial carrying F.A. Jones’ signature at 3:00, is powered by the IWC hand-wound 98900 caliber with 54 hours of power reserve. The movement is visible via a sapphire case back, and carries the “D.H. Craig USA” insignia — a reflection of the first Jones 2N Pattern H caliber, wherein Jones honored his uncle, Daniel Hastings Craig. That first watch was a tribute to DH Craig, whom it is believed offered financial support to Jones to establish the Swiss watch brand.
The new 43mm watch features a one-minute tourbillon is positioned at 9:00 and there is a subsidiary seconds dial at 6:00 for harmonious balance. The watch is finished with a hand-made Santoni leather strap. The watch, available this month, is water resistant to 30 meters and will only be sold at IWC boutiques in New York and Los Angeles. Customers purchasing the hand-wound tourbillon will also receive a numbered Santoni passport holder and a copy of the book F.A. Jones – His Life, Legacy and Watches. The timepiece retails for $57,000.
Also to commemorate Jones and D.H. Craig, IWC is restoring a street clock in New York, working along with the organization, Save America’s Clocks.