“We were wearing IWC before we even met with IWC, so it was kind of like a dream come true.” Such was the sentiment echoed by Maxwell Osborne, one-half of the fashion world darlings, together with Dao-Yi Chao, that comprise the New York-based fashion label Public School. So it was fitting that on Wednesday, on the rooftop of the Nomad Hotel, the designers helped IWC Schaffhausen usher in its new Portofino 37 timepiece collection.
As part of their testimonial to the brand, and to showcase the versatility of this new women’s watch collection, the luxury Swiss watch brand tapped Osborne and Chao to star in a trio of videos, each conveying a different style: Nighttime Cool, Sporty Elegance, and Professional Chic. A momentous occasion, indeed, as IWC North American brand president Edouard d’Arbaumont was quick to point out that the brand has been making men’s watches from day one.
“I’m sure you’ve heard our headline, ‘IWC is engineered for men,’” he said. “It’s true that the roots of the brand are technical, well-crafted watches for men, but over time out watches have been increasingly appreciated by women.” Ladies, in fact, comprise 25 percent of IWC’s watch sales. Now, as d’Arbaumont adds, “we have a smaller watch for a smaller wrist.”
And while the designers sported some enviable masculine IWC watches (Chao in the Portugieser Handwound 8 Days Edition 75th Anniverary in stainless steel and Osborne in a Portugieser Automatic in rose gold), all eyes were on the Portofino 37.
At Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong last month, IWC introduced three new models to its Portofino collection, recognized for its vintage-inspired dials and round, polished cases. They included the Hand-Wound Day & Date in stainless steel and rose gold; the Automatic Moon Phase and two new Portofino Automatic 37 models with color straps including blue and raspberry.
Often times—the watch world being no exception—partnerships can feel forced or, worse, contrived. Not so here. IWC was an early partner with the Public School designers, showcasing its watches at their runway show and developing a line of communication in 2013, well before their meteoric rise that has, in the last year, seen a luggage collaboration with Tumi and being named co-creative directors of DKNY.
The organic energy didn’t just come from a mutual love of watches. Both brands started out in the men’s sphere and found themselves only recently expanding into women’s. “When you think about it, Public School, you started out a little bit like us,” d’Arbaumont said. “You were first famous for your menswear collection and now you are famous with your womenswear collection, even more with DKNY.”
The videos debuted Thursday on YouTube, IWC.com, and both IWC and Public School’s social channels.
IWC North America president Edouard d'Arbaumont (center) and Public School designers Dao-Yi Chao and Maxwell Osborn
IWC Public School Video Watches-4
IWC Public School Video Watches-3
IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date Collection Waches & Wonders 2015
FEATURE IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Day & Date Waches & Wonders 2015 Feature
IWC Portofino Moon Reference 4590
Photo Credit: Jim Shi & Haute Time. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.