A First Look at the SIHH Booth

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By now, IWC Schaffhausen’s booths at SIHH are legendary. Last year’s full-size, life-like recreation of an aircraft carrier flight deck, complete with flight simulator, conning tower and cans of cold Budweiser was the place to be. What could they possibly do to top that? How about a high tech race car technical workshop, complete with Mercedes racing cars from past and present, disassembled engines and car components and, of course, the new lineup of the Ingenieur collection?

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Ever since the Ingenieur was announced as the watch for 2013 and IWC’s partnership with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, we imagined that the SIHH booth would be motorsports-themed. But never in our wildest dreams could we imagine a 1955 Silver Arrow Mercedes race car, an AMG SLS track safety car and an actual raced Mercedes AMG Petronas race car. Visitors to the booth clambered for views of these spectacular machines while wandering inside an authentic recreation of a performance automobile development lab.

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Chris Grainger, IWC’s booth designer said, “After last year’s theme, we wanted to move away from such a literal interpretation for our booth, so this year we tried to evoke the spirit of high tech racing in the materials and layout of the booth. We feel this reflects IWC’s partnership with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and the watches’ tie-in with the technology and engineering that defines modern racing while also maintaining that tie to tradition and heritage.”

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Speaking of heritage, it is somehow fitting that the Mercedes Silver Arrow that greets visitors to the booth, is from 1955, around the time that IWC introduced its Ingenieur watch to the world. How far both brands have come and how far the technology of both motor racing and wristwatches has come also, sharing the use of high tech materials and design technology, but still requiring careful hands to assemble.

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Despite the presence of the spectacular cars in the booth, the new Ingenieurs were the stars of the show (and the reason we come to SIHH in the first place after all). The watches were displayed on engine pistons, moving up and down at a decidedly slower RPM rate than the engine block was designed for. Display windows show the Ingenieur watch in various states of its construction, alongside cross sectional views of racing car components. If visitors want to take a load off their feet and just take in the view, there is an area filled with perforated leather seats with repurposed Mercedes head rests.

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Once again, IWC Schaffhausen has lived up to its “Engineered for Men” tagline, with a booth that was every boy’s dream and had men (and women) wanting to linger a little bit longer. As if it couldn’t get any better, tonight is the IWC Race Night Gala and we can’t wait to see what’s in store. If the booth is any indication, it promises to be spectacular. Stay tuned.

- HODINKEE for IWC Schaffhausen

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