IWC NYC Flagship: A Blog Review & Roundup

The IWC Flagship Boutique in New York City has now been open for two weeks, and so far it has been an exciting run. We took you behind the scenes of the grand opening, but thought you might like to see our newest store through some other eyes. Here we’ve brought you recaps from a few of our favorite blogs & media, bringing their perspective on our Madison Avenue location.

Exterior boutique shot (source: A Continuous Lean)

Swipelife starts off with a bold declaration: “New Yorkers no longer have an excuse not to tell time in style…”. They go on to describes how the store offers opportunities to keep time and to forget about it with “a space for browsing what could be (and probably should be) passed as fine art.” Definitely not something you find in most retailers!

IWC friend Ben Clymer (and IWC NYC Globetrotter) at Hodinkee expands on this idea, that there are “types of boutiques that are cramped and cluttered with nothing but rows of watches and uninspired ‘brand extension’ accessories…The new IWC boutique in NYC is anything but this.” His coverage also describes how entering the NYC store is like “you’ve entered someone’s home (someone’s really nice, nautical-theme home).” Clymer comments on the accessories that accompany each of the themed areas of the store, including chess sets (for the Da Vinci collection), flight jackets (a natural nod to the Top Gun series), and as NY Mag noted “a remote-controlled airplane” which they describe as “fancy dude toys”. 

Some of the accessories accompanying the Da Vinci Collection (source: Hodinkee)

Another incredible item on offer — a carbon fiber road bike (source: A Continuous Lean)

What these descriptions help to convey is the idea that this flagship boutique is just like entering a home — our home, and that we want to ensure you find items to complement every part of your global lifestyle: bicycles, books, luggage, and more. And in addition to finding exquisite and unique items for purchase, the boutique also offers that “Anyone needing service on their watch can easily drop by the new shop to be tuned, inspected or repaired, a convenience not overlooked.” 

The store entrance & first collection area (source: Hodinkee)

That observation, from Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean (also featured as an IWC NYC Globetrotter), is an important distinction in the level of service offered to IWC customers. Williams goes on to note that the store is “a welcome addition for IWC owners, non-owners and obsessives alike.” We open the doors any and all of these distinctions and offer them the Swiss hospitality and service one has come to expect from IWC Schafhaussen.

Stay tuned for more stories and insights from the New York store, and follow us in the near future as we travel to new global destinations that will soon host an IWC boutique of their own!

My NYC: What Makes the City Special

The blaring of horns. Walks through Central Park. Catching a Broadway show. This is some of what comes to mind when one thinks of New York City. A place of motion, energy, and opportunity.

The bustle of 5th Avenue

As IWC excitingly opens its first Flagship Boutique in Manhattan, we wanted to find out what was new and exciting in the city, and what better way to do that then ask New Yorkers themselves.

The new IWC flagship boutique in NYC

So we tapped a few key influencers in the city, to have them tell us what they love about where they live, what their favorite ‘secret’ escapes are, and what makes NYC come alive for them.

Before sharing a few of those videos and what our influencers had to say, I wanted to share what makes NYC special for me. You see, I share IWC news with you each week but am also a New Yorker (which makes me even more excited about the new IWC location!). Here are three things that are “My New York”:

1. Members Dining Room at the Met: It’s so great to eat an amazing meal inside such a venerable institution, and overlook Central Park. After the meal, you stroll through the empty museum on the way out. It feels like it’s all yours & is definitely a special experience.

2. Bar Centrale: Tucked away in the middle of the theatre district, this is a secret oasis frequented by the cast & crew, critics, and major fans of Broadway shows. Go here for a perfectly made Manhattan and hear the chatter about recent show openings.

3. The ability to be anyone you want to be in NYC: if you can imagine it, you can achieve it. You never know who you’ll meet or be introduced to.

Now, for a sample of what other citizens of the island had to say, check out these videos from Neil Blumenthal, Jeff Staple, and Josh Spear. Hopefully their point of view will inspire you to visit NYC, and of course to see the brand new IWC boutique while you’re here!

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Neil Blumenthal: co-founder at Warby Parker

Jeff Staple: designer, creative agency, and retailer

Josh Spear: writer, editor, brand strategist, and more!

Stay tuned for more influencer videos and a lot of great news on the opening of the latest IWC flagship store.

Behind The Scenes: The IWC NYC Flagship Boutique Opens

Last night was quite a night. Here, we are pleased to bring you an exclusive behind the scenes update from last night’s grand opening of the IWC Flagship Boutique on Madison Avenue, in New York City.

A festive evening with many fans of the brand in attendance, including Matthew Fox, Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Evander Holyfield, Chris Hemsworth, Adriana Lima, Karolina Kurkova, Pedro Andrade - IWc’s opening was the toast of the Big Apple.

Actors Chris Hemsworth, Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello

As IWC was founded by an American, Florentine Ariosto Jones, the event marks a return to the United States with this beautiful flagship.

The store is segmented by collection, with each area decorated thematically. A favorite of guests was the Top Gun series (inspired by the U.S. Navy Flight School) — with lockers, flight suits, and a flight simulator. It was also possible to purchase watches during the evening, with some attendees- among them esteemed IWC Collectors and friends - sitting down to review novelties.

A special highlight was the tribute to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, recognized as the greatest athlelet of all time, through the special edition Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Muhammad Ali, produced in honor of his 70th birthday this year. In Ali’s honor, many of Ali’s friends and peers such as his Biographer- Thomas Hauser, his daughter- Miya Ali, and legendary boxers: Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield were in attendance.  The entire event surrounded this tribute, at its zenith with a showcase of photographs taken of Ali by his longtime best friend and photographer Howard Bingham.

We had the chance to speak with Mr. Bingham about these photos and his relationship with Ali. In our conversation, he described how he first met Ali at a press conference in 1962, and later in the day bumped into him once more, offering him a ride. They struck a friendship, and the next year Ali invited Bingham to travel with him for two weeks, a trip which ended up lasting two months. 

The photos on display at the IWC store exhibit great moments in his life, casting light on the depth of the champion: in one image, Ali is photographed visiting impoverished Zaire. In another, 5 champs are immortalized again as great comrades— Frazier, Ali, Norton, Foreman, and Holmes (more on him in a minute). This group photo is Bingham’s favorite. With the exhibition on display at IWC Schaffhausen on 535 Madison Avenue through late May 2012, those of you in or visiting New York will have ample opportunity to see these first-hand. 

When asked for his shooting methods, Ali he responded two-fold: “I know what I like, as long as it’s focus.”, followed with a description of how he would let Ali walk ahead and capture the reactions of the people around him. In Bingham’s words: “Everyone loved him.”.

The aforementioned Larry Holmes was also at the event, and he discussed having a “unique relationship” with Ali. They were sparring partners for four years, and after Holmes went on to win the heavyweight championship the two kept in touch. Holmes, the only heavyweight to stop Ali (during their challenge match in 1980) offered that they remained friends “because of our personalities. We separated work and friendship.” Holmes then pulled out his phone and showed us photos of the bout between himself and Ali — never at dull moment.

Howard Bingham, Larry Holmes and Chris Hemswort

It was great to see the brotherhood and connection that had been forged between these men and Muhammad Ali, bonds that have lasted over 40 years. At IWC we are committed to delivering a quality and lasting relationship with you, as you join our brotherhood of the fine precision and craftmanship of a timepiece.

We look forward to sharing more stories and photos from the store opening, and to welcoming you at IWC on 535 Madison Avenue. 

The Race Within a Race: Getting Azzam Ready to Sail

Since the Azzam left port in Alicante to begin the Volvo Ocean Race, we have been bringing you updates on its round the globe journey. There have been stories on the crew and their sailing prowess, or on the conditions the team will face en route.

What you haven’t seen is what it takes to keep the Azzam in top shape. Until now. Much like the craftsmen and artisans at IWC create and maintain our timepieces to showcase their world class precision, so does the on-board and on-shore crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

After last week’s hull damage during Leg 5, it was determined that the Azzam needed 72 hours of repairs, leaving a small window before the in-port event at Itajai is scheduled to begin. This week, as we hear from Team Director Jamie Boag, adverse weather conditions have impacted the schedule and there are now 40 hours to complete the same amount of work.

From earlier in the race, an example of the equipment used to transport the Azzam

Doubling the number of boat builders assisting in the process (now at 8), and continuing to look at ways to save time are all part of the equation to get the Azzam ready to sail.

Azzam’s sails ready for review & repair

Boag and team continue to brainstorm other ways to fit the repairs in what is now a very tight timeframe: from employing a local ferry to more expediently transfer the ship container, to evaluating more time efficient repair methods.

While this starts to sound like a race within a race (which it is), Boag very seriously pointed out that there are still drying time for resins, and only so many hours the team can work. And most paramount: “We are also conscious of the old adage that more haste less speed. At the end of the day the repair has to be seaworthy.”

The Race is On: The crew brainstorms ways to save time on repairs

On-Shore crew leader Mike Danks noted that “The (repair) team is rested, determined and ready to go… all we need is Azzam.” She is now scheduled to arrive in Itajai on today (April 19) and we are sending support and best wishes to the repair crew for a speedy (and) safe return to racing!

Strength Through Adversity: Team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

This week we join the Volvo Ocean Race as it says ‘bom dia’ to the southern Brazilian port city of Itajai. After facing the grueling conditions of the Southern Ocean, the race’s boats and their crews will enjoy a sunny respite with In-Port races, average temperatures of 26 centigrade (80 fahrenheit), and a chance for recuperation.

Some rest and regrouping will be especially important for the crew of the Azzam, who suffered substantial hull damage off the Chilean coast during Leg 5. It took every member of the crew to play a part in maintaining the boat’s structural integrity as well as their own safety. As Skipper Ian Walker put it: “Only in adversity do you really get the full measure of a team’s strength…”. Despite extensive at sea repairs, Walker had to make the very difficult call to withdraw the Azzam from the fifth leg, and dock in Chile for on-shore repairs.

The crew strategizing urgent repairs at sea

Having the strength to make such a high-risk and challenging call is the mark of a true leader. Knowing when to make a temporary withdrawal, that can endeavor later success, is a difficult trait to exhibit but one that shows deep character. As the inspirational saying goes: “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”, and we commend Skipper Walker on his fortitude. 

Azzam is now en route to Brazil, scheduled to arrive on April 17, four days before the crew begins In-Port race events. They’ll need 72 of those 96 hours to complete repairs, but then look forward to getting her back on the water.

Before disembarking for Leg 6 on April 22, the crew and their families can partake in Itajai's varied outdoor activities: diving, fishing, hang-gliding, and more. They will also have a chance to experience the varied cuisines of the region, and learn about the vast cultural diversity the state of Santa Catarina has to offer.

The port in Itajai, Brazil

Volvo Ocean Race’s next leg, to Miami, Florida, is 3590 nautical miles and will take the crew back across the Equator. It will also take them back through the Doldrums, as well as other potential nautical challenges along the way. However we are confident that Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will again band together and show their strength during adversity.


Source: Volvo Ocean Race

Registation Now Opening: The Laureus Portofino Chronograph & A trip to Sri Lanka

Last month we shared a brief recap of the Laureus Sports Awards in London, an event sponsored by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, of which IWC Schaffhausen is an avid supporter. We also shared some images of the limited edition Portofino Chronograph watch that is created just for Laureus. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of these timepieces (only 2500 are produced) goes to the Foundation, benefitting the worldwide athletic programs they endorse. The watch is infused with design elements that are distinct to Laureus, but the true stand out is the exclusive design on the back case, a drawing selected from entries submitted by children around the world.
The winning design, to be engraved on the watch back case

For 2012 the winner was a 7 year old Sri Lankan girl, who participates in the Seenigama Sport for Life Project, an organization that uses sports training to promote etiquette, leadership, and confidence in local children. The Project was started in 2004, following the devastating tsunami, as a partnership between Laureus and the local government. Over 1000 youth participate each month in the program’s various activities such as badminton, volleyball, and cricket. More than 4400 having been involved since the Seenigama project’s inception.

Boys playing volleyball as part of the program

The incredible impact of a program such as this sometimes must be seen to be believed. And for the owners of the Portofino Chronograph Laureus edition, this experience could be a reality! Each of the 2500 watches includes an opportunity to win a trip to Sri Lanka to visit with the Project and see its work first hand.

Ready to play!

Located on Sri Lanka’s south west coast, Seenigama is not only a truly diverse and culturally rich area, but a trip to the region will provide the fortunate winner with a glimpse at what partnership, altruism, and giving can do.

Local girls excited to participate in sporting events

We’d like to send luck to all entrants, and our congratulations to the Seenigama Sport for Life Project and the great work it does every day.

Here is the link to the IWC.com Laureus draw »

Like Climbing Everest: The Azzam Powers Toward Cape Horn

40 knot winds, 10 meter high waves, and sailing past the world’s most remote spot? It is indeed Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, and Team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is experiencing all of this, and more.

As we recapped before they left port in Auckland, this portion of the race is the longest and carries with it particular challenges due to the Southern Ocean routing. On their first day out, the Azzam suffered structural damage which forced the crew to turn back for repairs. Now 11 days into Leg 5 and over 1000 miles behind the leaders, the team has banded together and “morale is very high onboard.”

While last week saw relatively light winds and mild seas, crew member Simon Fisher commented Wednesday of a “gear shift” brought on by 25 knot winds. “We’re into Azzam’s conditions” remarked Nick Dana, with 24 knot boat speeds keeping Azzam “pointed right at the barn door”.

The team battling conditions on Leg 5

That barn door is Cape Horn, which the team is scheduled to round this week. The Horn is considered a remarkable sailing landmark – an accomplishment not lost on crew member Adil Khalid: “This is it, my Mount Everest.”

With Cape Horn a yachtsman’s version of Everest, it is no wonder the Abu Dhabi native (and first Gulf national to race in the VOR) will be “getting my head down, doing the jobs in front of me, and praying that I get lucky.”

Crew Member Justin Slattery in calmer waters

Conditions around the Horn (Chile’s southernmost headland) are notoriously hazardous. So much so that in 1864 Charles Darwin commented: “One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril and death.”

Given this, and with team Camper now tacking into Chile to undergo structural repairs, Captain Ian Walker cautiously notes “this leg could still be all about who makes it to Itajai in one piece.”

Azzam’s crew handling the sail

With high boat speeds and higher winds forecasted for their future, we are anxiously watching the Azzam and sending its team continued wishes. As crew member Rob Greenhalgh so succinctly remarked: “Southern Ocean sailing. Big risks but big smiles.”

Let Celebrity Fight Night 2012 Begin

The big night is almost upon us: Celebrity Fight Night 2012 is March 24 and we can’t wait. Beyond the celebrities, athletes, musical performances, and glamour of the evening — there is also the one and only Muhammad Ali as guest of honor.

Over the past 17 years this event has raised $70 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, and IWC is proud to participate for such a worthy cause. This year’s event auction includes a one of a kind IWC Big Pilot Watch, crafted in white gold. The piece has red accents, a nod to Ali’s red boxing gloves and one of his favorite colors. It is also engraved with Ali’s signature and the notation “ONE OUT OF ONE”, truly distinguishing it’s uniqueness.

The IWC Big Pilot Watch on auction at the event

Be sure to see the Celebrity Fight Night page to learn more about this watch and the other items up for auction. And stay tuned for news and updates on this great event!

IWC Spotlight: Cate Blanchett’s Next Act

One could argue there is little Cate Blanchett cannot do. The Australian actress has certainly proven her prowess across film genres: deftly playing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I (for which she won a Golden Globe); diving wholly into character as Katherine Hepburn in “Aviator” (an Academy Award winning role).

Known also for her sharp sense of style, we enjoyed time with Ms. Blanchett a few months ago on the red carpet at the IWC Top Gun event at SIHH, where she arrived looking as elegant and powerful as ever.

Cate Blanchett at the IWC Top Gun event, SIHH 2012

Adding to her already impressive list of theatrical accomplishments, Blanchett and her husband (Andrew Upton) are currently in the middle of a two year term as co-artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company. During their tenure they have strengthened the visibility of the company and as chairman David Gonski notes, taken STC to “new artistic heights”. It is a homecoming of sorts for Blanchett, whose career began in the theatre’s 1992 production of “Top Girls”.

STC Co-Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton

Her stage career continues – beyond her role as artistic director, Blanchett recently starred in the theatre’s rendition of Gross und Klein (Big and Small). From Botho Strauss’ original that was first staged in 1978, Sydney’s version ran from November – December 2011, and is now embarking on a European tour.

Cate Blanchett in Gross und Klein, now touring Europe

If you’re as big of a fan of Cate Blanchett as we are, you can see her perform when the show plays at London’s Barbican Theatre from April 13-29. Ticket information can be found here.

 

Photo credits: Zimbio, Sydney Theatre Company

Volvo Ocean Race: The Azzam Prepares for Leg 5

When we last heard from the crew of Azzam, team Abu Dhabi’s boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, they had tucked into the southern China city of Sanya after completing the third leg of the race. They had finished a tough 4600 mile segment, and had withstood the challenges brought by the often wind-less Doldrums, for a 5th place standing. 

We now re-join Captain Walker and crew in Auckland, New Zealand where they are gladly resting after a hard fought Leg 4. The start to this portion of the race was postponed due to a typhoon warning in the South China Sea, which brought waves of up to 8 meters, and which caused race organizers to split the leg into two parts. After the teams were cleared to sail they went into heavy competition to gain as much ground as possible on the 5,220 nautical mile course, passing by the northern tip of the Philippines en route to New Zealand. 

This was the first time since 2001 that the race has stopped in Auckland, and as they were just shy of its shores Captain Walker noted that: “After nearly three weeks of intense racing we finally came within sight of the ‘land of the long white cloud’ – and guess what – it was covered with a long white cloud.” This did not dampen the spirits of Azzam though, and they sailed into port in a time of 20 days, 5 hours, 20 minutes, 35 seconds, maintaining their hold on 5th place.

Their arrival in Auckland could almost be described as “sailing coming home”, because virtually all the teams have at least one New Zealander on board. From Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, the team sponsored by IWC Schaffhausen, 38-year-old watch leader and native Kiwi Craig Satterthwaite is particularly happy to be there: “New Zealand’s my home. I’m lucky enough to see lots of the rest of the world but each time I come back only confirms to me that it’s a very special place. It’s unique and I hope it stays that way.”

This positivity will be well used as the team finishes up their on-shore activities here in Auckland and prepares for Leg 5, the longest portion of the entire race. At 6,705 nautical miles this course through the Southern Ocean will have the boats facing “ocean swells the size of buildings, storm force winds, freezing temperatures as well as taking on Chile’s infamous Cape Horn.” The weather systems can produce winds of up to 60 knots — conditions that may set speed records in the race, but will also elevate safety concerns for everyone.

The Azzam, and the other entrants, will depart Auckland on Sunday March 18 (local time) to begin what is the second half of the race, and the next high seas adventure of the Volvo Ocean Race, and we look forward to hearing about their journey when they dock in Itajaí, on Brazil’s eastern coast.. As always our best wishes and thoughts go with them.