With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. Durrah speaks with Brand Director for the Middle East & India, Karoline Huber, about what the IWC brand represents, the Middle Eastern market, and what motivated the brand’s latest Italian-inspired Portofino Midsize Collection.
Italian Sparkle How would you describe the style of IWC watches and what do you think people associate the brand with? I think the style of IWC watches is very elegant, and this elegance is very much defined by a very classy, timeless, and sober design. It’s about very clean lines that aren’t playful, but rather technical and functional. So an IWC watch is suitable for any occasion and is enjoyed by a large audience because it fits the respective clients wrist very well. For each of our beautiful timepieces we also have strong, authentic partnerships with multiple corporations around the world. We have the pleasure of hosting various special events with our spokespeople that relate to each model, and I think that’s the beauty of the brand; multiple stories that appeal to multiple people.
What does a timepiece from IWC symbolise to you? I think to a certain extent it is a state of mind related to a classiness or specific style, or elegance as I said before. It’s very much about my character or the client’s character that they can express through their timepiece, just as they probably would with their car as well. I don’t really like to call it a ‘status symbol’ because that’s not really the key component for me, for me it’s about an attitude that is carried on the wrist.
Since you are the brand director for the Middle East, what’s the taste of the Middle Eastern market like compared to the rest of the world? I’d say that in the Middle East in particular you have a very distinguished and sophisticated client base. People here have very strong roots in their culture and heritage, which differentiates them from the Western world. They have very strong values such as family, belief, trust, integrity and loyalty, which all add to their culture enormously. So I think all of these elements reflect in the choices they make for their wardrobe or accessories, and if you try and translate that to a watch, then it will probably be something that has a strong and lengthy heritage, which IWC definitely has. I think it also has to be special and unique, so I don’t think something mass-produced appeals to the sophisticated and distinguished clientele here, it’s very much about the limitation of quantity.
What qualities do you look for when selecting an ambassador to represent IWC? The qualities of our ambassadors have to be a perfect match to the IWC brand’s DNA. We have our very own, very defined character with our own values, and an ambassador helps us to bring those values to life. So if you look at something like our pioneering spirit for example, which is an
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