The International Watch Company, typically referred to as IWC, is a manufacturer known for their luxury Swiss watches. Founded in 1868 by an American who wanted to employ famed Swiss watchmakers, it is the only watch company in western Switzerland. Today, when customers see the IWC logo on the face of their watch, they know they are getting a quality timepiece that is accurate, durable, and stylish.
Throughout the years, IWC has slightly altered their logo to appeal to customers. This article will tell you all about the history and the inspiration of the signature logo for IWC watches.
IWC Logo Design Elements
The IWC logo is a bold black and white design that appears on everything from watch faces to store fronts. Its main feature is bold text that says “IWC” in an all capitalized, serif font. Centered below the IWC text is the word “Schaffhausen” in smaller letters. Each line is completely straight and aligned with the center of the logo.
Only two letters at the beginning and end of the Schaffhausen line expand past either side of the IWC to create a slightly triangular appearance. The more modern, sans-serif font of the Schaffhausen line contrasts nicely with the traditional and elegant font used for the IWC line. You can find it as either black text on a white background or white text on a black background depending on the logo’s location.
Changes and Evolution
All shapes of the IWC logo have been slightly similar, but they have have been tweaked slightly to modernize the watch company. At first, the logo said “International Watch Co” in a long line that stretched over the word Schaffhausen. In the 1980s, it changed to say IWC in a smaller font that allowed the Schaffhausen line to take up most of the logo space. The final change to the logo expanded the size of the IWC line so that it was just barely smaller than the second line of text.
IWC has always used a simple, neutral, two color scheme for their logo. There have been no significant changes in color over the years. The black and white remained a staple of simplicity. It adds more to the message that the brand does not need flashy colors to stand out. Unlike other luxury brand watches, such as Breitling or Rolex, IWC did not opt to variate their color scheme.
The primary difference in IWC logos has been the fonts chosen for the logo. For almost a century, the first line of the logo was in an elaborate script font that looked elegant and calligraphic. On the other hand, the second line was a bolder, serifed, Roman font. When the logo changed just to include the IWC initials, the first and second line stayed in the same Roman font with serifs. This was further streamlined in the mid-2000s when IWC changed the lower line of text to a monospaced, sans-serif font.
The IWC logo has always relied on tradition and history. Founder Florentine Ariosto Jones chose to write “International Watch Co.” at the top of his logo because it was a collaboration between Swiss and American watch workers. He chose a script font for the logo to make his watches look elegant and traditional.
By the 1990s, futuristic styles were far trendier than traditional ones. The company, which was now lead by German manufacturer VDO Adolf Schindling, decided to modernize it. He got rid of the script font and shortened the logo just to show initials.
In a final update, IWC switched the second line of their logo to a sans-serif font similar to the iconic Swiss font, Helvetica. This pays tribute to IWC’s Swiss origins while keeping IWC relevant by following the early 2000s trend for Helvetica fonts.
IWC uses their logo to emphasize their origins in Schaffhausen. However, it was not the founder’s first choice. He only ended up making a factory in western Switzerland because all the established watch companies in eastern Switzerland did not approve of his plans. IWC is very proud of their innovative founder, but strangely, there are no definitive photos of him.
IWC started out as a small watch factory with big goals. The founder’s reputation for innovative design with traditional Swiss watchmaking methods appealed to many, so IWC became an enduring luxury brand. Though they have changed their logo slightly to appeal to modern consumers, the simple, graphic design ensures that the IWC logo is instantly recognizable.