Ball Watch Company
Baume et Mercier
Bell & Ross
IWC's history began over 140 years ago. At the mere age of 27, the American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones had been the deputy director and manager of the E. Howard Watch and Clock Co. in Boston, then a leading American watchmaker. At a time when most people were trying their luck in the west, Jones went in the opposite direction. His journey took him across the Atlantic to Switzerland, where wages were still comparatively low. His plan was to combine the outstanding craftsmanship of the Swiss with modern engineering technology from over-seas and his own pioneering spirit to manufacture high-quality watches for the American market. However, the skilled workers in the Geneva region and the remote valleys of western Switzerland met his plans with scepticism. Since the 17th century,they had been working from their homes or in tiny workshops. Jones, on the other hand, was dreaming of building a modern factory with centralised production.
It was then that Jones chanced on an industrialist from Schaffhausen by the name of Hein-rich Moser. At this time, Schaffhausen already had a long clockmaking tradition. The first clock ever mentioned in the records was made way back in 1409 at the Rheinau Monastery, ten kilometres further down the Rhine. It had been produced for the Church of St. John in Schaffhausen. There are also official records of a clockmakers' guild in the town since 1583, and it was also home to the famed Habrecht family of clockmakers, who built one of history's most outstanding astronomical clocks for Strasbourg cathedral. Nevertheless, it was Jones's plan to manufacture relatively large numbers of high-quality watches in-house to precisely the same tolerances which enabled these watches made in Schaffhausen to become famous all over the world.