It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Switzerland on the history of watchmaking. The “Swiss Made” label has become a well-recognized symbol of refinement, precision and quality on everything from luggage to appliances to cutlery, but the reputation really started with timepieces. The most recognizable brands are Swiss — Rolex, OMEGA, Vacheron, Patek Philippe — and annual watch fairs in Geneva and Basel are the places to be seen if you have anything to do with telling time.
Most of the Swiss watch companies are based in the French-speaking parts of the country: Geneva, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Sentier, Le Brassus. But one powerhouse brand set up shop in the German-speaking town of Schaffhausen near the mighty Rhine River. Never mind that the International Watch Company was founded by an American looking to bring American assembly line practices to the cheaper labor of eastern Switzerland. Today, IWC is thoroughly Swiss and proud of it. So proud, in fact, that they’ve put together a little video in honor of Switzerland’s national holiday, which falls on August 1st, with a team of watchmakers playing the Swiss national anthem on suitably sized instruments. The conductor of the group is none other than Kurt Klaus, appropriately a national treasure and designer of some of IWC’s greatest complicated timepieces. Happy National Day, Switzerland, and keep the great timepieces coming!