When You Think of IWC, Sustainability Pops into Your Mind

How many of you know that IWC is the first Swiss luxury watch brand built on the concepts of engineering, sustainability and innovation?

Indeed, it was back in the 1868 when Florentine Ariosto Jones – an American engineer and watchmaker – decided to move from Boston to Schaffhausen with the mission of creating the most reliable watch that combined Swiss Made craftsmanship with the modern American technologies.

Since then, the pioneering spirit of the brand has remain untouched. Indeed, it evolved over the years bringing IWC to be the leading Swiss luxury watch brand in terms of sustainability.

What makes of IWC the leader in the field of sustainability in the watch industry?

A wide set of activities: from the introduction in 2018 of the “Sustainability Report” compliant with GRI standards, to the recognition of the “Positive Luxury” award, as a “Luxury Brand to Trust” since 2014.

Environmental, Social and Governance are the three areas where sustainability takes place, and the brand covers all of them. Just to name a few: Sourcing is the first and most important step along the pipeline of a sustainable supply chain.

IWC works only with suppliers whose supply chain is traceable, in order to make the production of the watches even more respectful of the environment and workers conditions.

Social responsibility. IWC is implementing a structured long-term program to increase all aspects of diversity and inclusion in the organization. By 2022 the company is called to double the share of women in management positions compared to a 2017 baseline and achieve Equal Pay certification.

To keep growing in this direction is a must and we discussed it directly with the woman who led this journey at IWC, Franziska Gsell, IWC Chief Marketing Officer.

Being the first woman to “initiate” the luxury watch industry towards a structured sustainable path is a great achievement. What are the reasons behind this move?

Sustainability is a matter of the heart for me. I am also a mother, and I sincerely care about the society we are part of and the world we will be leaving to our children.

franziska gsell

Certainly, we can be proud of the progress we have made at IWC thanks to our structured and transparent approach to sustainability.

We have set ourselves clear goals in the last years and were able to achieve many of them. For example, to reduce the weight and volume of our primary packaging, or to purchase only renewable energy, globally. But we will not rest on our laurels.

Franziska Gsell – IWC Chief Marketing Officer

Sustainability is an ongoing journey that is never finished, a lens you have to look through at every area of your business. Once you have picked the low-hanging fruits, it becomes much more challenging to make progress. Becoming truly sustainable also goes much further than just how we make our watches. It also encompasses the way we distribute, market and service them. Every detail we can improve makes me happy and motivates me to continue this journey.

What is the purpose that moves you towards sustainability every day?

Putting on my IWC watch in the morning reminds me of the intrinsically sustainable nature of mechanical timepieces.

Watchmaking is part of Switzerland’s cultural heritage, and we invest a lot of time and effort to keep this intricate craftsmanship alive.

The purpose that moves me is the sincere desire to run our business as responsibly as possible by addressing our environmental and social impacts transparently and frankly, always.

Every day presents a new opportunity, also when it comes to sustainability and more responsible production.

Is there an IWC watch that can be considered a “sustainable hero product”?

Our efforts to make our watches in the most responsible way towards a clean and sustainable supply chain are reflected through all of our products. Every IWC watch is manufactured responsibly in Schaffhausen embodying as well the rich history and heritage of the brand.

For this reason, I don’t think there is a hero sustainable watch“ at IWC, all of them are.

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