This is the brand's first move into customization—but it's likely not the last
(Apr 18): Prior to the start of Baselworld, the Richemont-owned brand IWC announced its launch of an online customization tool that allows customers to create their own versions of the Ingeneiur chronograph and then order those watches directly. This comes less than a year after IWC launched its latest U.S. website, complete with an e-commerce boutique. And, while for now the tool is limited to the single model – the Ingenieur Chronograph – I would be shocked if this weren't an idea that IWC pushed further in the future. Today is almost certainly just the beginning.
So what can you do with this new tool? You just log on to IWC's e-comm platform and instead of selecting from pre-configured models of the Ingenieur Chronograph you create your own. This includes choosing your case metal, your dial color, the hands, and a strap before finishing everything off with a caseback engraving. All of the watches use the same in-house IWC Caliber 69375 movement. As you can see from the images here, the watch is rendered in realtime, so you can see what you're making and play with it until you get exactly what you're looking for.
If you choose to order yourself an Ingenieur Chronograph, the watch is built just for you and takes 12 weeks to complete. From there, it can be either delivered anywhere in the U.S. or picked up at any of IWC's U.S. boutiques. The program launches today and you can check it out here.
Customization has not typically been something encouraged by the traditional Swiss watch industry. When it comes to many other luxury goods, customization is everything – take bespoke suits or custom-made shoes, for a example. Both TAG Heuer and Zenith officially teamed up with the Bamford Watch Department last year to begin offering custom watches, while the small upstart Ochs und Junior has been offering online customization for much longer. As watch brands look to woo customers in new ways, this could very well be ones of the things that helps. Time will tell, and you can bet we'll be watching.
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