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Brian M. Afuang
July 30, 2019    |    

IWC to Mercedes-Benz: Best wishes!

Watchmaker congratulates partner on 125 years of motor racing

BLAME it on the rain.

Surely, the result of the German Formula 1 grand prix was not how Mercedes-Benz planned to celebrate its 125th anniversary in motorsports — pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton had his worst finish of the season while Valtteri Bottas crashed out as the field struggled to cope with inclement weather — still, it cannot be said the team did not try. Plus, it did so dapperly; the Mercedes-AMG guys were in flat caps and vests and suspenders all weekend. No contest, they were the best-dressed at the paddock.

Going into Mercedes-Benz’s home race, IWC Schaffhausen had bade its partner best wishes for its milestone. And, as it turns out, the history of IWC and Mercedes-Benz is intertwined much longer than the past decade-and-a-half they have been together.

IWC

In 1894, when cars powered by engines built by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach — the company they founded became known as Mercedes-Benz in 1926 — topped the world’s first organized motor race which took place from Paris to Rouen, IWC was also racing to develop its Calibre 65. The movement became one of the best pocket chronometers of the era.

Decades later, in 1936, eventual IWC technical director and master watchmaker Albert Pellaton went to the Swiss grand prix in Bern to check out the timing system he developed for the race. There, he was photographed passing by the Mercedes-Benz garage; this snapshot turned out to be the first documented encounter between IWC and the carmaker.

IWC
IWC

Despite some occasional flirtations, it would take nearly seven decades before the two brands finally got together. In 2004, IWC signed up as a partner to

Mercedes-AMG, the high-performance arm of Mercedes-Benz. This initial link was boosted by a partnership with AMG Motorsport and, in 2013, by IWC becoming the “Official Engineering Partner” of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The association is even stronger today; it’s hard to miss the IWC branding on the Mercedes-AMG F1 cars, paddock and uniforms.

“We are immensely proud of our lengthy and enduring partnership with Mercedes-Benz. We want to commemorate this important anniversary… long may our combined quests for ultimate perfection continue,” said IWC Schaffhausen CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr, a fixture at Mercedes-Benz’s Formula 1 paddock.

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