Karoline Huber, Brand Director IWC, Talks About Its Vibrant Heritage, Values and Masculinity. How It All Comes Together with Six Distinct Collections including Portofino
Storytelling at IWC (International Watch Company) has been very thorough when it comes to each and every piece and yet we always maintain a certain element of surprise with our Swiss luxury watch brand.
My own journey with IWC Schauffhausen started earlier than my career. In fact my father was a watch collector who was extremely fond of IWC’s innovation and material creativity. When I was 14, he
gave me my first watch which was IWC’s Pilot Mark 10—and I fell in love.
Later I was involved with strategic brand building in an agency and IWC became a client of ours. I met the CEO working with him on brand building then I was asked to join IWC itself—the timing was right for a shift. I worked with consumer marketing at first then became associate director of trade marketing. Three years ago I became the chief marketing officer responsible for product strategy. I’d like to think—and I strongly believe—that I’ve been blessed to work closely with an inspiring CEO. It’s a huge adventure.
Agency to Corporation: How hard was the shift?
The shift from an agency culture to a corporate world was interesting. Both entities are extremely different and communication in an agency is easier—it’s part of the culture there. Nevertheless the team spirit and importance of the people I work with is not something I take lightly. I don’t believe in hierarchy but instead I believe that each person in my team has exceptional expertise combined with a certain type of personality that complements the work we do.
Inspiration behind the current collection: How does it come together?
The Portofino collection started in 1960; it’s regarded as a sober product, easy to wear, something to slip on. That concept inspired the collection significantly. The main inspiration is ‘La Dolce Vita’. You can always spot a moon face in the watch itself as well as a few diamonds. The watch is designed to cater to today’s ladies; most own businesses and are attracted to beautiful things. For them, life is already complicated so we wanted to offer them the luxury of owning an IWC watch.
Tell us more about three key values IWC embraces.
We have a very vibrant heritage and are true to our values and masculinity. I would say our three IWC pillars are: – Portfolio: IWC’s portfolio is so diverse. We have six distinct families and it is extremely hard not to find something that caters to your taste and price range.
– Emotional Benefits: Not only do we make sure to sell watches
but to tell a story that builds an attachment to your timepiece.
– Managing Team: There is a very solid family culture within IWC.
Trends: How do you keep apace of a constantly challenging market?
IWC doesn’t follow the trends. The industry itself is challenging: The most important part is to stay true to our values and DNA.
Counterfeit watches: How do you deal with this challenge?
The problem with counterfeit problems is viewed as a compliment. If no one is trying to imitate your work then you’re obviously not doing a good job.
Kuwaiti tastes in fashion and jewelry: How important is Kuwait to IWC?
Kuwaitis appreciate heritage but also they like diversity in materials and colors. Kuwaiti women are connoisseurs in jewelry and fashion so the launch of women’s timepieces in Kuwait was an easy assignment. Kuwait is one of our key markets.
Uniqueness is important: What is IWC most proud of?
We have a unique way of doing things. There’s no rational benefit in selling someone a mechanical piece of equipment. We offer a lot more than that. We build an attachment to our timepieces; the vibrant stories behind them. We are very unique in this sense.