“We’ve now even installed, in our Schaffhausen headquarters, a content room,” says Ms. Franziska Gsell, Chief Marketing Officer of IWC watches. “Pinning up our content plans for the entire year and across all our markets helps us to keep an eye on everything.”

But it is what is necessary in order to deliver a clear, consistent and coherent message across multiple channels, in multiple localities to an audience, which is as varied as the sheer number of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors. Okay, apparently, there are no more than 40 varieties of Ben & Jerry’s flavors out in the market at any one given time, but you get the pint — I mean, point.

IWC Schaffhausen was probably one of the very first names in the watch industry to have taken on the online sphere with such great intention, paired with intense conviction — that this is the way to the future. But the brand’s sensitivity towards the need to be culturally relevant is not something of a fresh revelation.

From the 1986 movie, Top Gun to the highly-acclaimed Netflix original, House of Cards of recent days, IWC’s game book for intelligent visibility will soon become the instructional manual for future marketers in the watchmaking industry, if it hasn’t already.

Today, it can be said with a great amount of confidence that IWC’s visibility and audibility across multiple online and social media channels is unquestionable. It’s come to a point where even if all the brand does is scratch the surface, it creates a crater on the ground.

And just late last year, in 2016, IWC took yet another leap that had many scratching their heads. This was, of course, the brand’s foray into e-commerce in partnership with e-retail sites, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter. As we stand here and now, a quarter into 2017, IWC Schaffhausen stands to testify that yet again the game plan in play has worked out remarkably.

BEIJING, CHINA – April 18, 2017: IWC held a press conference and panel discussion in Beijing’s Rosewood Hotel, moderated by host Andy Chen, and featuring IWC Chief Marketing Officer Franziska Gsell, IWC Brand Ambassadors Zhou Xun and Dev Patel, and IWC’s 2017 Outstanding Young Filmmaker of the Year, Derek Tsang. IWC CMO Franziska Gsell pictured. (Photo by Emmanuel Wong /IWC Schaffhausen via Getty Images)

2017 started off for IWC, at SIHH, with the launch of the refreshed Da Vinci collection. A redesign that harkens back to the look of the 1980s Da Vinci that had a great amount of success. Particularly, there was a Da Vinci that was created then for women that did excellently for IWC. This was, of course, the Da Vinci – Lady Chronograph, Ref. 3735 released in 1988. It was, in fact, such a successful piece that IWC has gone on record to say that it became one of their best sellers.

So, because the 2017 collection is based on the success of the 1980s Da Vinci design, it was also natural that part of the drive for this collection would be women. But there is yet another reason why it is of incredible foresight that IWC should focus on the ladies in this season.

The truth of the matter is that the watch industry has seen better days in the last two decades. However, when all the numbers are gathered and made sense of, what is curious is that it is the women who are, in fact, increasingly more supportive of watchmaking than ever before. Simply put, it’s the ladies who are spending and, therefore, it is necessary to create with them in mind; to communicate with them in mind.

It is as such that when the 2017 Da Vinci collection was launched, the first retail outlet to receive the new watches was Net-a-Porter. Even more impressive is that Net-a-Porter was already offering watches such as the Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Automatic Moon Phase 36, as early as February of 2017.

And how has the entire e-commerce strategy, and the drive towards women, panned out for IWC? “We’ve been surprised by just how many women are buying IWC watches on our e-retail channels. Of the watches we have sold across the gender groups, we’re really happy about the success. Roughly, 50% of those purchases are made by women,” explains Ms. Gsell.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36 and Automatic Moon Phase 36

Now, that’s just plain impressive. “It gives us the ground to say that we had the strategy and the communication right from the start. The brand is ready for this new era of retail and so are the IWC customers,” says Ms. Gsell.

So, now that we know the brand is in the right direction. What is then the next step forward? The answer according, to Ms. Gsell, is: “Our step forward is that we capitalize on this traction and being e-retailing through www.IWC.com. This is a logical extension of our customer service portfolio, and a perfect complement to our exising distribution network with trusted retail partners and IWC boutiques. The aim is to create an omnichannel distribution model, and e-retail is an integral part of this.

We already have run an exercise of receiving pre-orders for the 2017 Da Vinci Collection on www.IWC.com, but that was in a secure timeframe of two weeks. Now, as of June 2017, we will offer a full e-retail experience on our website.

We’ll start with the US and then we will extend this offering to more of our markets over the course of the next years.”

Also Read