Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen celebrated recently the opening of its first US Flagship Boutique in New York City the largest of its kind worldwide. IWC marked this new milestone with the launch of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Muhammad Ali limited to 250 pieces and designated as a US exclusive.
The glamorous event at Manhattan’s new Madison Avenue hotspot attracted high profile guests, including actor Matthew Fox and model Adriana Lima. The opening featured an exhibition of the work of famed photographer Howard Bingham, a lifetime friend of Muhammad Ali, who recorded Ali’s career on camera.
“The opening of this Flagship Boutique in New York City is very special for us,” explains IWC CEO Georges Kern. “It not only reflects our unique identity and provides an exceptional customer experience, it also marks a return to our American heritage as our new ‘house of stories.’ We are looking forward to welcoming our guests at this marvelous location and inviting them to experience IWC’s spirit and philosophy.” In fact Florentine Ariosto Jones, the legendary entrepreneur who launched the International Watch Company in 1868, was American. The dimensions of IWC’s first US Flagship Boutique match their cosmopolitan surroundings. Over an impressive shop floor of more than 3,000 square feet, the unique interior design sets off the company’s watch families, continuing IWC’s rich narrative tradition in emotive settings that reflect their individual character. Famous guests such as actor and Friend of the Brand Matthew Fox, models Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova, and former boxing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield followed IWC’s invitation to join the grand opening of the company’s new milestone.
The Knockout: Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Muhammad Ali To highlight its homecoming in the year of the Pilot’s Watches, IWC has launched an extraordinary watch, limited to 250 pieces and dedicated to the legendary Muhammad Ali, who has gained global acclaim for his amazing career and lifetime achievements both in and outside the ring. Ali has lived his life in accordance with a set of six core values that include respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, and spirituality. It is these ideals that have propelled him to greatness and continue to give him the courage to stand up for what he believes. Rounding off the impressive guest list were Thomas Hauser, who portrayed The GreatestTM* in his biography “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” and boxing legend Larry Holmes, one of Ali’s sparring partners and favorite opponents. The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Muhammad Ali is modeled unmistakably on an IWC legend: the historic Big Pilot’s Watch of 1940. The clearly organized matte-black dial, the arrowhead index at “12 o’clock” and the bold, luminescent numerals and hands guarantee minute-perfect legibility of the time, regardless of the light. As a reference to The Greatest, who often wore red boxing gloves for his fights, hands and appliqués are highlighted with signal-red Super- LumiNova, which gives the watch a unique, sporty, and distinctly masculine look. Red is also mirrored on the inside of the black alligator leather strap. The case back bears the official logo of Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday. Only a month ago, IWC auctioned off a unique version of this exclusive edition on behalf of Celebrity Fight Night, donating the entire proceeds to the Muhammad Ali Center. To underline their common intentions, a part of the proceeds from sales of the limited edition will be used to support the Sportsman of the Century’s charitable causes. “I am already a proud owner of this beautiful timepiece. And, as a watch lover, I am very happy that IWC’s social commitment honors this limited edition,” notes Muhammad Ali, whose daughter Miya represented him on the occasion of the Flagship Boutique opening.
Exclusive Presentation of Iconic Howard Bingham Photographs The exclusive watch will be sold in an impressive package together with the monumental tome “GOAT Greatest of All Time.” Weighing 75 pounds and measuring 20320 inches, with over 3,000 illustrations by more than 150 photographers and artists, the book is a celebration of Muhammad Ali’s life and a literary event in its own right. The new Flagship Boutique premieres a display of 12 black-and-white photographs selected from GOAT. All were taken by Howard Bingham, the personal photo-biographer and lifetime friend of Muhammad Ali. During his exclusive presentation at the event, he also shared first-hand stories behind the images with the fascinated audience. The photographs are on display in IWC’s Flagship Boutique until the end of May 2012 and provide customers with access to stories about the legendary sportsman, amid the emotions which accompany the watch families in IWC’s new house of stories.