Schaffhausen, 30th March 2023 – IWC Schaffhausen’s Friend of the Brand and champion freestyle skier Eileen Gu visited the IWC Manufakturzentrum in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, for the first time on Thursday. The Olympian, fashion model and full-time student joined the IWC family in August 2021.
During her trip to Schaffhausen, Gu had the opportunity to experience the watchmaking process firsthand during a tour of the manufacture and had lunch overlooking the world-famous Rhine Falls. IWC Chief Marketing Officer Franziska Gsell was on hand to accompany Gu during the visit, which followed the Olympic medallist’s debut appearance at the Watches and Wonders show on Wednesday.
“I am thrilled to join IWC Schaffhausen on home ground this week,” explained Gu. “It has been so interesting to experience the reality behind the legendary ‘Made in Schaffhausen’ pledge. Seeing the watchmakers’ passion and expertise as they carefully craft each watch has been amazing. I also enjoyed visiting the Rhine Falls and hearing how its waters powered the original factory, a fascinating foreshadowing of the sustainable ethos driving IWC today.”
IWC has produced mechanical watches in Schaffhausen since 1868 and opened a new manufacture in the Swiss city in 2018 to mark its 150th anniversary. A groundbreaking facility, the IWC Manufakturzentrum combines component production, case-making and movement assembly all under one roof. Organised in sequential steps, the process from raw materials to finished watch movements and cases can be experienced up close with transparency.
“I am so pleased Eileen found time in her very hectic schedule to visit the Manufakturzentrum. Nothing comes close to being here in person to fully experience the Swiss heart and rich heritage of the IWC Schaffhausen story. Speaking with our engineers and watchmakers and seeing the processes happening in front of your eyes gives you a real flavour of the sophistication of engineering and craftsmanship that goes into every IWC timepiece.”
At Schaffhausen, Gu wore the recently-released Portofino Perpetual Calendar (Ref. IW344602). Launched in November 2022, it is the first time a perpetual calendar has featured in the Portofino collection in decades. At just 40 millimetres, it is also the smallest version of the complication in IWC‘s portfolio. Gu‘s 5N Gold version has a silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands and appliques and a soft, blue calfskin leather strap. It is powered by the IWC-manufactured 82650 calibre movement and will run without adjustment until 2100.
ABOUT EILEEN GU
Born in 2003, Eileen Gu is a champion freestyle skier, a successful fashion model and a student at the prestigious Stanford University. Gu started recreational skiing at age three before delving into freestyle skiing when she was eight. Freeski is an action-packed extreme sport that involves spectacular acrobatic skills like flips, spins and slides. She became the youngest Olympic champion in her category at Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics after winning two gold medals and a silver medal. Most recently, she participated in January’s Winter X Games in Aspen and the Freestyle Ski World Cup in Calgary.