What we spotted on YouTube this morning, is a great example of how self-ironic and contemporary the watch industry can be. It is probably the most amusing idea on demonstrating the merits of a mechanical watch, that a brand published in a long time: An elderly smart dressed gent seeks advice about a smartwatch in a generic specialist shop. It’s about settings, updates and durability – it all seems pretty simple, but yet inconvenient-to-use and not really sustainable.
The well-dressed gent is no less than the wonderful watchmaker Kurt Klaus, who plays the main role in the three new video-sketches ‘A Smart Watch. And A Half’ made by IWC. The now 85-year-old Klaus has been working at IWC since 1957 and revolutionized the perpetual calendar. He translated the Gregorian calendar with all its many irregularities into a mechanical program that will continue running perfectly until 2499 with almost no corrections from outside.
This construction was first featured in the Da Vinci Chronograph Perpetual Calendar in 1985 and consisted of just 81 parts. During long walks in his free time, Kurt Klaus pored over this mechanism which still today is regarded as a milestone in the art of watchmaking. He came at the right time when the quartz crisis has already hit the mechanical watch industry. At that time already, he was able to oppose the technical progress, so why not again now in the digital age.
The new campaign videos are no war declaration against the digitalization, but leave it open to the viewer to decide for themselves, what’s smart and what’s not. One thing is for certain however: A smartwatch is outdated after a few years already, whereas a mechanical watch outlasts generations. That’s probably just like Kurt Klaus thinks with a wink in his humorous-comedic sketches.