You can always count on IWC to ride the crest of fashion. The brand’s new Portugieser collection doesn’t disappoint, offering details that speak of adventures on the high seas. We sit down with creative director Christian Knoop for a quick chat regarding the brand’s latest collaborative project with fashion label Orlebar Brown.
IWC is known for its energetic and active product universes that are inspired by our history as a manufacturer of instrument watches. The IWC Portugieser is more than 80 years old, and it has always been linked to sailing and navigation. For our 2020 collection, we were looking for a way to express this nautical heritage in a new way. We partnered with Italian boatbuilder Solaris Yachts and British fashion label Orlebar Brown to create a contemporary yachting universe, representing the visual codes and materials of the new collection.
When [Orlebar Brown founder] Adam Brown and myself met two years ago, we talked about a yachting-inspired collection, we asked ourselves which ideas and details could translate into the watch. The Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown” has a yachting-inspired colour scheme with its polished steel case and its dark blue lacquered dial with white and red printed details. The rubber strap features a top textile layer that reflects the same pattern found on ropes on the deck of a sailing yacht. We also developed a unique buckle, which takes its inspiration from the iconic side-fastener of Orlebar Brown’s signature swim shorts.
What I find most appealing is that it opens up an entirely new playing field when it comes to design. Even though the actual design processes for fashion and watches are significantly different, the attention to detail when it comes to crafting a perfect garment impresses me. Both Orlebar Brown and IWC have a similar take on basic proportions, with pure and recognisable lines combined with a collection-related layer of storytelling.
As a fresh and innovative brand, IWC is always eager to try new things. The idea of a collaboration is to take your brand to a place where it does not traditionally exist. If you look at it this way, there are many exciting places where we could go.