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.

“The Portugieser is the perfect collection for this collaboration. Not only because of its history with seafaring and navigation, but also its very pure and very recognisable design code.”
Christian Knoop, IWC Creative Director
IWC x Orlebar Brown collection
Photo: IWC
Please tell us about the impetus behind the Orlebar Brown collection. 

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.

What were the key design considerations?

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 is the appeal of collaborating with a brand outside of the watch industry? 

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.

Can we be expecting more collaborative projects in the near future?

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.

written by.
Evigan Xiao
Writer
Evigan is an avid fan of bench-made boots, raw selvedge denim, single malt Scotch and fine watches. When he's not busy chuckling over image dumps on Imgur, he can be found lifting heavy objects in the gym or fussing over his two dogs, Velvet and Kenji. He dreams of one day owning a cottage in the English countryside and raising a small army of Canadian geese to terrorise the local populace.

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