Cover story: Kurt Klaus, IWC Schaffhausen watchmaking legend

The inventor of the IWC perpetual calendar and current brand ambassador talk to us about his fascination with mechanical solutions and witnessing the technological evolution of watchmaking.

Watchmaker Kurt Klaus has clocked in over six decades at IWC Schaffhausen.

Entry to the Watchmaking Hall of Greats is hard-won with only the most noteworthy luminaries extended an invitation. The majority of them are historical figures but among the living legends whose portraits hang in this fantasy hall are the likes of Philippe Dufour, Jean-Claude Biver and Kurt Klaus.

The last is the 84-year-old ambassador of IWC Schaffhausen who has clocked in over six decades, and counting, at the Manufacture. He is revered in watchmaking circles for his illustrious contributions to the industry, particularly the invention of the IWC perpetual calendar. His complication, assembled from a meagre 90 components, guarantees accuracy of calendar functions for over half a century and proves ingenuity truly lies in simplicity. This feat of enduring precision was appropriately named Operation Eternity.

Numerous collectors have had the pleasure of meeting this remarkable gentleman, who travels the world as a watchmaking missionary to spread the gospel of IWC’s relentless quest for excellence. It is a subject he speaks of with authority, having pursued this Holy Grail himself throughout his career as a watchmaker at the Manufacture. This duty to quality was inherited from his mentor, technical director Albert Pellaton, who was renowned for his inflexible stance on the matter. Pellaton was sparing with his praise. “Yes, it is good but it could be just a bit better,” he was known to say,  and when work was done within the permitted miniscule tolerance of error,  “You don’t have to make full use of the tolerance.”



For the full story, pick up a copy of The Edge Malaysia (July 16, 2018) at your nearest news stand. Save by subscribing to us for your print and/or digital copy. 



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