December 21, 2017
Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has turned its considerable engineering talent to an unexpected new product: a fidget spinner produced with all the high-quality mechanics and finishes of the finest timepiece.
The IWC fidget spanner is a strikingly high-end take on something that is most often seen made of plastic and sold for a dollar. The brand’s embrace of the fidget spinner as a novel product shows that even the most mundane of products can be elevated through the use of high-quality materials and effort put into production.
“The development of this unique fidget spinner from beginning to end boasts all elements and stages that are regularly part of our more sophisticated projects: research, conception, design, mechanics, production and assembly,” said Thomas Gäumann, head of the research and development movement department at IWC, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
“I think it is a great opportunity for our department to illustrate the filigree work of a watch movement," he said. "There is something about the fidget spinner that truly touches and fascinates people.”
In the year or so since the fidget spinner craze first swept the nation, the toys have become something of a joke. In a way, they are the perfect embodiment of a fad: something that has no inherent value and seems to only be popular due to a combination of novelty and sheer inertia.
IWC wanted to see if it could create a version of the fidget spinner that used the same high-quality materials and engineering as one of its watches.
The fidget spinner in production. Image credit: IWC
The fidget spinner was made from some of the finest materials and gears that IWC uses for its premium watches, presenting a unique challenge for the brand’s engineers as they determined the best way to construct the spinner.
IWC's fidget spinner is not for sale, and the brand acknowledges that creating it was more a chance to show off its engineering prowess and process, rather than an attempt to create a viable product.
Instead, the fidget spinner serves as a sort of advertisement for IWC’s watches, showing the care and craft put into each device that comes from the esteemed Swiss manufacturer.
IWC’s fidget spinner may seem like a joke, but Saturday Night Live predicted its existence almost perfectly in a sketch about a gold-and-diamond fidget spinner by Cartier (see story).
But IWC is self-aware and the entire fidget spinner project seems to be done entirely tongue-in-cheek.
Before this project, IWC has been focusing its efforts on bringing more women into both its campaigns and in its designs.
For example, IWC is boosting the visibility of a mysterious new campaign with the help of a bevy of influencers.
As part of the launch campaign for its new Da Vinci timepieces, the first marketed specifically for women, the brand created a fantastical film featuring a hooded woman discovering corners of a Florentine palazzo. Ensuring this content reaches the most eyes possible, the brand worked with almost 20 global personalities, casting the women in variations on the central effort (see story).
The finished product. Image credit: IWC
IWC also popped up at Harrods to showcase its newly dual gender approach to timepiece design.
Up through the month of May, the brand’s display fetes the launch of its Da Vinci collection, the first to include pieces developed specifically for women in the house’s history. While many women have no qualms wearing watches that were not specifically designed for them, creating watches that cater to female consumers may help IWC reach more of that audience (see story).
IWC’s fidget spinner project allowed the brand to showcase its designers and craftsmen in a light-hearted way.
“While the design and the watch as a whole tend to be paramount, I actually believe that the fidget spinner generates greater acknowledgement and appreciation of the watch movement itself," said Debora Girsberger, constructor and developer at IWC, Schaffhausen, Switzerland. "It allows us to provide a better understanding of the core of the inner watch mechanism – and isn’t that a truly great opportunity?"