November 5 – 2012 was an exciting day for for both BeirutNightLife.com and PingDubai.com! A streak of exclusive interviews with big players in the watch industry. Along with interviewing Richard Mille and Felipe Massa, BeirutNightLife.com in coordination with PingDubai.com met up with IWC Schaffhausen Board of Directors member Hannes Pantli, in Abu Dhabi, after enjoying a Michelin Star worthy lunch created and prepared exclusively for IWC guest.
Our appetite was first tickled by red curry popcorn and sesame cookies. Then we were treated to a mouthwatering five spices cashew nuts starter, miso flavored chicken skin, a refreshing fruit and vegetable salad, Hoi Sin duck and foie gras salad, flavored with beetroot jelly and coriander to balance the taste and add quirkiness to the dish.
What followed was a first for us, a unique and special main course: a charred piece of Wagyu beef: very dark and black smoked on the outside, with an almost burned appearance, housing a contradictory red interior texture, meat so rare that it melts on the tongue, forcing you to close your eyes and absorb this awakening of the tastebuds. To top that amazing experience off, and after we thought we had enjoyed the best of it, we were delighted by a chocolate raspberry desert that the term “yummy” couldn’t even start to describe. If you think IWC are experts in watches creation only, think again! They definitely master the art of food, and know how to welcome their guests with their amazing hospitality.
This unforgettable welcome and unique lunch experience paved the way to a one-on-one with Pantli, and this is what he had to share with us about IWC’s most complicated timepiece to-date, the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia.
BNL: Tell us a bit about your background and experience with IWC…
Hannes Pantli: “I’ve been with the company for 40 years. I am on the board of directors now and a spokesman for management. The first time I came to this area for IWC was in 1974, so this part of the world is very dear to me and I’m glad to be back in Abu Dhabi.”
BNL: Tell us more about the Portuguese Sidérale.
H.P.:“It is the flagship of IWC. The most complex, most complicated, most expensive watch that we have ever produced. It is a watch that does not only show solar time, but also celestial time, the star time. We built this watch especially for one customer which means we have on the back of the watch a starry sky that reflects exactly the situation the future owner has above his house or any location that he gives us. So, he has a watch that nobody else in the world will have. It’s personalized: he can also choose what metals he wants; titanium, red gold. It comes with constant-force tourbillon; this mechanism guarantees an equal power, a constant force for 48 hours. So, it has a power reserve of 96 hours. When you don’t wear the watch, we have a special box that we call travel pouch, and inside it is a special winder, built in to guarantee the constant flow of this mechanism.”
When you look at the astronomical side, we have a sky chart where you can also see the sunset, the color of the sky changes…”
BNL: Define, in one word, the customer who should buy this watch.
H.P.: “It’s somebody who wants to have something that nobody else has, sand somebody who is of course, very fond of mechanical timepieces. Mostly, collectors, but we think it’s a watch that should be worn.”
BNL: Any message to pass along to customers in the Middle-East?
H.P.: “We hope that the Gulf area remains a very strong market for us. We’re very thankful of course. From the beginning of my career with IWC, the Middle East was always a very important market and during the difficult years when there were some crises in the Swiss watch industry, the Middle East, especially the Gulf area, has always helped to save and develop the Swiss watch industry.”
Enjoy the full video interview with more from Mr. Pantli himself.