A shared passion for engineering, design and storytelling brought the teams from Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand and IWC Schaffhausen together almost two years ago. To mark the formal launch of their collaboration and the release of the first “IWC Racing”-themed Hot Wheels set, Mattel’s president Richard Dickson and IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr connect virtually to discuss both brand’s founding stories, their approach to innovation and the power of emotional storytelling.
Founded exactly 100 years apart, both brands are success stories of design and engineering: In 1868, Boston-based engineer and watchmaker F.A. Jones traveled across the Atlantic to start the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. He set out to manufacture the best mechanical watches money could buy – combining Swiss craftsmanship with American industrial technology. His innovative approach to watchmaking soon earned IWC a reputation as a manufacturer of instruments fit for navigation and later flying, racing and exploring the oceans, both above and below the surface. Today, IWC’s iconic products stand out not only for their innovative engineering and precision, but also for the way their unique design tells stories of great adventure. This can best be illustrated by the brand’s Big Pilot watch, a rugged tool watch responding to the needs of elite aviators in the golden age of flight. Today the Big Pilot is one of the most recognized designs in the watch industry and appreciated not only as a professional pilot’s watch, but also a cultural icon and as an expression of a distinct mindset.
Fast-forward to 1968 in El Segundo, Southern California: Elliot Handler, husband of Barbie inventor Ruth Handler, set out to revolutionize the way children played with model cars. In those days, the market was dominated by unimaginative slow-rolling toy cars. Handler not only wanted to create a car that rolled faster and further than anything existing before, he also wanted to design it to create an immediate wow factor amongst his target audience. Inspired by the emerging hot-rod culture in Southern California as well as space-age design trends, Hot Wheels became an immediate success and over the next 50 years the distinctive die-cast cars would become the world’s best-selling toy – 20,000 designs and 6 billion cars – after its humble beginnings in a garage in El Segundo.
IWC’s long-standing connection with the world of motorsport and the recent successes of the brand’s own classic racing team presented the perfect opportunity for collaboration between IWC and Hot Wheels.
“We want to bring our brand to much younger consumers and seed the interest for mechanical watches and the world of IWC. Our classic racing team, with its striking silver 300SL Gullwing, turns heads wherever we go, so creating a Hot Wheels Premium Team Transport set made
The Team Transport set has been a labor of love for both design teams. The designers in El Segundo created an astonishing 1:64 scale replica of IWC’s 300SL driven by F1 legend David Coulthard – faithful in every detail – all the way to the bucket seat interior and racing rims. IWC’s lead graphics designer Nik Schmidt worked closely with Hot Wheels’ graphics team to create a striking livery reminiscent of the heyday of the “Silver Arrows”. Racing number 68 was the logical choice alluding to both brand’s founding year. Even the packaging art contains a subtle nudge to the Goodwood Motor Circuit, the iconic UK racetrack where David Coulthard won the Tony Gaze trophy in 2019 piloting the IWC Racing 300SL.
“IWC Schaffhausen and Hot Wheels have become industry leaders through generations of craftsmanship and design to create a premium product for our fans,” said Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel.
“This partnership celebrates the merging of these two beloved brands by highlighting the detail and performance of both Swiss luxury and American automotive excellence, all in the palm of your hand.”
The global release of the Hot Wheels IWC Racing Team Transport set coincides with the opening of IWC’s new immersive flagship store in Zurich, Switzerland. Themed as “IWC Racing Works” – Home of the IWC classic racing team, the store concept will feature the full sized 300SL Gullwing as its centerpiece.
The “TIME WELL SHARED” initiative, which IWC announced recently, encompasses online lectures, speeches and webinars that will feature on digital channels during the following weeks. The aim is to entertain and support people in these challenging times. The initiative includes contributions from IWC brand ambassadors and partners like, for example, Tom Brady, MercedesAMG Petronas Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG, Tottenham Hotspur, Laureus Sport for Good, Solaris Yachts and Orlebar Brown.
All contributions are accompanied by a link to make voluntary donations, with IWC making the first donation. With the funds raised, IWC will support Save the Children, which aims to strengthen its programs that protect children and families in countries that are hit by the virus, increase support for national health systems, and raise awareness among parents and caregivers on how to provide psychosocial support to children. Another crucial pillar of “TIME WELL SHARED” is a personal volunteering program on ‘Good Tutors Finder’ to support schoolchildren and their parents. In their own free time, and on an individual voluntary basis, IWC employees are encouraged to offer online tutoring support for schoolchildren in basic subjects.
For the latest information on “TIME WELL SHARED”, and to access exclusive content, please visit https://www.iwc.com/en/articles/journal/iwc-news-events.html and www.savethechildren.ch/timewellshared.
For more information on the personal volunteering program of IWC employees involving online tutoring support for schoolchildren, please visit www.goodtutorsfinder.ch/iwc-time-well-shared.