Schaffhausen/Amsterdam, 23rd September 2022: IWC Schaffhausen launches a collaboration with Dutch fashion and streetwear label Filling Pieces. Over the next three weeks, their flagship store in Amsterdam will be transformed into a monochromatic world, inspired by IWC’s new green ceramic color “Woodland.” To celebrate the partnership, Filling Pieces Founder and Creative Director Guillaume Philibert has designed the “Low Top Ghost Woodland,” a limited-edition sneaker featuring design and color codes derived from the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland.”

Filling Pieces was founded in 2009 by Guillaume Philibert, as he wanted to design a premium sneaker at a fair price point. He then created the “Low Top,” which bridged the gap between streetwear and high fashion; it became a symbol of affordable luxury design and continues to be one of the Dutch brand’s most iconic silhouettes. Since then, Filling Pieces has grown into an established fashion brand with innovative footwear and a ready-to-wear collection complete with bags, accessories, and eyewear.

The collaboration between IWC Schaffhausen and Filling Pieces is based on a shared passion for craftsmanship, design, creation and color. Championing design as a positive force for change, Filling Pieces has assembled a global network of diverse individuals who move beyond borders to break down social boundaries and create products that bring people together. Diversity and inclusivity are also key pillars of IWC’s sustainability efforts. The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer is proud to join forces with Filling Pieces as they bridge the gaps between streetwear, high fashion and luxury watchmaking.

Numéro magazine interviewed IWC Schaffhausen about the unique collaboration between the two brands.

How did the collaboration between Filling Pieces and IWC come to life? What inspired the collaboration?

I was approached to become one of the ambassadors which is obviously a great honour to be affiliated with the brand in such a way. I think it was the beginning of last year. Immediately, getting to know more of the brand, I knew the brand before, but being more specifically guided through all the different watches with all the different stories. The online experience of the manufacturing process etc., I really started understanding all the values and different facets of the brand, which is amazing. I also had an online panel in Rotterdam during the roadshow in a monogram box. Obviously, it was a very mutual interest in both of the brands and I feel that it became more solid when we started talking, the IWC team came over to the store and to the showroom and we started speaking about potentially doing something together and obviously earlier this year the woodland Top Gun was released in the company of the other colours, other ceramic watches. We started talking about potentially working on a product together. I think mutually we pointed towards the iconic silhouette which is the ‘low top’. The low top has so many panels so we can play around with different materials and that’s what we picked. As opposed to a certain theme, we really picked the watch as the premise of the design of the shoe. We looked at the different materials, how the colours come together, all the different shades of this woodland green colour, how the watch is made. This is also how we translated that to this piece of footwear. As you can see, there are different hues of woodland green, the texture on the back which really refers to our translation of the strap of the watch. Also, if you look at the material that is used on the front strap of the shoe and heal which is a rubberized leather, which is a more industrial and solid way of making leather that we do to the leather strap. Also, the lasered ‘X’ logo, if you turn around the watch, you see that same logo on the inside of the wristband. We really made our translation of the watch. It was a really nice kind of approach to get to know more of the specific design and how it was made and how we could translate that into a different universe which is shoemaking. All our products are handcrafted in Portugal so we are really able to work with the factories to find the right colours and the right materials. Obviously, IWC is really dedicated to making products that are responsibly made and using the smallest environmental footprint possible. These are also some of the ideologies that we took into account while putting the shoe together. 

Did working in collaboration with a footwear brand change how you approach the creative process with IWC?

Yes, I think that this is interesting. We haven’t only worked with Filling pieces, but also with Pantone, and we as designers have always worked with Pantone as a colour reference for every creation we did, even 10 or 20 years ago because it is such a standard for all creatives. No matter what creative discipline we work with the same tools, the same standards, partly also with the same approach when it comes to inspiration, drawing inspiration from all kinds of the same cultural context. We finally talked earlier about the fact that many of the mood boards we use when we create new watches, new styles, new colours also contain a lot of fashion elements, and also sneakers from all kinds of brands. This was the case already 5 or 10 years ago and now even more and now to finally get to a context where we can inspire sneaker brands with our watches, with our colour schemes, with our detailing. That is really an amazing level of playing around with creativity and inspiration in enriching each other as brands and collaboration partners.  

Can you tell us about the NFT that is part of the collaboration?

It was just like an add on let’s say. Every customer that purchases the limited-edition sneaker also gets a specific token from us. This is like a gift from IWC to sweeten the deal so to say. We will also invite our diamond hands club members who are based in the Netherlands to the release party tomorrow. For us this is a solid integration of the online world, the metaverse, and the offline world where they can also experience the brand first hand. This is really important to us that every now and then they also get these real-life experiences and not only live in the metaverse.

At IWC it has always been at the forefront of the commodity, it is part of our DNA really combining craftmanship and engineering, that’s really deep in the history. We have always, even at a very early stage, embraced technology in the way we work and communicate as a brand. We were one of the leading brands that started fully using different social media channels, digital channels, to promote watches, to sell watches, to engage with customers for many years. We have very tech savvy clientele, so many of our customers appreciate our mechanical watches, but they get the latest gadgets. They are very tech savvy when it comes to digital tools and the digital world around them. So, when the opportunities of web 3.0 came up and working with NFTs, it was quite natural that we would explore this as a brand, pioneering there and being at the forefront of what happens. Nobody knows how this is going to develop but we are definitely the brand and have the right customers to try with that. We have created this diamond hands club which is a mindset that we very much like. The diamond hand is a person who keeps NFTs, who keeps collectibles and doesn’t sell them so easily. That’s a mindset that we like with our customers and our collectors. We have created this community and now have a community that is designed as a kind of web 3.0 community but we also enrich this experience for this community with some real-life events. There were people really who could participate with the Hans Zimmer concert, people that got invited to the Toto Wolf talks, people will be invited to the party here. This is a very good way to play with metaverse web 3.0 content, NFTs, and also bring this together with some real-life experiences. 

When will they available and what quantity?

They are very limited. They release tomorrow, the 23rd September at 12 o’clock in the afternoon, that is always our drop time. There are 100 pairs made. Mainly online but there will be a few pairs in store. The main focus is online so that we can make it available to the world and then it is also a bit more secured around the store so we don’t have any complaints by the neighbours. We try to focus it to online to make it really digestible. 

IWC is constantly innovating and adapting to a changing market, how do you see the watch industry changing nowadays?

Yeah, we are not the only brand exploring the NFT field and the watch industry as such is changing and evolving. Especially for us as IWC it is important for us to constantly reinvent ourselves. With every new collection we bring out it is always something that forms a combination of something that we have inherited, some iconic products, some iconic lines enriched with some new and surprising ideas for our customers. Elements that they didn’t expect and would add to the brand experience and to the product. Also, in terms of brand expression, I think we are going through a massive metamorphosis and change these years. Especially what you have seen a couple of years ago from IWC was a lot of vintage, very much historic storytelling. Now to turn this into a very contemporary brand, with a very modern collection that is very close to the DNA of the pure technical brand that IWC used to be in the past. I think we are reconnecting with the past but at the same time also cleaning and sharpening the brand image, especially in this environment with so many competing brands fighting for the same customers. Here in the context of lots of traditional brands, more artisanal brands, we really see that this pure and sober engineering inspired style is our way to go, but it is also our way to set ourselves apart with a very clean and differentiating story and aesthetics such as super reduced black and white looks and so on. 

During your ambassadorship with IWC what have been some of the highlights of the journey so far?

I think that the brand, Filling Pieces, has a lot of touchpoints that I think really fits with the future of IWC and we can learn a lot from the heritage but also from being such a big company and seeing how things go about. I would say it’s a really nice collaboration where we can learn from each other. I think our brand, the way that we go about things and how we bridge the gap between all different people, cultures and disciplines. Hopefully that is beneficial for IWC and it is not just me wearing the watch. I think it has already been that but I hope that in the future it can be something where we can be sparring partners, different companies that can learn from each other rather than just creating a product. I feel that already in this collaboration, that we are building that bridge and learning from each other. 

“There are many points of convergence between our industries, especially when it comes to craftsmanship, culture and creativity. In every design project, we combine part of our history with new influences we pick up from the world around us. Architecture and fashion are often represented in colourful mood boards, and there’s probably not a board without sneakers. It’s exciting to see that our TOP GUN collection inspired Filling Pieces. With this partnership, we celebrate the culture of creation and exchange”, explains Christian Knoop, Chief Design Officer of IWC Schaffhausen.

“We are thrilled to partner with IWC Schaffhausen and bring the best of our brands together in this exciting project. Filling Pieces embodies unity and togetherness and IWC incorporates precision and time. With our collaboration, we demonstrate how our values are intertwined with each other as a fundamental part of life and its expressions”, said Guillaume Philibert, Founder and Creative Director of Filling Pieces.

Over three weeks, the Filling Pieces flagship store in Amsterdam will be transformed into a monochromatic world, inspired by IWC’s newly engineered ceramic color “Woodland.” Both IWC and Filling Pieces will curate distinctive exhibitions. The pop-up space aims to bring together friends and family of both brands. Among the highlights will be panel discussions on various topics related to fashion, metaverse, NFTs and design or watchmaking master classes.

In addition, Guillaume Philibert has designed a limited- edition sneaker to celebrate the collaboration. The “Low Top Ghost Woodland” is based on the famous “Low Top”, Filling Piece’s original and iconic silhouette. Its aesthetic details and color codes are inspired by IWC’s Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Chronograph Edition “Woodland,” the first timepiece in newly engineered green ceramic. Featuring the distinct “Woodland” color specified by PANTONE®, other details include a premium perforated nubuck leather upper, stitched Filling Pieces logo and the typical ghost outsole with lasered “X” design cue inspired by the watch strap.

The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition «Woodland» (Ref. IW389106) was launched as a part of IWC’s “The Colors of TOP GUN” collection at Watches and Wonders 2022 in Geneva. It is the first IWC timepiece in newly engineered green ceramic – a color IWC and PANTONE® have specified as “IWC Woodland”. This shade of green is used for the ceramic case and the dial, while the numerals and hour markers are printed in a lighter hue. Colored ceramics are created in a complex manufacturing process, in which zirconium oxide is mixed with other metallic oxides and then sintered at high temperatures in a kiln. The pushers and case back are made of matte black Ceratanium®. Developed by IWC, this material is as light and robust as titanium and almost as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. The timepiece is powered by the IWC-manufactured 69380 calibre, a robust and reliable chronograph with a column-wheel design.

The in-store launch of the “Low Top Ghost Woodland” is celebrated with a release party on 23rd September at the Filling Pieces flagship store at Spuistraat 168A in 1012 VT Amsterdam. From 23rd September, the shoe will be available online on Only 100 pairs in sizes ranging from 39 to 46 will be available. Customers who purchase a “Low Top Ghost Woodland” will also receive an NFT that introduces owners to the “IWC Diamond Hand Club,” IWC’s exclusive tokenised community in the web3.

INTERVIEW Patrick Boyle, Timotej Letonja