Touristic Day Report for 49th St.Gallen Symposium

Hongtao Hao / 2022-01-01

Leaders of Tomorrow (LoT) had a tour of Schaffhausen. I was a journalist for the St.Gallen Magazine. I accompanied LoTs during the tour. The following is my report for the touristic day programmme. The report didn’t end up being part of the magazine because I turned it in pretty late.

“I think it’s better for me to wear this”, I said, pointing to my Mi Band 2 which costs only $15 after visiting the luxury watchmaker IWC. Jiyu, a leader of tomorrow (LoT) from South Korea, could not stop laughing.

Early in the morning on May 7 at 6: 45, more than 100 leaders of tomorrow from around the world gathered around the St. Gallen train station. For many LoTs, this was the first time they met each other.

This was the touristic program for LoTs who will be taken to the headquarter and museum of IWC in Schaffhausen.

Bread and juice were provided while LoTs chatted with each other. At 7:00, LoTs went on board three coaches and headed toward Schaffhausen.

Tour guides of IWC first took LoTs to the museum that exhibits how IWC, founded by an American watchmaker Florentine Aristo Jones in 1868, developed into a world famous watch manufacturer. After this journey to history, LoTs were shown the IWC headquarters’ assembly line. At the end of the tour, samples of IWC watches on sale were shown and tried by LoTs.

“The lowest price here is 4,000 CHF and the highest is 200,000 CHF”, the tour guide said, when asked about the prices of watches in the showroom, followed by a burst of wow from LoTs.

“Will you consider buying one of these watches?” I asked Linda Du, a Cambridge graduate now attending an MBA program at Yale.

“Maybe in the future but not now”, Linda said, laughing.

After this tour of the headquarters and museum, some LoTs were then taken to the new IWC manufacturer whose construction just finished last year while others enjoyed some free time exploring the city of Schaffhausen.

Christoph Grainger-Herr, IWC Schaffhausen’s CEO, gave a short speech to all the LoTs. The CEO talked about his journey from working as a designer to becoming the CEO of IWC. In fact, the new manufacturer was designed by himself.

After the lunch, a tour guide of the factory showed how watch cases were manufactured and refined. To help LoTs experience the work of watch making, the tour asked LoTs to try flipping tiny watch components—daily work at the factory.

After the visit to the manufacturer, LoTs were taken to Rhine Waterfall. Near the waterfall, LoTs attended a keynote speech by Patrik Wermelinger, head of investment promotion at the Switzerland Global Enterprise. Wermelinger advertised Switzerland and encouraged LoTs to invest in Switzerland. After a short stay near the waterfall, LoTs were taken to a restaurant in St. Gallen for dinner. Wenli Deng, a LoT studying sociology at National University of Singapore, said she was amazed by the variety of career opportunities provided to the staff at IWC Schaffhausen. “I was interested to see how skilled blue collar workers are.”

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me”, Pazhani Thanuj, a LoT from India who arrived on the same day of the touristic day but insisted on attending the tour said. “In India we only have small watch-making factories”.

Dominic Mills Howell, a Jamaican LoT, said the tour changed his impression of watch-making. “I thought making watches is just a mechanical activity. Now, I think it is an art.”

Takeaway: Leaders of tomorrow had a memorable tour of IWC.

Last modified on 2022-01-02