Some of the most exclusive classic cars racing on a snowy surface? On a frozen lake even? What sounds impossible, is actually an annual event in Switzerland: The ICE St. Moritz! Let's join the IWC Racing Team and their 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” for an unforgettable weekend.
The ICE St. Moritz has been created to enjoy driving, showing and watching some of the world’s most exciting motor cars in the unlikely environment of the frozen lake. The idea first came in mind in the mid-Eighties and it took many years to make it true.
It is a very different event, a refreshing concours. A completely magical environment where drivers, collectors, and just plain car enthusiasts enjoy a late winter day in the sunshine, surrounded by the landscape and atmosphere that only St. Moritz, at the top of the world, is able to offer.
For more than a century, St. Moritz has developed its unique formula that has drawn generations of enthusiastic tourists: a cosmopolitan mix of nature, exclusiveness, sports, and luxury. One of the pillars of this philosophy is the Cresta Run. Here, people from all over the world come together with the goal of speeding down an icy track.
In January 1985, a group of British Cresta Run Members, led by Scotsman Keith Schellenberg, drove to St. Moritz to enjoy the run. To make things more interesting, they decided to drive their vintage open Bentleys. When in St. Moritz, they saw the frozen lake and decided to do some laps on the horse racing track in their glorious sixty-year-old chariots. In that moment, the idea of The ICE was born. It then took some 34 years, until the first edition could take place.
One of the key partners of The ICE St. Moritz is its official timekeeper IWC Schaffhausen. The innovative company is deeply rooted in American pioneering spirit and entrepreneurship. Florentine Ariosto Jones, a watchmaker from Boston, founds the International Watch Company in 1868. He draws on the help of eminently qualified Swiss watchmakers, modern technology, and hydro-power sourced from the nearby River Rhine to manufacture pocket watch movements of the highest possible quality.
IWC launches the first “Special Pilot’s Watch” in 1936. In 1939, the Portuguese watch is born: two importers from Portugal order a series of large wristwatches with high-precision pocket watch calibers. In response to demand, IWC develops in 1940 the Big Pilot’s Watch 52 T.S.C. with a central seconds hand. It features a rotating bezel with an arrowhead index that can be used to register take-off times. It is also fitted with an anti-magnetic escapement.
For racing, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 is the perfect choice. It comes in a robust stainless steel case and is equipped with the reliable self-winding 69385 Calibre. This IWC-manufactured movement offers up to 46 hours of power reserve.
In 2018, the brand founded a motorsport team, becoming the first watch brand to compete in classic car races with its own team and car. Since then, the IWC Racing Team has contested select historic racing events in its chosen car: The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”.
One of the most iconic sports cars ever built, the “Gullwing” dates back to the time when IWC’s watchmakers designed the first Ingenieur. With its characteristic doors reminiscent of a seagull’s wings, it was manufactured by Daimler-Benz between 1954 and 1957 as a road ready version of the 300 SL racing car. Motor racing enthusiasts are very passionate about the “Gullwing”, and it perfectly embodies IWC’s core values of style, quality, originality and outstanding craftsmanship.
Born in Salzburg in 1991, Laura Kraihamer joined the IWC racing family in 2021. She made her debut for the IWC Racing Team at the occasion of the 78th Goodwood Members’ Meeting. At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”, Kraihamer raced in the Stirling Moss Trophy. We're excited to see her race at The ICE St Moritz this year!
A special highlight of The ICE St. Moritz is the exclusive dinner hosted for collectors by IWC Schaffhausen. It is held at the Kulm Country Club. At this spot on 11 February 1928, top athletes and celebrities gathered, including film legend Charlie Chaplin and US President Calvin Coolidge. They followed the action on the ice rink in front of the pavilion from the finely carved arched windows. These beautifully carved windows are still as attractive today following the recent renovations to this architectural gem. The original Art Deco and wood was preserved.
One floor down, on the ground floor, is the heart of the Kulm Country Club. During the 1928 Olympic Winter Games, guests, locals, and athletes stomped through the large circular arch in the entrance area. These Games were the first official Olympic Winter Games. Visitors were proud to arrive in in St. Moritz driving their new Bugatti Royale or Mercedes-Benz Type S: the superlative hand-built vehicles of the 1920s. The ice rink of the Kulm Country Club soon became a landmark meeting point both for guests and locals in St. Moritz. Those who did not dare to put on ice skates watched the figure skaters – the social highlight at the winter sports resort in 1928.
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