Switzerland and Germany had a tradition of awarding pocket watches as prizes in competitions. In Swiss tradition, national marksmanship competitions were held. Each “Schützenfest” awarded watches as prizes to winners, and these prize watches are known as Schützenuhren. Some of competitions involved riflery, but others involved cross-bows in the William Tell tradition. From 1890 until 1995, special IWC pocket watches often were selected by the organizers as prizes.
Often silver cased, the case backs and fronts had elaborate engravings or embossing relating to the festivals. Since many of these competitions were held in eastern Switzerland, IWC as the quality manufacture in the region frequently supplied the prize watches.
Pictured above are examples of prize watches from Schützenfests held in Frauenfeld (1890), Zurich (1907), and Rorschau (1912). The first one contains an early IWC Calibre (Calibre 49) movement, and latter ones contain the successor Calibre 52 movement. The second watch above is a rare prize watch awarded as a prize in an athletic competition or “Turnfest” in Schaffhausen during 1897. The back depicts a competitor throwing a heavy stone, with Schaffhausen’s Munot fortress in the background.