Blümlein, barely 38 years of age, was asked to oversee both companies as boss of a VDO subsidiary called Les Manufactures Horlogeres (LMH). He initially focused on IWC, taking the company by the scruff of the neck in what proved to be his signature, no-nonsense style, and determining to 'put an end to watchmaking boredom.'
His method of doing this was to completely re-focus IWC's aim on a new target customer. Not the 'over 40, traditionally-minded, introverted, understated, fairly-well-off' individuals who, analysts had decreed, typically bought the brand's watches, but younger, wealthier, more thrill-seeking types.
Among the first models to be developed along these lines were those in the Porsche Design range, followed by the original Portofino collection that combined the best traditions of mechanical watchmaking (still under huge threat from quartz, don't forget) which gave a fresh twist to classic styling.
It was Blümlein, too, who set-out to establish IWC's shamelessly masculine bias by instigating marketing campaigns that, towards the end of his era, included advertisements with texts such as: 'Ladies, you ride our Harleys, smoke our Havanas, drink our Glenmorangie. Hands off our IWC' and 'Almost as complicated as a woman. Except it's on time.' While this would be considered tone deaf today, back then, it was seen as a bold approach.