So claims the iconic Swiss brand Victorinox as it launched the Inox timepiece collection that underwent 130 ruthless strength tests to prove its durability and reliability even under the most extreme situations.
Imagine these: the Inox watch run over by a military tank weighing up to 64 tons; dropped from about 10 meters high (equivalent of a three-story building) to a concrete surface with an impact speed of 50 km per hour; exposed to an intense flame for more than a minute; coated in an ice cube for a week; and sprayed with and soaked in all kinds of fuels, oils, solvents, cleaning products, insecticides, including sulfuric and nitric acid solution.
The Inox watch withstood everything and continued to function nonstop.
But the torture didn’t stop there.
Last July, in full view of a select group of media from around the globe invited to the Victorinox headquarters in Ibach, Switzerland, the tests were repeated.
At the Ibach fire station, where some of the craziest tests were done, Swiss firefighters cautiously positioned an Inox watch under the wheels of a huge fire truck which drove over it many times. But the watch emerged scratch-free.
Then it was left in a washing machine twirling and spinning for two hours. Yet it was unscathed.
The insane extreme tests aimed to prove that the Victorinox Swiss Army timepiece is the strongest ever created in the world of watchmaking.
The launch of the Inox collection coincided with the 130th anniversary of Victorinox, inventor of the legendary Swiss Army Knife, and the 25th anniversary of the creation of the brand’s watchmaking division.
Victorinox watches are known for classic, straightforward design. The new collection attempts to go beyond the Swiss watch standard, adding functionality, quality, strength and robust features in just one product.
“We obviously took the inspiration from our very own Swiss Army Knife,” said Alex Bennouna, chief executive officer of Victorinox Swiss Army watch division, in an interview at its Ibach headquarters, which is right beside the mammoth Victorinox factory.
“It’s still a balance of beautiful design and a classic look, but we give great emphasis on quality and functionality,” he pointed out.
A regular three-hand quartz development, said Bennouna, normally takes about two to three months before going to production. It took Victorinox three years to work on the new collection, painstakingly and repeatedly testing, engineering and improving all technical and practical aspects.
“If we want to be successful in our timepiece, we have to be authentic to who we are, what we stand for and where we are coming from,” said Bennouna. “To come up with a robust
watch, we needed to think out of the box and welcome crazy, hideous ideas to challenge us.”
Bennouna cited the washing-machine test: “I’m sure it happens to all of us that we put our jeans in the washer and we forget something inside our pocket. When we take it out it’s completely ruined. Our tests really come from practical experiences.”
Given Inox’s exceptional robustness, one would expect it to look like a bunker or hammer. It does not.
The refined design of the 43-mm stainless steel case is enhanced by a skillfully polished hexagonal bezel. Available in three colors (black dial and strap, khaki green dial and strap, navy blue dial and strap), it can be further personalized with a bumper.
A totally new accessory in the watchmaking world, this removable protector in silicone and nylon allows you to change the look and feel of your timepiece.
“Inox design is a very purposeful-driven design,” said Bennouna, who was in Manila last month to introduce the watch to the media. “There are no aesthetic details that are just there to make the timepiece look good.”
The collection also carries the signature look of Victorinox. The second hand has the same shape of the top shape of the Swiss Army Knife.
The luxury watch industry has become increasingly demanding in terms of looks, intricacy and prices. Victorinox strives to stay uncomplicated and relevant in the quickly changing world.
“I don’t know if we are considered a luxury brand,” said Bennouna. “I think it was Coco Chanel who said, ‘Luxury starts where the need ends.’ We are a functional brand. Even if you have very nice, expensive shoes, but when you try them on they make your feet more wet than dry. Victorinox has certain attributes that are relevant to the luxury industry and that’s attention to detail, quality, sophistication and design.”
Like its famous little red knife, the Inox timepiece is meant to last into the next generation.
“There is always a new generation arriving on the scene, but very few of them wear wristwatches because they can observe time on our electronic devices. In that situation we have to rethink about what could be the future functionality of the timepiece, especially for a brand like Victorinox which is not a watch brand but a Swiss brand making watches and a Swiss brand known for making quality watches,” said Bennouna.
The Inox collection is now available in local stores. Bennouna said that, as early as July, it has already reached its record-breaking order.
Victorinox Swiss Army Watch is available at SM Megamall Boutique, Century City Mall Boutique, Lucerne, Elemento, Chronos, Wrist Pod, Swiss Gear, L Timestudio, SM Department Stores and Robinsons Department Stores.