If you think about Swiss-made watches, quality and a high level of craftsmanship come to mind. These timepieces are held to a certain standard and are a source of pride for its makers. One Swiss brand in particular seems to be held to a different standard from the rest.
Victorinox Swiss Army, led by its CEO Alexander Bennouna, acknowledges how that they aren’t your typical Swiss watch manufacturer. “A lot of our consumers, they were expecting from Victorinox a very, very high level of quality and reliability,” he tells 2.O during an intimate lunch event to launch the brand’s newest watches.
“The attention and the care they would have for a very premium Swiss watch brand, which they would carefully wrap in the evening and take care until they take it out for a social event, they would have a completely different expectation for Victorinox,” he says. “The same watch, they would take it in their extreme conditions, expose it to very rough conditions, and still expect this watch to work properly, so we came to the conclusion: well, this is our destiny.”
And embrace that destiny, they’ve done. Since 2014, the I.N.O.X. line is the flagship line for the brand and the timepieces produced under this line have been created to meet stringent and extreme expectations.
“Like the Swiss Army knife you have in your pocket, most of the time you don’t need it but when you need it, you are sure it’ll deliver on your expectations,” Bennouna boasts. “So this line is basically a line [that] no matter where, how, and when, it will never let you down.”
I.N.O.X. Titanium Sky High Limited Edition: Sky’s the limit
One of the new I.N.O.X. watches is a special one. There will only be 2,000 pieces of it and its inspiration comes from beyond this planet. The I.N.O.X. Titanium Sky High Limited Edition takes inspiration from our “space sailors” a.k.a. astronauts. One in particular, which Bennouna can’t talk about in detail because they don’t have the copyright to it, adds a fascinating backstory to the watch.
“It’s coming from space exploration,” he explains. “And from the story of an astronaut that was in the Mir station and had to penetrate the Mir station. And he used a Swiss Army knife in order to open the door of the Mir station and he even heed the advice to the readers: To never leave the planet without one.”
We’ve learned on our own that the astronaut was Chris Hadfield and this happened in 1995 on his first voyage to space.
The extraterrestrial inspiration extended beyond the design and went into the materials that make up the watch. It finds expression in the Naimakka paracord attachment, which comes in white and speckled black, with Technora inner strings. The paracord has been used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Its para-aramid fiber is considered eight time stronger than steel and even had direct involvement in a robotic rover landing on Mars.
It doesn’t end there, though. The white elements and matte gray sandblasted, high-resistant titanium for its 43mm case takes cues from an astronaut’s suit. A magnifying bumper included with the watch looks like an astronaut’s helmet. The I.N.O.X. Titanium Sky High has other aviation-inspired accents include the red military time printed beneath the crystal, three stamped numerals, and the planet Earth shade of blue for the second hand.
Just like all I.N.O.X. watches, the Titanium Sky High passed 130 product-specific durability tests to make sure it passes things like extreme resistance to elements, exposure to repeated thermal shocks, and many others.
Available in September, this special timepiece comes with its own shockproof, waterproof time capsule box and has a white rubber replacement strap with a blue- and red-colored loop. In case the paracord gets used to while you’re out on your many adventures, you can use the strap—or just swap it out when you feel like it. The box also comes with a special edition Swiss Army knife with an astronaut metal inlay and paracord keyring. The knife is a replica of the red knife that’s part of astronauts’ standard equipment.
I.N.O.X. V: One for the ladies
The second watch introduced to us during the event was part of our Baselworld feature back in May. This watch targets the fairer sex and is meant to embody the idea that “Strong is the new pretty.”
“Every time we came with a new line we had to somehow re-engineer it and make sure this line is meeting the same criteria and it’s valid for the I.N.O.X. V,” Bennouna says. “It looked like the same version of the standard version. Just in small size. But that’s not the case… this line is passing the same kind of torture that the 43 millimeter versions [go through]. [The] complete dimensions of the watch have been redesigned as well in order to make it a little more round and a bit more generous—in order to [give an] even more feminine touch to the design.”
The I.N.O.X. V passes the 130 durability tests, including what they call the “handbag challenge,” which makes sure the watch passes tests like crashing about with metal keys and being put together with corrosive insect repellent, among others.
As mentioned, the timepiece has a smaller 37mm steel case with a “consciously curved, sculptural shape.” It comes in four different models to suit different tastes and each comes with a matching shield or removable bumper to make it ready to be brought on any of your adventures.
There is a black dial version with matching rubber strap, a white interpretation with rose gold details, and two that feature the useful Naimakka paracord attachment. One comes in denim blue design with subtle red accents and another comes in soft gray with hot pink accents.
Bennouna talks to us more about the paracord and how it came to be. “People who are keen for adventure, they know that when you are lost in the middle of nowhere, there are three things that you need in order to survive. You need a string, you need a knife, and you need fire. And usually with these three elements, people can find a way through whatever situation they are in. This paracord strap is like a rescue tool that you have on your wrist or an emergency tool. You can undo it. You can even open it. [And] you will find seven little strings inside.”
With it, the I.N.O.X. V certainly embodies the “Strong is the new pretty” belief. It’s made especially for the adventure-seeking ladies in your life.