Utility is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the watch industry. Consumers want a watch that can best the elements, remain scratchless and keep running for years all while paying a reasonable amount. The rare exceptions out there have proven to be timeless pieces but more often than not, cost top dollar. That’s where brands like Victorinox Swiss Army excel. The 130 year old brand has come to be known more for its little multi-purpose knives than its watches but the ethos of both products remain the same – utility.
VSA’s new INOX watch is the quintessential hard-knocks piece. Here are some things you should know about it.
Yes, the horology purists in you must be shaking your head. A $700-odd quartz watch may seem like a tad bit expensive but Francoise Nunez, the product director of Victorinox, explained otherwise, “You want a watch that can take a beating so you can’t compromise in that sense with a mechanical movement.” He went on to talk about the Japanese watch industry and the quartz revolution, revealing that as a watch designer he feels quartz was the way to move forward for accessibility. “Sometimes, we can’t hold on to tradition for the sake of tradition. The INOX was inspired by the ’70s, that much is true but we’re not paying tribute to that era. We’re taking the same idea of moving forward and putting our spin on it.” After watching the tests the watch was put through, it’s hard to disagree.
Speaking of the tests, Nunez opined, “It’s mad. We established 130 tests, most of which were of military standards, like 21,000 metres high which is the cruising altitude of long range missiles. But I think the more important tests were based on elements in daily life – temperature changes, we even dropped the watch on concrete from 10 metres high. Can you imagine dropping your watch out of the third or second storey?” No, I couldn’t but it’s a vote of confidence nonetheless. The INOX was dropped 26 times from a height of one metre, another military standard test which Nunez tells us no other watch in that category managed to survive. “I drop my watch every third day,” he said. The look of shock and alarm on my face must have given something away as he immediately continued, “Yes, I’m a little careless but also, I don’t have the same admiration in a sense for the Swiss watch industry. Sometimes, you’ve got to realise that a watch should facilitate your life and not complicate it.”
While the INOX is barely in its first year, Nunez already knows the plans for next year. “As you know, we have the bumper that adds the last layer of protection for the watch. Next year, our focus will be on customising it; building new elements into that rather than upgrading the watch. We’re also toying around with the idea of introducing smart tech into the bumper but that will probably come further down.” Nunez also talked about the introduction of a stainless steel bracelet version for a sturdier look.
Ø 43 mm Stainless steel case (316L)
Quartz movement Ronda 715
Scratch-resistant, triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Water-resistant to 200 m (20 ATM, 660 ft)
Luminescent hands and indexes
Protected screw-down crown
Delivered with a protective black bumper