Staying sharp

Timepieces may not be what Victorinox is most famous for, but one should not overlook its Swiss origin and its capability to produce sophisticated watches, especially after veteran watch designer Francois Nunez joined as product director two years ago.

Nunez says the impression that Victorinox is better at producing pocket knives, travel gear and luggage is only the "Asian perspective".

"If you go to the US, the Victorinox Swiss Army is the second-best Swiss watchmaker when it comes to knowledge," he says.

In a revamp of the old version, the Airboss this year features a whole new material to be used in Victorinox timepieces - sandblasted titanium. Nunez says it is a breakthrough. "The Airboss is definitely a turning point for me and Victorinox," he says. "By using sandblasted titanium, we are able to look at a watch classic in a contemporary expression. That moment, I realised that a few changes can help me look at things in a very different way."

 The Airboss comes in a three-hand version and a chronograph version, powered by Swiss-made ETA 2824 and ETA 7750, respectively. Both are equipped with leather straps with titanium folding buckle. The three-hand version is limited to 500 pieces worldwide, while the chronograph is limited to 300 pieces only.

Victorinox is also keen on using quartz movement in their timepieces. Nunez says the ratio of quartz movement to mechanical movement is about 80 per cent to 20 per cent. "We don't treat quartz as a secondary class," he says. "We are able to do mechanical movements, but at the same time we do quartz to answer to our price range. We do not want to increase the price. We want to remain where we believe our brand belongs."
That is the reason why one of Victorinox's hero products this year comes in a world-premier, Swiss-made FM13D quartz movement. With a double press on the crown, the Chrono Classic transforms from an ordinary watch into a chronograph accurate to 1/100th of a second, displayed numerically by two rotating discs. With a press, the three hands on the dial are realigned at 12, and the date indicator at six o'clock becomes a counter. It can also return to time-reading while the stopwatch is running.

Another special feature is the perpetual calendar. A guilloche decoration on both discs refers to the shape and casing of the Swiss Army knife. The dials and bezels are either in dark grey or Champagne, with a leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet.

"The Chrono Classic reflects the brand in terms of philosophy and design codes: to combine simplicity with ingenuity," Nunez says. "It is a visible and functional product, but it comes with layers of hidden complexity."

Also in quartz movement is the Maverick collection with new colours. "Colours are not important in watchmaking industry as such, but they help you create a style," Nunez says.

Four new colours have been added to the Maverick collection - chocolate, green, blue and red - mostly in monochrome. Nunez says: "Customers don't just concentrate on the colour. They look at the product detail. The colours don't distract, they help you focus."

The refinement on the new Maverick is first visible on the sleeker dial, which gives it greater readability. Some markings have been replaced by diamond polished indexes. Sandblasted and circular satin-polishing provide clarity and legibility. They come with matching lacquered unidirectional bezels or in some versions, matching rubber straps. All versions are powered by Swiss-made Ronda quartz movements, with luminescent hour and minute hands, and a date window at six o'clock.

With more than 20 years of experiences in watchmaking, Nunez says Victorinox is strong in function-ruled designs. "Our timepieces are about making sense, but not making noise," he says. "We offer products that stand the test of time, which is a basic requirement of a watch, but seems a bit forgotten over the past years in the watch world."

No comments:

Post a Comment