Someone get on the phone to the Victorinox design team and get them to start working on a smartwatch. Heck, get them working on all sorts of gadgets -- if the durability standards it's set for its new Inox watch are anything to go by, they'd be making smartwatches to survive the apocalypse.
It may not be a sensor-laden smart timepiece, but the Victorinox Inox may be the toughest wristwatch out there. Victorinox has subjected its new watch to 130 gruelling tests to prove its durability, popping it in a washing machine for two hours, leaving it open to the elements during a sandstorm and even driving a 64-tonne tank over it.
At a more practical level, the watch can withstand drops from heights of ten metres onto concrete, will work underwater at depths of 200 metres, can resist variations in temperature from -51°C to +71°C and 12G forces of acceleration and deceleration. If you happen to enjoy dousing your wrists in corrosive liquids, the Inox can also survive being slathered with gasoline, oils, cleaning products and insecticides. The watch also comes with a removable bumper made of nylon and silicone if it needs any extra protection.
Made from solid steel with the dial a single sealed piece, it'll be available in black, khaki, green and navy blue shades, kitted out with a Swiss-made Ronda quartz movement. Priced at £329, that seems quite a reasonable cost for a watch that's set to be ticking long after you've been reduced to dust and bones.
After hearing so much about the pure toughness of the Inox watch and personally seeing it being run over by a fire engine, sand-blasted, encased in ice, put through a washing machine and dropped from a height of ten metres, I assumed it was going to be a hefty hunk of metal when worn on the wrist – I was wrong.
Instead of feeling like a heavy weight, the Inox was comfortable and comparable in weight to any standard watch of its size, which makes it all the more impressive that it can stand up to all the intense tests to make it – as is being advertised – "your companion for life".
The brushed-steel face is smooth and contoured in such a way that it looks great in person, but also hints towards the special engineering that means it can deal with a 64-tonne tank going over it; the way the bezel is designed spreads the pressure evenly across the face and back casing.
This does mean that the overall depth of the watch's face is a millimetre or two more than what you may expect but certainly not to an extent that makes it cumbersome or silly-looking.
The removable bumper plate is really cool. It clips on and off the face easily and is designed to give another level of protection to the already impressively fortified bit of kit, as well as keeping that lovely steel face safe from scratches.
It transforms the watch from looking like a classically designed timepiece that you would be proud to wear at a dinner party, to a badass gadget that would look in its element down at a shooting range or on a fighter pilot's wrist.
If there is anything about the watch that I think could be improved, it may be the strap; even then it's a really minor detail that irked me slightly: the rubber has an edge that is just a little too sharp for my liking. Just a bit more bevelling would perhaps make it more comfortable than it is already.
Saying that the Inox is not all about the rubber strap, but the incredible effort that has gone into making an object that will see you through pretty much anything and carry on ticking. It is a great watch that has had countless hours of thoughtful design poured into it, and, I think, is a steal at the £329 price it is being marketed at, considering the four-figure price tags that so many watches come with today.