For its 130th anniversary, Victorinox took an innovative marketing step in August during which “the Original Swiss Army Knife company,” the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), and 250 Internet bloggers gathered to publicly unveil and test the new Victorinox I.N.O.X. watch. And by test, I mean torture.
Victorinox’ new sport watch is designed to withstand extremes in heat, cold, pressure, chemicals, and shock. The I.N.O.X., abbreviated for Impact Neutralizing Object for the X-tremes, was subjected to 130 different tests back at its home in Ibach, Switzerland. It was even run over multiple times by a Swiss Army Leopard 87 main battle tank. No, the tank was not damaged.
The I.N.O.X. has a 43mm stainless steel case and a Ronda 715 quartz movement. Its water resistance dives to 200m. From their testing, Victorinox states the watch will operate in temperatures of -60 to +160 degrees Fahrenheit. Though a watch wearer would suffer G-LOC, the I.N.O.X. can withstand an acceleration of 12 G’s. It has also been subjected to contact with gasoline, solvents, oils, acids, and cleaning products.
A special protective feature for the watch is a silicone bumper that can be affixed over the case to add further resistance to crushing and impacts. The bumper is black and contrasts well with the stainless housing. I.N.O.X. will be available with a black, green, or blue face and matching strap. MSRP is set at $525.00.
In New York, the bloggers were invited to see the I.N.O.X. boiled in a coffee pot, bounced in a dryer, blasted with sand media, and run over by an FDNY fire engine. De rigueur for a watch of this stripe are the sapphire crystal, screw down crown and back, luminescent hands and indices, and natural rubber strap.
The Firefighters for Life partnership between Victorinox and FDNY highlights a common ground between cities. In 1979, the company built a fire station dedicated to protecting the 1,000 workers at its plant in Ibach. Current Victorinox C.E.O. Carl Elsener, Jr. had been a volunteer firefighter at that station for 25 years.
Several years ago, Victorinox came out with the Rescue Tool, a knife designed with fire and rescue workers’ input. It won Knife of the Year 2007 at the IWA tradeshow in Nuremburg. There are the close ties between the Swiss company and those who protect our lives and property.
The rollout for the I.N.O.X. watch was unique in that Victorinox targeted the blogosphere for its ability to provide vast and immediate exposure. According to Enigma Marketing Research, those 250 invited bloggers (of which I was not one) translated into 29 million readers every month, 2.2 million Facebook fans and 1.2 million followers on Twitter.
Victorinox launched a three-alarm response for the I.N.O.X. public debut. From the fire generated, I think the event achieved its goals of giving the I.N.O.X. a back story and a rugged point of reference.