A SOLDIER has to be tough, and Swiss Military Hanowa is built to be as tough as the people who wear them.
The company was founded in 1963 by Hans Noll (which is where the name comes from: HAns NOll WAtches). The watches carry the mark as an official licensed product of the Swiss confederation.
Guests at a bootcamp on July 9 at the UP College of Human Kinetics were made to endure physical challenges such as climbing over ropes, a Burma bridge, a 10-foot pole, and an obstacle course. The themes from Mission: Impossible and other action movies blared out from speakers as the guests swung, climbed, and, yes, tripped, over the obstacle course. They did all of this wearing the brand’s Black Carbon watch, which has a mineral crystal scratch-resistant face and water resistance up to 100 meters, as well as a date display. The watches were able to stand up to the tests, seeing as they were all intact by the time the bootcamp, headed by real soldiers, ended.
We caught up with Rajiv Mehra, Regional Sales and Marketing Director of the brand. While the watches are built to endure, they are not actually used in combat. The watches, according to Mr. Mehra, are usually given to soldiers as a reward for five years of service, or other similar occassions.
He said that in the past few years, the Swiss government allowed everyone to produce Swiss military watches, but since a large bulk of exports led to having too many brands displaying the Swiss Military name, the government cut down the number of licensees to just two, one of them being Hanowa. In addition to the Swiss Armed Forces, the watches can also be found on the wrists of Singaporean soldiers, as per a deal struck by the company.
One of the watch’s selling points is bearing the mark “Swiss-made,” which means 50% of its components and cost (labor and assembly, for example) have to come from Switzerland. “For a normal consumer, he still wants to buy a Swiss-made watch because he think it’s of fantastic quality,” said Mr. Mehra.
Aside from the toughness of the watches, one of the reasons why they’re bought (aside from the price points shooting up to a reasonable P18,500) is the fantasy of being associated with the military life — nothing’s too good for the boys who defend the country.
“The watch is no longer a time-telling instrument. It’s more of a lifestyle statement.”
In the Philippines, the watches are distributed by the Lucerne Group. — Joseph L. Garcia