Celebrating the brand’s 283rd anniversary
Looking at the video, you can already appreciate how cold it must have been – but for mountaineering legends Nicolas Hojac, one of the fastest modern speed-climbers, and Ueli Bühler, a seasoned and celebrated Swiss mountaineer and mountain guide, this latest climb up Mount Everest was an everyday experience. What made it special was the watches they were wearing.
The expedition had been organised by Favre-Leuba to celebrate its 283rd anniversary – making it the second-oldest Swiss watch brand. Hojac wore a Raider Bivouac 9000, released in 2017, while Bühler was given an older Bivouac model from 1962. Both then took to the mountain.
The original Bivouac from Favre-Leuva, as worn by Bühler, was the first mechanical wristwatch with a built-in altimeter, measuring up to 3,000m, and also a barometer. Likewise, the Raider Bivouac 9000 was another world-first upon its release – a mechanical timepiece that can measure altitude up to 9,000m. It was actually the first watch to measure altitude on Everest and K2 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The Raider Bivouac 9000 is water-resistant to 30m, safeguarding it from moisture and snow. Its aneroid barometer capsule is another helpful tool for mountaineers, parachutists and sailors, alerting them to approaching weather changes.
Hojac said, “The history of both watches and their success in conquering frontiers is impressive. The Bivouac 9000 works mechanically, so I didn’t have to worry about a battery, and with the integrated barometer I could read the exact height and be aware of upcoming weather changes. As a bonus, not only is it a perfect tool in the mountains but it also looks stunning in everyday life.”
Bühler added, “As with many things, changes have taken place in mountaineering. The equipment is better and lighter, just like the new Bivouac 9000, and training has become more focused, so the abilities of professional as well as leisure mountaineering athletes has improved. However, the motivation to go to the mountains still comes from within. That’s how it has always been.”
The original Favre-Leuba Bivouac accompanied Walter Bonatti up the north face of Pointe Whymper – an almost vertical continuous climb – in the Grandes Jorasses in 1964; and in 1975, it assisted Junko Tabei in her climb to become the first woman on Mount Everest.