Men are natural pioneers and explorers pushing the limits to reach higher summits or plummet to greater depths. With the advent of the mechanical watch, explorers expressed the need for a piece of equipment to help them in their conquest of new frontiers. In 1962, Favre-Leuba created the Bivouac, a watch equipped with an altimeter and a barometer. In 2017, once this historically-important brand was relaunched, the decision was clear: continue in the same path and create pioneer-oriented tools to conquer frontiers, which led to the creation of the Bivouac 9000. As you know, images are better than words, so we’ll yield the floor to CEO Thomas Morf, to the brand’s CTO and to alpine ambassador Nicolas Hojac – simply because he’s the best one to tell us how a watch like this performs up in the mountains.
Part of the new collection was the Bivouac 9000, an entirely mechanical watch that lets you establish your current altitude, wherever you are on the planet… Every point on Earth where a man can walk, the Favre-Leuba Bivouac 9000 will be able to indicate the altitude. From the top of the world on Mount Everest to the lowest point on dry land on the shores of the Dead Sea. Based on previously explored concepts of the mechanical altimeter/barometer used in the 1962 Bivouac, the new model pushes the boundaries with a complex, integrated and in-house conceived altimeter module – the first to allow a wristwatch to display altitudes up to 9000m. Based on an aneroid capsule, as the wearer ascends, the pressure falls and the capsule expands (respectively contracts as the pressure increases). A tiny linear motion is transmitted to the gear of the mechanism, via a ball and a spring and converted into a rotational movement.
But this watch can do more than establish the altitude. It has a second use, as explained by mountaineer Nicolas Hojac. Weather conditions are a crucial factor when climbing extreme heights. A storm or heavy winds could be lethal. Because the altimeter is based on a capsule that measures the air pressure, it also acts as a barometer, meaning a forecast of the weather. It is known that the air pressure tends to drop 4 to 5 hours before the weather actually changes (as explained in the video around minute 6:00). For this reason, the Favre-Leuba Bivouac 9000 becomes a true instrument, which not only displays the time (it is, after all, a watch), but also that indicates the current altitude and gives an indication of the upcoming weather conditions.
An impressive development, an impressive watch on the wrist, but one that truly pays tribute to the rich past of Favre-Leuba. Enjoy the video! More details on favre-leuba.com.