The Swiss watch brand Certina was last week announced as the new Timing partner of Visma Ski Classics. We have interviewed Marc Aellen, CEO Certina SA, about the brand’s history and why the company choose to start a collaboration with Visma Ski Classics.
Certina is a company with a long history. Can you point out some significant moments in the company’s history?
“Yes, we are among the oldest Swiss watch brands with a very rich story over the years. Certina is much about exploration. We were the first to provide watches to divers already during the 50s and 60s. We also equipped an expedition that went to the Himalayas. To prove that our watches are very solid and everlasting.”
“If I point out a few very important years in our history, it’s of course 1888, the foundation. Then 1959, when we introduced the DS concept. DS meaning double security; we improved the watch to have it more resistant. It’s really a sign of quality. We can also mention the introduction of the turtle symbol, dating from the 60s: that Certina can be compared with a turtle: Very reliable, very long life, very solid body to protect what’s inside.”
The symbol with the turtle shell is also an expression of Certina’s affinity with the element of water. In the past, the brand has been involved in some significant international underwater research projects and currently lends its support to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Certina seems very passionate about sports and has been involved in several different projects, but not so much into winter sports?
“Over the years we had a very long connection with sports. We were a brand that originally was very active in motorsports. Motorsports is today a little more difficult to work with if you want to protect nature. We will step by step go out of motorsport. This is also why we decided to collaborate with Visma Ski Classics. It gives us a completely other feel, much closer to nature with a clearer message.
What is it that attracts with Visma Ski Classics and long distance skiing?
“I think we are sharing the same philosophy. Very reliable in the long term, like the Pro Team athletes participating in Visma Ski Classics races. We are using more and more automatic movements in our production, which means that your watch needs less services. Something that is a little bit comparable to the athletes, that can do long races without a break or to charge their batteries.”
“We also have a very long story of our brand in Scandinavia. Certina is one of the leading brands in Norway and Sweden. It makes absolute sense to participate in such a popular Event among the Scandinavian people.”
What more possibilities do you see for Certina in collaboration with Visma Ski Classics?
“We just started, but I hope it’s a start of a long story that will lead to a successful collaboration.”
Maybe you watched Jizerská 50 this Sunday. The first race with Certina as timing partner. What was your impression when you saw the Pro Team athletes in action?
“Yes! It was an exciting race in a great landscape. I was very impressed to see the athletes and the speed they go in.”
Finally, what is your own connection to cross-country skiing?
“Cross country skiing is a great sport and a complete sport for your body. I enjoy doing it for a one-hour lunch break in nature with beautiful trees covered by snow.”