On the 12th of May 2019, Favre Leuba is launching an auction in Geneva for our ground-breaking Raider Bivouac 9000. The actual summit watch from Adrian Ballinger’s record-setting 2018 ascent will be up for auction. 100% of all proceeds go towards supporting the Khumbu Climbing Centre co-founded by Jenni Lowe-Anker and Conrad Anker in Phortse, Nepal.
The Ultimate Testing Ground:
Mount Everest and its Sherpa community stand tall as truly one of a kind in all senses. Nowhere else in the world can you place mountaineering equipment at 8848m. Thoroughly testing its capabilities in the most severe alpine terrain. On the 20th of May 2018, the Favre Leuba Raider Bivouac 9000 became the first mechanical altimeter wristwatch to accurately convey altitude, air pressure, and time, on the roof of the world. In May of this year (2019), Favre Leuba will be auctioning off the pioneering watch with 100% of the proceeds going toward supporting the Khumbu Climbing Centre (KCC).
The KCC was co-founded by Jenni and Conrad Anker, with the support of the full board of directors from the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. Influential members of the local Sherpa community were also crucial to the centre’s development. Including Chhongba Sherpa, Panuru Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa and Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa.
On the whole, the centre’s resources focus on the development and training of the vital indigenous Sherpa and mountain guiding community in Nepal. In a region where many families and communities have lost loved ones to the mountains. Moreover, the KCC is doing all it can to enhance the mountaineering knowledge of the local people. They hope to raise the margin of safety when working in high mountain terrain. The foundation was set up by Jenni-Lowe Anker after the sad loss of Alex Lowe in a mountaineering accident. Shortly after its establishment in 1999, the foundation was also joined by professional mountaineer Conrad Anker.
Altogether, the founding members of the KCC have been touched by the friendship and support they have found within the people of this region. The efforts and resources invested have had a direct impact on improving the safety and well-being of all climbers and hikers who enter the valley surrounding Mount Everest. Jenni Lowe- Anker has provided us with a letter on behalf of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation that further discusses these aspects.
Rapid Ascent System – Adrian Ballinger
The 20th of May 2018 marked two remarkable feats in Favre Leuba’s history. Namely, the success of the Raider Bivouac 9000 in the inhospitable climate at the top of the world. Followed by the accomplishment of our alpine ambassador Adrian Ballinger attaining a new home-to-home speed record for an Everest mission.
Adrian Ballinger is a world-class mountaineer with a history of setting new standards in high alpine environments. Furthermore, he has successfully completed 8 summits of Mt Everest including one without supplemental oxygen. Also, he has established astonishing speed records, such as the one from the May 2011 ascent of Mt. Everest twice and Lhotse Peak. Thus, becoming the first person (along with 2 Sherpa teammates) to climb three 8,000-meter peaks in only 3 weeks. However, Adrian also commits significant time to support others in the mountains. He was the only non-Sherpa member of the Everest summit rope-fixing teams in 2010 and 2011. Additionally also being the only American mountain guide to hold both AMGA/IFMGA certifications and have more than 15 summits of 8000-meter peaks. Moreover, these accreditations allow him to take small groups of mountaineers into the Himalayas and educate them in these intense and extreme regions.
Adrian teamed up with Favre Leuba for his 2018 climbing missions. He has pioneered a new approach to climbing in the Himalayas termed the ‘Rapid Ascent System’. As a result, the revolutionary method minimises the number of days needed for acclimatisation. All in all, it also ensures he and his team can physically handle the rigours of continuous climbing in such high altitudes.
A demanding regime of extensive low-intensity endurance training that involves climbing 4x 1,200-meter elevations per week. Also, on big days this stretches to 2,400-meter ascents also coupled with fast climbs. Before leaving for the Himalayas, Adrian also spends eight weeks acclimatising at home in hypoxic tents that allow him to adjust to an altitude of 5,600 meters.
The extensive physical preparation created the opportunity for him to combine elite athleticism with his ultimate mountaineering efficiency. In essence, it would pave the way for his success in achieving the fastest-ever door-to-door ascent of Cho Oyu and Mount Everest, from the US and back, in only 23 days. Furthermore, the new Rapid Ascent System, and Adrian’s extensive Himalayan experience and mountaineering prowess, enabled him to climb Everest in only 9 days, a feat taking most climbers 65 days.
Raider Bivouac 9000 – Conquering Frontiers Timepiece
Throughout Adrian’s preparation and ascent, his Favre Leuba Bivouac 9000 altimeter watch was harnessed to his wrist. An indispensable alpine companion. Notably, its internal mechanical air pressure and altitude system provided accurate barometric readings to Adrian. While attempting to summit Everest the team encountered a severe oxygen equipment malfunction. They thought their summit window had closed. However, the Bivouac 9000 indicated an incoming high-pressure system.
Coupled with updated weather reports from base camp offered new hope. Finally, a small weather window was confirmed. It provided enough time to reach the summit and descend back below the ‘death zone’ of 8000 metres, in all safety. In the letter below, Adrian discusses further how the Bivouac 9000 supported him on his Everest mission.
Favre Leuba’s legacy is built upon the bold and pioneering spirit of mountaineering. The original Bivouac released in 1962 became synonymous throughout the climbing world. Finally, a timepiece to accurately calculate altitude. Straightaway it became renowned for joining the likes of Walter Bonatti on defining climbs in the Grand Jorasses. Furthermore, Junko Tabei wore the first Bivouac on the summit of Everest while becoming the first female climber to ascend to the roof of the world.
In 2018, our new Raider Bivouac 9000 became the first mechanical altimeter wristwatch to accurately calculate altitude and time on the 8848-meter peak of Mount Everest. This genuinely ground-breaking moment saw the mechanical wristwatch redefine its place as indispensable in the high grounds of the Himalayas. In a terrain where shattering winds and sub-zero temperatures can cause chaos with digital instruments is where Swiss mechanical engineering can thrive.
Khumbu Climbing Centre & Auction
To commemorate this achievement, Favre Leuba will be auctioning Adrian Ballinger’s Everest summit timepiece in Geneva on the 12th of May 2019. The case back has been engraved with the defining date and altitude of the summit. Importantly 100% of the proceeds received will go towards supporting the Khumbu Climbing Centre. Above all, a cause dedicated to teaching a wide range of mountain safety skills to the local Nepali community. Teachings at the KCC cover topics such as mountain safety and rescue, wilderness first aid, technical climbing knowledge and English communication. We hope the auction can help contribute to the ongoing efforts to improve the safety and well-being of the Sherpa community and all those who enter the region.
Date of auction: 12th of May 2019
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Hong Kong preview: 29th and 30th April 2019
Taiwan preview: 2nd and 3rd May 2019
Geneva preview: 9th, 10th, and 11th of May 2019
Online catalogue available from 29th April on – https://www.antiquorum.swiss/
Lot number: STWWa
Case: Bidirectional rotating bezel with anodised aluminium insert; sapphire crystal with antireflection coating on both sides; aligned case back; diameter 48 mm, water-resistant up to 3 bar/30 m
Movement: Hand-wound FL311 movement, based on the EMC 3903M calibre; specially designed mechanisms for altimeter and power-reserve indicator; power reserve of 65 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, central hand to display altitudes of 3,000 m per full rotation, sub-dial for displaying altitudes of up to 9,000 m and air pressure in hPa, power-reserve indicator, date display
Strap: Gray antelope leather with pin buckle