Products Built To Stand The Test Of Time

Tired of buying the same stuff over and over? Some products are built to last a lifetime. We put together some of our favourites.
Jason
Snyman
Published: Tuesday, August 29th 2017
General
We recently came across a website called BuyMeOnce. Started by CEO Tara Button, the idea of the website is to offer consumers a number of products which are meant to last. They choose the products they endorse based on 5 important questions:
  • Do the materials and craftsmanship make this product more durable than its competitors?
  • Do the reviews of the product confirm its durability?
  • Is it made ethically and if possible is it made of sustainable materials?
  • Is this product timeless?
  • Does the manufacturer offer any aftercare?
These are questions we should all ask before purchasing anything.

They Don’t Make ’Em Like They Used To

We’ve all heard that saying. When you have to buy a new tin opener or nail clipper every month, or when the soles of your brand new Levi’s shoes start coming loose a few weeks later. Don’t even get us started on earphones, sunglasses, pens and lighters. The overall quality of manufacturing has declined over the last few decades. Take Ford’s third South African recall of the Kuga, for example. Things fall apart. Everything breaks. We keep buying more, and that old adage grows truer by the day. They want us to buy more, more frequently. We have to shell out the money, while fewer and fewer companies continue to stand behind their products. Some products, though, have stood the test of time. We remember Mom fretting over her Tupperware and AMC pots. We remember buying Dad a Leatherman for Father’s Day – and he still uses it two decades later.  How about Grandma’s Bernina sewing machine? We were told to never, ever touch Grandpa’s Swiss Army Knife, or his Craftsman tools. Remember that story about your weird uncle who once knocked some other guy out with a Maglite? Maybe that’s just a Krugersdorp thing. Regardless, these products haven’t just served a purpose. They’re not just a part of history. They’re memories. We took a look at a few products that are designed to outlive you.
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1. Zippo

    You don’t have to be a smoker to enjoy a Zippo. Strike up your old-school Zippo and it’s guaranteed to still produce fire. Ever been to a concert and wanted to hold up a real flame instead of your  iPhone? Ever been camping and it’s too windy to use matches? If you’ve ever wanted to say ‘Excuse me? NO!’ to anybody wanting to borrow your lighter… Zippo is the last lighter you’ll ever need to buy.  Founded in 1932, the iconic company’s trademarked slogan is ‘It works or we fix it for free.’
“We don’t make that promise lightly,” Zippo says. “We know that behind every Zippo product sent for repair is an owner depending on our promise to get it back in working order. Whether a windproof lighter is five years, 25 years or 50 years old, it will serve as a dependable source of flame for years to come. We guarantee it.”
They offer free repairs and replacements on their windproof and butane lighters, hand warmers, knives and more. No matter how old or damaged, you can ship it to Zippo. Bear in mind, factories in China reportedly make around 12 million fake Zippos a year. If you’re wondering whether you’ve got a Zippo or a Rippo – the Wall Street Journal produced a pretty cool video to help you tell the difference.

Where To Find It

Any self-respecting tobacconist in South Africa should stock the real deal Zippo lighters. Otherwise, you can order them online. Remember to use only Zippo brand flint, wick and lighter fluid – and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

2. Davek Umbrellas

    Anchored by their reputation for quality and durability, New York based Davek offers bags, wallets and related accessories – but it’s the umbrella that steals the show. Back in 2005 they began making ‘exceptionally strong, dramatically durable umbrellas.’ Davek promises to keep you dry for good with an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their heavy-duty umbrellas. If you find any defect in material or workmanship, or the umbrella should fail to function, they’ll repair or replace it at no charge (minus postage and handling, of course). If you’ve ever lived in Cape Town, you’ll know what it’s like to have an umbrella fold up, rip and implode in your hand. Every Davek umbrella features a unique frame system designed to maximize wind-resistance and frame resilience. Their patented carbon WindFibre™, Duplex Frame™ and Wind-Tension™ frame systems are composed of high-grade steel, fibreglass, zinc alloy and aluminium to produce a vastly superior construction from that of conventional umbrellas. They even offer a high tech smart umbrella with a beacon chip embedded into the handle. If the wind carries if off down the road, you can track it with your smart phone.

Where To Find It

Some high end umbrella retailers may stock the Davek, but your best bet is to order it online.

3. Dr. Martens

    Good boots get you into adventures. Bad boots get you trench foot. Some say that Docs have experienced a drop in quality when they shifted production to Asia in 2003. Yet, you’ll still see die hard devotees wearing them year after year. Why? They’re a cultural icon, firstly, and more importantly – they’re made to withstand the test of time. The company started 116 years ago. Their FOR LIFE range of boots and shoes come with a lifetime guarantee. The idea is that delivering value for money doesn’t mean making things cheaper, but giving you a product that will last. You can wear them out and they’ll repair or replace them with no questions asked, but with a little help from the consumer – they’re meant to give you a lifetime of wear.

Where To Find It

Most good shoe stores stock Docs, as well as some clothing retail chains like Edgars. They also have their own Dr. Martens store in Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg.
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4. Cross Writing Instruments

    Ah, the Cross vs. Parker pen debate. While many consumers seem to prefer the quality or brand-value of the Parker, Cross is often favoured due to the unquestionable lifetime guarantee. Parker only offers an initial two year warranty with numerous conditions, and the option of extending it. Back in 1846, Richard Cross made the first Cross product, and they’ve been re-inventing the writing instrument category ever since. Combining design ingenuity with jewellery-quality craftsmanship, they’ve been making pens people use, depend on and enjoy for a long time. Cross is widely respected and their products make great business and luxury gifts. They’re considered an investment. Three years ago, the A.T. Cross Company announced that they had completed the purchase of Sheaffer – BIC’s fine writing instrument business. Cross has demonstrated time and again – they’re here to stay.

Where To Find It

Cross writing instruments are available in pretty much any good stationary retailer throughout South Africa.
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