The popular Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. (“INOX”) watch collection gets expanded for 2015 with a range of interesting new models including a few that are limited editions. Victorinox Swiss Army has done really well with the INOX during its first year for sale, meaning that consumers responded well to these good looking, fairly-priced, and durable Swiss quartz watches. aBlogtoWatch offered our own hands-on review of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watch here. So for 2015, how does Victorinox Swiss Army follow up? The good news is that nothing is really changed about the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX collection, but rather the collection is supplemented with more good stuff.
The dial and basic 43mm-wide, 200-meter water resistant steel case containing a Swiss Ronda 715 quartz movement remain unchanged. However, in addition to the existing colors, Victorinox Swiss Army was finally able to add a red version with the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Red. The brand’s signature color was oddly missing when the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX debuted for sale in 2014. When asked, Victorinox Swiss Army admitted that the red color was simply not ready when the collection launched last year because the dial they where producing in red did not pass all of the INOX’s stress tests.
Victorinox Swiss Army has promoted the fact that they devised 130 tests designed to measure the durability of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX across a range of factors. A promotional event last year in New York was designed to show off some of these tests and included watches being boiled, tumbled in a washing machine, frozen, and more. I’ve asked the company to tell me more about these 130 tests, and they explained that at least some of them are trade secrets that they do not wish reveal. That is understandable, but they did offer this list of 26 of them, which illustrates what the INOX collection needed to endure during the development process:
Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. – Top 26/130 Durability Tests
- #37/130 – Strap: Torsion angle (130° / 5000 cycles) Example: the watch can be twisted up to 130 degrees during 5,000 wash cycles without breaking.
- #39/130 – Strap: Color resistance in water (72 hours in distilled water)
- #40/130 – Strap: Bending resistance (2,000 cycles x 30 cycles per minute)
- #43/130 – Strap: UV resistance (UV light 300W – 72 hours)
- #44/130 – Strap: Synthetic perspiration (48 hours at 104°F)
- #47/130 – Strap: Salt fog/corrosion resistance (95°F ± 36°F / humidity 90 and 100% during 72 hours)
- #127/130 – Pin buckle: Salt fog resistance (95°F ± 36°F / humidity 90 to 100% during 72 hours)
- #48/130 – Strap: Discoloration resistance (humidity 95 ~ 100% HR / PH 4.7 / 104°F ± 36°F during 7 days)
- #112/130 – Watch: Discoloration resistance (humidity 95 ~ 100% HR / PH 4.7 / 104°F ± 36°F during 7 days)
- #61/130 – Dial: 1m drop resistance of index/markers. Example: 26 consecutive “one meter high” drops onto a solid surface
- #63/130 – Dial: UV resistance (UV light 300W – 72 hours)
- #18/130 – Sapphire Glass: Vertical dropping of a steel ball directly onto the sapphire glass (1600 to 2100.10-4 N.m.)
- #16/130 – Sapphire glass: Force resistance (100N, 30 seconds). Example: 10m drop resistance
- #117/130 – Watch case: Thermal shocks resistance (5 times : 2 hours at 158°F / water immersion at 41°F). Example: 90 Degrees Celsius for 2 hours in a washing machine.
- #97/130 – Watch case with movement: Shock and acceleration resistance (from 250 to 5500m/s2). Example: Bracelet vibration test – 500’000 vibration cycles (vs. a regular bracelet model undergoes 50’000)
- #98/130 – Watch case: Air resistance (328 ft. = 10 bars)
- #99/130 – Watch case: Water resistance to 1,640 ft. / 656 ft.
- #101/130 – Watch case: Shock resistance (pendulum testing machine)
- #126/130 – External parts: Heat and humidity resistance (7 days at 90% humidity and 104°F)
- #119/130 – External parts: Corrosion resistance (95°F ± 36°F / humidity 90 and 100% during 72 hours)
- #120/130 – External parts: Synthetic perspiration (48 hours at 104°F)
- #121/130 – External parts: Radiation test (≤0.2uSv/hr) uSv is called “microsievert”
- #122/130 – External parts: Air resistance (Deltarox)
- #123/130 – External parts: Traction resistance (70N – 150N/1 minute)
- #124/130 – External parts: Shock resistance (pendulum testing machine)
- #125/130 – External parts: Thermal shocks resistance (5 times : 2 hours at 158°F / water immersion at 41°F)
Going back to the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Red and why the brand needed to wait an extra year to release this dial color: apparently, it was because the dial color faded with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunlight is the historical cause of “tropical dials” on some watches, where originally black colors turn brown. While some collectors enjoy this, I’d say it is fair to suggest that with modern watches, people paying a premium want a watch whose construction and colors aren’t going to erode much over time.
While the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX with its grey, blue, and green dial colors is very nice, the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Red is really the cornerstone of the collection. You can see just how lovely it looks in our pictures along with the matching strap. Is this not the very personification of a modern Victorinox Swiss Army watch? Not to downplay the rest of the brand’s new watches, but this one is a home run for me and a good timepiece for anyone who is married to their red-handled Swiss Army pocket knife.
Also coming soon – though not yet ready for prime time – is a bracelet for the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX. It will be in steel and of course designed to pass the brand’s many durability tests. The delay in its release was also due to the fact that traditional bracelet deployant clasps didn’t fare too well when being run over with a heavy vehicle. If I recall correctly, the steel bracelet for Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watches will be available before the end of 2015.
The brand is also rolling out at least two limited edition versions of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX for this year. These are certainly for collectors and niche audiences, but they are admittedly very cool. First is the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX “Remade In Switzerland” limited edition, which we will refer to as the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX “Remade.” Using a base Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watch with a green dial, Victorinox Swiss Army uses leather from actual vintage Swiss army military bags that were produced between 1911 and 1970. The leather from these old soldier bags was cut up to make the strap as well as the case protector for the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Remade In Switzerland limited edition set.
The Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Remade In Switzerland is a clever concept because it really connects the modern brand with not only trends (vintage leather straps) that appeal to watch collectors, but also the actual Swiss army. The limited edition concept is, of course, a touch gimmicky, but it is nevertheless very satisfying, and the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Remade In Switzerland will be produced as a limited edition of 250 pieces.
A bit more niche (and more interesting, in my opinion) is the limited edition Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka watches. Some of you may be familiar with Naimakka as a company that produces bracelets made out of specially woven paracord. These chunky bracelets began as survival tools based on the premise that having some durable rope can be a lifesaver. From there, Naimakka paracord bracelets became a sort of fashion item for those who are or would like to appear adventurous.
Of course, the irony is that each of these parachord bracelets are good for one time. Meaning that once you unravel them, you no longer have a bracelet, and you just have a strand of paracord rope. An interesting kicker that I recall from our meeting with Victorinox Swiss Army was that they will ensure each unraveled Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka watch bracelet is re-woven for free – assuming it is sent back to them, along with a story of what situation you were in that required you to use the rope.
My understanding is that there are a few versions (at least two) of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka limited edition watch meaning various strap/dial color options. The strap actually has a very interesting buckle system that I like a lot. More so, the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka limited edition watches come with a few other unique extras. These include a special clear, removable plastic case guard with compass navigational markers on it, and a special knife. We are talking about a Swiss Army folding blade with a small Naimakka lanyard attachment.
Again, the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka limited edition watches aren’t for everyone, but it does show unique and clever ways the company is successfully targeting niche audiences who are fans of both Victorinox Swiss Army and Naimakka products. The precise number of the limited edition Naimakka watches hasn’t been specified yet, nor has the company explained whether or not the straps can be purchased separately from the limited edition watch.
Prices for the 2015 Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watches begin with the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Red ref. 241719.1 at $525. The Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Naimakka limited edition ref. 241726.1 (black) and the 241727.1 (green) are priced at $625. On the new steel bracelet the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX ref. 241723.1 (black), 241724.1 (blue), and 241725.1 (green) are $650. Last, the limited edition of 250 pieces Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Remade In Switzerland ref. 241718 will be priced at $795. victorinoxwatches.com