Hands-On Victorinox INOX Review
You definitely know the Victorinox knives, but are you also familiar with Victorinox watches? Besides the knives and watches, you’ll find Victorinox luggage and backpacks. Victorinox concentrates on outdoor gear, the Victorinox Swiss Army knives probably being the most famous accessories. But how about their watches? We were eager to learn about the Victorinox INOX watch and what the fuss is about. We selected the Victorinox INOX Paracord watch for our review, as it perfectly matches the durable look of the watch. So without further ado, here we go.
Victorinox INOX Paracord
When I received the Victorinox INOX Paracord, they told me that it is an extremely tough and durable watch. They dropped it from 10 meters, drove over one with a 64 ton tank and it has a depth rate of 200 meters. I am not sure why you want to drop it from 10 meters or drive over with a tank, but it clearly demonstrates the strength of this watch. I was told that they [Victorinox] also lifted someone with a helicopter only by hanging on the Paracord strap (more about the Paracord strap later on). Not stuff you have to deal with in daily life. Or at least I don’t have to, being a watch journalist.
Red, Green and Black
Let’s talk colors first. When I was presented the red version of the Victorinox INOX Paracord, I wasn’t too sure about it. I was also offered to try a different color, but suddenly it struck me that red is actually the color of the Victorinox Swiss Army knives. Which is kinda cool I think. So I took the Victorinox INOX Paracord in red. The watch comes in this black box with an additional red rubber strap and a bumper. The black one comes with a black strap (tadaa) and the green model comes with a cool looking camouflage paracord strap.
Dial and Legibility
Being a toolwatch, the Victorinox INOX has a very legible dial. Clean design, easy to read the time (and date) and it also has a 24 hour scale. Military time, I guess, based on the Swiss Army roots. Anyhows, it looks neat and the entire composition (dial, hands, markers) looks well thought through. At night, the lume will make it easy to read the time. The dial doesn’t have much redundant text, as it only states the brand name and depth rate.
Victorinox Compass Bumper
The watch comes with this compass bumper. It is more or less a protective shell for your watch, like many people have for their smartphones. I am not sure why you want to use this on a toolwatch with this price tag (not wanting to sound snobbish), but at least it has the compass markers on it. For navigation purposes I guess. You can of course also use your iPhone with GPS for that, in a bumper. Anyway, the bumpers are available in three colors and a transparent one, like we had.
Large, Heavy and Quartz
The Victorinox INOX Paracord is a big watch with its 43mm diameter. Not only that, it is also quite thick. Especially when the compass bumper is on. The weight is 140 grams according to its specifications. There’s also a Victorinox INOX titanium for those who find the stainless steel model too heavy. However, despite the weight and dimensions, I like it very much on the wrist. It is definitely a tool watch and not something I would wear with a dress shirt or suit, but for outdoor activities it is awesome.
Some of you know that I am quite critical towards bracelets and cases. Whether it is design or finish, in my opinion that’s where a luxury watch makes the difference with ordinary watches. Besides the movement that is. The Victorinox INOX case is tough, big and bulky but I do like the original design and the finish on the case. The case has a nice brushed finish and I found it to be quite well done considering the price point of the watch. The screw-down caseback has some detailed information engraved in there, such as reference number, the use of a sapphire crystal and the water resistance level.
The crown is signed with the Victorinox Swiss Army logo and has bulky protectors.
Not only the big block of stainless steel makes this watch a massive and durable timepiece, also the quartz movement ensures it can handle abuse.
Mechanical versus Quartz
I don’t think I have to elaborate on the fact that mechanical movements are more sensitive to shocks and abuse than quartz movements. A shock, drop, knock or magnetism can easily make a mechanical watch stop functioning properly, or at all. Mechanical movements work with the super small tolerances and all the tiny components just fit right in and need to correspond with each other. A shock can easily disturb this. Therefore you should always take care of your mechanical watch and prevent exposing it to extreme conditions. Despite NASA tests on Omega watches and big black choppers protecting the Rolex R&D department from intruders, also their mechanical watches have their limitations when it comes to abuse.
If you want to have a watch that can take a serious beating, quartz is the only way to go. And let’s be honest here, everyone needs a quartz watch, right? You need to have a watch to which you can synchronize all your mechanical watches. The Victorinox INOX uses a Swiss made Ronda quartz movement.
Big part of the fun for me about this Victorinox watch is the Paracord strap. Although it looked a bit quirky to me at first, it is an incredible product. The Paracord strap was developed together with the Swedish brand Naimakka. It is a handwoven strap that uses the same nylon cords that you’ll find in parachute suspension lines. So Victorinox takes this durability thing very seriously. I was told that you can use a (Victorinox) knife to unravel the strap and use it for other purposes in extreme conditions. If only Rambo had a strap like this.
To be honest, the strap and I needed to get to know each other a bit. The strap is quite stiff and the surface feels a bit like sandpaper at first. But you’ll get used to it rather quickly and once set, it looks cool and sits comfortably on the wrist. The only thing that bothered the hell out of me was the way it closes and opens. You need to size it first and then try to connect the ends to each other with the clasp. It definitely costed me like 15 attempts to get the hang of it. Once I did, it still wasn’t an easy task but at least I could close the strap within 15 seconds instead of the initial 2 minutes. Patience is the key here.
Some Thoughts and Pricing
You might be of the opinion that €599 Euro for a quartz watch isn’t cheap (it isn’t), but this watch is quite a bit more than ‘just a quartz watch’. It has an impressive solid case with nice and subtle finishing, great legibility, offers great shock and water resistance and comes with an über cool Paracord strap. Victorinox also throws in a cool box packed with a manual, rubber strap and compass bumper. But I guess most of these things will just land on a shelf somewhere. For me, the fun is in the design of the watch, the colors and of course the Paracord strap. I am not an outdoor guy, but I can see how this watch can be a (professional) toolwatch to some.
In this price range, it will be difficult to find a Swiss made watch with the same level of quality concerning the case (and strap). My guess is that either the outdoor guy or someone who loves to own a durable (Swiss) watch is the perfect customer for the Victorinox INOX (Paracord) timepiece. It will also match some of the other cool outdoor gear from the Victorinox collection.
I reviewed the Victorinox INOX Paracord watch, reference 241744. Go to the official Victorinox website to find more watches from this collections and locate stores near you.