Mostly known for its rather uninspiring design language, the company, which is usually associated with highly durable and versatile (and also quite expensive) Swiss Army knives, has finally produced an item worthy of a long second glance. Surprisingly, this new quartz-powered Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono Classic 1/100 (refs. 241617 & 241619) chronograph features a skeletonized dial with a nice-looking guilloched plate covering its large date display.
While dressier than their ruggedized PVD-treated Infantry Vintage Chrono Mechanical that was released three years ago, the watch certainly doesn’t lack in the masculinity department
Featuring a guilloche motif that Victorinox prefers to call “Swiss Officer’s Knife” (it is indeed identical to the one that decorated the handle of the original Modell 1961 military edition pocket knife that stayed in production from 1961 to 2008), the plate partially covers two circular cutouts in the dial allowing just enough space for the bold white Arabic numerals on the rotating disks to be clearly seen.
Thanks to a pair of rectangular apertures right in the middle of the plate, the watch features one of the nicest “large date” indicators in sub-$1000 USD price range.
Of course, the brand doesn’t produce its own movements, so they employed a mass-market job from the Swiss-based Soprod ebauche maker. Called Soprod SOP FM13D, the mechatronic caliber is available in at least three different versions (the other two named FM13A and FM13C6, all of them equipped with different number of micro-motors), but this one looks the most interesting to me, at least, in this execution.
Since the watch is styled as a military timepiece, it’s rugged-looking body is a little larger than an average 40 mm watch, but is still compact enough to be worn on almost any type of wrist. The PVD-treated bezel of the gadget is equipped with the same boringly simple tachymeter scale as about 99 percent of other chronographs, but I could live with that.
The pair of chronograph push-pieces at 2 and 4 hours look very ergonomic, and the moderately oversized setting crown is partly protected from a sudden shock with a pair of elegant crown guards.
As you can see on the photos, the body of the Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono Classic 1/100 Chronograph is nicely sculpted and looks quite expensive: a very welcome development for the brand that never really tried to make their products look elegant.
All in all, this is a very nice watch (I really dig the version with Champaign-colored dial), and if VSA somehow manages to keep its street price below $600 USD, I will surely give it 4.5 stars out of 5.
The watch was presented two weeks ago at the Baselworld 2013 trade show.
Photos: Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono Classic 1/100 chronograph watch specification
Price: $850 (MSRP, ref. 241617, leather strap) / $975 (MSRP, ref. 241619, stainless steel bracelet)
Movement: Quartz, caliber Soprod SOP FM13D, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: No data
Movement frequency: No data
Power reserve: No data
Movement decoration: None
Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph, large date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case, Dark grey or Champagne PVD
Crown material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Dark grey or Champagne
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Certified organically tanned chestnut brown leather strap or stainless steel bracelet
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Stainless steel