Featuring a cluttered dial and an oversized body, the Victorinox Swiss Army AirBoss Mach 6 Power Gauge doesn’t look like a practical choice. However, the exaggerated busyness of the exterior and the nice finish of its mechanical movement makes this “aviator” a nice fashion accessory for those who always dreamed about accomplishing a tour of duty on a real aircraft carrier.
The Swiss watchmaker Victorinox Swiss Army adds yet another automatic timepiece to its growing AirBoss Collection of pilot’s watches.
Established five years ago, this series of fine, yet relatively affordable watches cite modern aircraft carriers’ control rooms as the primary source of inspiration and pays a sort of homage to the Swiss Air Force, although the small country doesn’t have maritime borders and, naturally, they don’t have any aircraft carrier.
Frankly, before reviewing this timekeeper I was under impression that modern featured *ahem* a bit more sophisticated hardware that includes huge computer networks that sometimes rival those used for human genome research, let’s just try and accept their claim at face value. After all, it is just a PR blurb whose aim is to get your attention and make your heart beat faster if only for just a moment.
Visually, this is just another Mach-series timepiece that now features a slightly reworked dial and a huge power reserve indicator.
The chronograph is predictably large, but I could live with that, although I can’t really say the same about the dial, which is just too cluttered to my taste. The only thing that saves it is Superluminova inlays generously sprayed over all of its main elements including the tachymeter scale on the bezel.
It may be a good investment if you want just a limited-edition fashion accessory. It may not be as valuable if your main idea is to get yourself a time-measuring device that you could easily use in stressful situation, like, for example, piloting a plane or commanding a battleship.
Like many other modern “pilots”, the AirBoss Mach 6 Power Gauge features a PVD coated stainless steel case with luminescent segments on its face, bezel and hands (in fact, the only element that lacks the Supeluminova treatment is the tiny date indicator at 4 o’clock).
With all the aforementioned elements clearly marked with jovial light green accents, the black color of PVD finish doesn’t make the timekeeper especially ‘stealth’, but it still makes a very nice background. It looks cool, too.
Whole 45 millimeters in diameter, the Mach 6 Power Gauge is, so to speak, on the larger side of the family. But that, again, is normal for the niche.
Just keep in mind that pilots of the past that this device seems to refer to used to wear their watches over thick sleeves of their leather jackets so the size of the piece was not really a problem. On the other hand, you, I suppose, will have to wear it over your bare wrist so, if you happen to be on a leaner side, this one may be a bit too big for you.
Despite all the military inspirations, the timekeeper’s dial doesn’t make an impression of a highly-legible job.
Although there are only four sub-dials (a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour, and a 30-minute chronograph totalizer at 6 and 12 o’clock, and a small seconds display at 9 o’clock,) the monochromatic color scheme makes the dial almost unreadable, overwhelming the owner with a torrent of unstructured data.
Of course, when the chronograph is not in use, the pointers on the two sub-dials will always stay motionless, as will the central chronograph seconds hand making reading the wristwatch a bit less of a pain, however, the level of legibility is still very low. Definitely, this is not my idea of a pilot’s watch.
The 45mm case nests the famous Valjoux 7750 self-winding automatic chronograph movement.
The robust and reliable caliber sports a personalized oscillating weight that you can admire via a see-through screw-in case-back cover. There are also nice Geneva stripes and blued (probably, anodized) screw heads, but that’s sort of normal for a timepiece, that bears a heavy price tag of approximately $4000.
My only problem with the case-back is that, for some reason, Victorinox decided to protect the caliber with nothing more than scratch-prone mineral glass, so you’ll have to be careful planning your flight missions.
The dial is covered with a triple-coated scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The Mach 6’s screw-down crown increases the timepiece’s water resistance to 100 meters: not really impressive, but is practical enough if you don’t plan to use this watch for professional diving.
Victorinox plans to sell only 333 of these “aviators” worldwide.
Photos: Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox AirBoss Mach 6 Power Gauge specification
Price range: $4000 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, modified, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph, power reserve
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: PVD coated stainless steel
Diameter: 45.00 mm
Dial: Black, with Superluminova treatment
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with grey stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective