Among the latest models that the famous maker of expensive Swiss army knives is going to present at the upcoming Baselworld 2011 event, is the new Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Automatic (refs. 241505 & 241506) watch.
The first thing that you notice looking at this watch is its size: for a pilot’s timekeeper, it is unusually small.
While the Airboss Mach 4 was presented two years in a large 45 mm case, the new Airboss Automatic is presented in a smaller, more elegant 42 mm body.
The dial also looks more refined, although the brand’s military-inspired DNA is still here.
The applied Arabic numerals use the same typeface; the minute track is still placed on the inner bezel; and even the extra numerals in the military 24h format are still on the inner part of the dial.
The diamond-shaped hour and minute hands are still covered with generous amount of luminescent substance that greatly increases the timekeeper’s legibility.
My only complaint here is about the small lume-covered triangle at 6 o’clock. The idea was probably to draw some extra attention to the small date aperture, but traditionally the sign is placed at 12 o’clock, so some people may find the use of the symbol somewhat confusing.
The dial, which is available either in silver (pictured) or charcoal gray colors, is protected from the elements with a scratch-resistant, antireflective sapphire crystal.
The pilot’s watch is powered by an ordinary ETA 2824-2 blank caliber, which is seen through a transparent case back covered by a mineral glass. The mechanism, as you can see in the picture above the lead is sort of boring offering nothing more than a basic oscillating weight with the brand’s “shield” stamped on to it, so there is nothing really to look at through the transparent back.
However, given the timekeeper’s more than affordable price (its MSRP starts for a version on brown leather strap with steel pin buckle starts at CHF 832 and the version on a 5-link stainless steel bracelet will be priced at CHF 925) and the brand’s tendency to seriously discount their wristwatches as soon as they go on sale, this was something to be expected: practically nobody offers their watches with better decorated movements in this price range.
As a sort of verdict, I would say that this new Airboss Date is an interesting entry-level model for a person willing to make a leap of faith and change his or her quartz-powered Citizen for something that actually has soul. In this regard, the watch will offer you a combination of a high-quality (although pretty average in all respects) mechanism, highly legible dial that is actually interesting to look at, and a beautifully shaped case crafted from quality steel. What more could one possibly ask?
Photos: Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Automatic watch specification
Price: CHF 832 (MSRP, leather strap, ref. 241505) / CHF 925 (MSRP, steel bracelet, ref. 241506)
Movement: Automatic, ETA 2824-2, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Dial: Silver or Charcoal grey
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Steel bracelet or Brown leather
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent, mineral