The good old Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 (ref. V241660) has been on the market for some years now. Designed with lovers of “military diving” in mind, it must be popular among customers around the world if the Swiss entry-luxury brand, which is mostly known for its multipurpose knives, has finally decided to offer a relatively expensive limited edition of the piece. Sporting the usual sturdy-looking body crowned with a visually complex unidirectional rotating bezel, the new version of the Dive Master 500 features a more interesting dial and is, for a change, equipped with a mechanical movement made by ETA.
As I have already noted, the limited-edition model looks a lot more interesting than a “plain” version. While many previous iterations of the watch looked somewhat cheap even despite their “three-dimensional” dials and complex bezels that were probably supposed to look “expensive”, this one indeed makes an impression of a finely crafted watch. While the signature elements of the design remain in place, it is the balance between them, those little touches of a skilled designer’s hand that make all the difference.
As you can see on the images below, its dial was finally stripped of that speaker-style shape (it is still present on the small seconds indicator, though, probably as a nod to the less expensive version) and now features a more noble-looking vertical stripes pattern and its main elements, those including a 20-minute diving scale, as well as both chronograph totalizers are painted with lime-green luminous compound (not sure if it is Superluminova or some other substance, but on these images it certainly looks nice) that glows even more brightly at night.
The round dot-shaped hour markers are partly gone and partly downsized to look more proportionate to the three sub-dials and a small dot on the central chronograph seconds hand, too, adding to the timekeeper’s more refined appearance. The traditional broad sword-shaped hands are now partly open-worked contributing to the dial’s visual lightness.
Regretfully, the watch is not powered by a Valjoux 7750 or some other time-proven natural-born chronograph movement. Instead, it is equipped with an ETA 2894-2 caliber equipped with a chronograph module. As usual, be warned: while a lot less expensive, this combination is also less reliable than a “real” chronograph just because there are so many “spare” elements in it that require more man hours to service and repair the mechanism.
The body of the watch is still the same 43 millimeters in diameter but is this time fashioned out of relatively hard Grade 2 titanium alloy that was sandblasted to give the watch that menacing “military” appearance. The pair of sapphire crystals both back and front make the watch an even more valuable purchase.
The watch is limited to just 500 pieces. Given its nice look, I am positive that it will be sold out in a matter of weeks (if the price is right, that is).
It will be presented at Baselworld 2014.
See also: Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Automatic
Photos: Victorinox Swiss Army
Build quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 V241660 specification
Price: $3300 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2894-2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 37
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 47 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Grade 2 titanium
Size: 43.00 mm
Dial: Titanium grey
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Open-worked, luminous
Water resistance: 500 meters
Strap: Sandblasted matt grey grade 2 titanium bracelet with folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating