Swiss Army Watches – Rugged Reliability
You’re probably familiar with the products of a Swiss company called Victorinox, but it’s likely their versatile and durable knives that you think of first. It turns out that the company now makes a wide variety of products, including clothing and accessories, and as it happens, their Swiss Army watches are not only attractive, functional timepieces with rugged build quality, but they’re also among the world’s most popular brands.
That’s quite a surprise, as the company is more than a century old but only started making timepieces some thirty years ago. They offer nearly 100 different models for both men and women in a variety of styles.
Read on for the full Swiss Army watches review.
It won’t surprise you to learn that these watches are quite ruggedly built. Their watches feature tough, stainless steel cases and high quality mineral and sapphire crystal. Some of their models are water resistant to 500 meters, and feature high quality, reliable helium valves to ensure water resistance. Bands are available in stainless steel, leather and rubber.
Movements are Swiss made mechanical and quartz electronic. These are tough timepieces that should last for years and can probably withstand more abuse than your typical designer timepiece.
Swiss Army watches offer several different movements; about three quarters of their product line uses Swiss made quartz electronic movements, which are accurate to within a few seconds per month. These require minimal maintenance while offering precision and accuracy, which is nice, especially if you have one of their models with chronometer features.
The remainder of the line use Swiss made self-winding automatic mechanical movements. The company does not currently offer any models that require manual winding.
The company doesn’t have a long history of watchmaking, so it won’t surprise you to find that these watches don’t include a lot of homegrown technical innovation. They mostly stick to proven technologies, though they’ve refined them to the point where they simply work and provide you with a long-lasting, accurate timepiece.
The styling leans towards the traditional; you’re not going to see edgy or super colorful design here. If you’re looking for pink faces or grand complications, you need to find another brand. These timepieces feature austere, elegant styling and analog displays.
Many of their models include chronograph features, and there are a few odd models that include such seldom-encountered features such as a power gauge, a second time zone display, or an LED light to help you read your watch at night. The company specializes in chronographs, and you’re going to see quite a few of those, regardless of whether you’re shopping for a man’s or woman’s model.
Men’s models dominate their lineup, which currently features about 80 different models. They do, like many designer watchmakers, offer limited editions from time to time; these are often limited to 500 pieces or fewer and tend to sell for a premium price. If you like wristwatches with lots of buttons and dials, you’ll like this brand.
Most models feature highly accurate and long-running Swiss made quartz electronic movements. Aside from replacing the battery every few years, these timepieces will not require anything unusual in the way of care and maintenance.
You should probably rinse your sports models in fresh water after salt water exposure, and you should take care to keep your wristwatch away from extremes of temperature or strong magnetic fields. Automatic movement models will need to be regularly worn or stored in a watch winder for optimum performance. Aside from this, these timepieces do not require any special care or maintenance.
You’ll find that your purchase includes a three year manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This is better than average; we find that the median warranty for designer watches seems to be about two years.
Most defects will become apparent within a year of purchase, so this shouldn’t be an issue with most buyers. It’s quite possible that you may be able to purchase an extended warranty from your dealer at the time of purchase; be sure to inquire about this if you’re concerned about it.
As these are reliable, well-built timepieces from a name that has long been associated with quality and reliability, it won’t surprise to find that prices range from moderate to fairly expensive.
List prices start at about $400, and most of their product line runs in the $400-$1000 range. A few models are a bit more, with prices up to $2000 for some select models. Occasional limited edition runs of a few hundred models sell for quite a bit more; we’ve seen pricing on a couple of models that approach $5000.
That said, the bulk of their product line is priced in the high hundreds of dollars, rather than the thousands. As luxury watch prices go, this qualifies as moderate. No, they’re not inexpensive, by any means, but they are reliable and well crafted and should last for years with proper care.
It won’t surprise you to know that the brand is somewhat collectible, and prices for vintage models can be higher. That said, we do not suggest that you purchase these as an investment. Just be happy if you buy one today and discover that it has appreciated in value a few years from now.
You can find the brand for sale at a number of authorized dealers worldwide. These are usually fine jewelers and high end department stores. On occasion, you can find them for sale at online retailers as well.
It’s unlikely that any given retailer will stock the entire product line, and limited edition models, while pricey, tend to sell out quickly and may be hard to locate. Be prepared to shop around if you’re looking for something in particular.
Swiss Army watches are well made, durable, extremely water resistant and offer good features if you need a chronograph. On the downside, their styling is rather simplistic and doesn’t offer a lot of variety.
You’re not going to find much in their product line that will look good with either an evening gown or a tuxedo. On the other hand, they offer an iconic brand name, some good features, and the satisfaction that the watch you buy today may still be running thirty years from now. If you like rugged, tough and versatile, you’ll like Swiss Army watches.