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Swiss Army/Victorinox Mechanical Automatic, Vintage Watches Review

Updated on March 18, 2011

Swiss Calibers

On a larger scale of things, Swiss Army is foremost a quartz watch brand. The company doesn't support an in-house department that develops automatic movements and complications, and most of its collections feature either mostly or entirely timepieces equipped with quartz calibers. However, the few lines that contain automatic mechanisms serve several important purposes.

First they address the demand for vintage old-school engineering: for many customers the engine inside the case represents a part of their personality, and going for mechanical becomes a statement of individual character. Second, they open a vista to the future – a time when Victorinox and Wenger might decide to expand their operations, and start developing on their own.

Finally, they pay tribute to the vast, deep traditions of local mechanical watchmaking. A self-winding timepiece that bears a logo resembling the national flag of Switzerland can be an eloquent industry representative.

Victorinox Swiss Army Mechanical Chronograph
Victorinox Swiss Army Mechanical Chronograph

Mechanical Chronographs

Three collections offer a mechanical chronograph variation: Ambassador, Alpnach, and Airboss. Ambassador is a sports elegant line where the complication usually plays a secondary role. In Alpnach and Airboss, however, (racing and pilot's watches respectively) chrono emerges as the central function that dictates the overall visual appearance.

Tachymeter scales on the bezels and subdials at quarter hours lead to a busily composed face, but overall Victorinox made all the necessary adjustments – such as removal of ancillary and less influential indexes – to ensure an immediate time reading experience.

Infantry Vintage

Infantry vintage watches include a mechanical version, and present a curious reference to the classic Seiko 5 Military. The most obvious similarity lies of course in the color of the dial – a characteristic green. Besides that, Infantry comes outfitted with a leather strap rather than one made of synthetic material or fabric, though this particular component can be personalized without too much effort.

Official prices (announced on Swiss Army website) for mechanical watches range from $500 to $1500.

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