First launched in 2014 to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the company, the Victorinox INOX collection is a lineup of ultra-durable sports watches, and in the relatively short amount of time since making its debut appearance, the INOX has quickly become one of the brand’s signature models. While the original INOX watch was a three-handed quartz timepiece that was designed to withstand an insane barrage of 130 different physical stress tests (including a ten-meter drop and being run over by a truck), the collection has since expanded to include a variety of other models such as divers, smaller sized versions, and even some that are powered by mechanical movements. However, as its latest new release of 2023, Victorinox has created a chronograph version of its overbuilt sports watch, and the new Victorinox INOX Chrono makes its debut appearance in seven different configurations that span a variety of materials and colors.
While the Victorinox INOX Chrono is a completely new watch, the 43mm case appears to be a variation of what the brand uses for its Journey 1884 collection, which also received a line extension as part of this latest batch of new releases. With that in mind, while both the Journey 1884 and the new INOX Chrono measure 43mm in diameter with flat sapphire crystals above their dials and solid screw-down casebacks, the INOX Chrono measures slightly thicker at 13mm, and there are two other significant differences that separate the external profiles of these two watches. Since the Victorinox INOX Chrono is a chronograph, the screw-down crown at 3 o’clock is joined by a set of oval-shaped pushers that subtly recall the shape of the iconic Victorinox Swiss Army pocket knife. Additionally, rather than being fitted with a rotating timing bezel like the Journey 1884 models, the INOX Chrono receives a fixed-faceted bezel, although it now contains 24-hour markings for the time, along with a small tachymeter scale placed along its inner edge.
Among the seven different Victorinox INOX Chrono watches that are part of this initial release, four are in stainless steel, one is constructed from carbon composite, and two feature titanium cases fitted with carbon composite bezels for a rugged and modern take on a two-tone aesthetic. Additionally, to further prevent superficial wear during active use, the bezels on the stainless steel models are treated with a scratch-resistant coating, and regardless of material, all of the different bezels feature a luminous marker at the 12 o’clock location. With that in mind, based on the design of the bezel and its markings, the bezel itself is virtually guaranteed to be fixed to the case, which means that the luminous dot at 12 o’clock is only there to provide an orientation of the time in dark settings, rather than to function as a zero-marker like on the rotating timing bezel of a dive watch.
When it comes to the dial of the new Victorinox INOX Chrono, the overall style could best be described as a mix between the dials of the Journey 1884 and the classic three-handed INOX. The grain-texture surface features a trio of recessed subdials in a 3-6-9 layout, along with an aperture for a day display above the hands and a date window at the 6 o’clock location. The handset on the INOX Chrono offers a similar overall style to the trail-sign-inspired hands that are fitted to the Journey 1884, although they feature slightly longer luminous sections for increased legibility. Additionally, rather than having large Arabic numeral hour markers like the Journey 1884, the Victorinox INOX Chrono opts for a more simple design of compact luminous batons, and all three of the central hands, plus each one of the hour markers (including the Victorinox logo) and the 12 o’clock dot on the bezel are all finished with Super-LumiNova to provide them with a bright green glow in the dark.
As for the dial colors available for the new Victorinox INOX Chrono, the carbon composite model and the two versions that have titanium cases with carbon bezels are all exclusively offered with a black dial that has white text and small bright yellow accents. However, the four stainless steel models offer the choice of either red, black, or blue dials, and while all of the variants feature white text, the stainless steel models swap out the yellow highlights of their siblings for red equivalents and also forego the additional splash of color for the frame around the date window. In that same spirit, three of the stainless steel models feature rubber straps that match the color of their dials, while the fourth is an additional configuration for the blue dial variant that swaps out the rubber strap for a stainless steel bracelet. Just like the Journey 1884, the lugs on the new Victorinox INOX Chrono are set 21mm apart, and while the rubber strap features a slightly different pattern on its outer surface, the stainless steel bracelet appears to be identical to the style that can be found on the Journey 1884 collection.
Now, where things get a bit more interesting is when it comes to the straps that are available for the three Victorinox INOX Chrono models that have carbon composite case components. The first of the two models with titanium cases and carbon bezels are paired with a standard black rubber strap, while the other version comes as a set with both a black rubber strap and a secondary brown wood strap that features a flexible layer of wood attached to a leather base layer. Meanwhile, the INOX Chrono with a carbon composite case and bezel is also sold as a set, and while a black rubber strap is one of the included options, the other is a black paracord strap, and all of the different strap and bracelet options for the Victorinox INOX Chrono feature integrated quick-release systems to allow their users to easily swap them back and forth without the use of any tools.
Powering the new Victorinox INOX Chrono is the Ronda 5040.E Swiss quartz movement, which features both day and date displays, along with a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock and a 10-hour totalizer at the 6 o’clock location. While some collectors turn their noses up at anything that isn’t mechanical, the superior durability of quartz movements makes them a logical choice for the ultra-rugged design ethos of the INOX collection, and using a quartz movement also allows Victorinox to offer the new INOX Chrono at a significantly lower price than if it were powered by a mechanical chronograph caliber. While not all Victorinox INOX watches offer quite the same borderline-ludicrous levels of durability as the inaugural model, the new Victorinox INOX Chrono should still be entirely capable of surviving whatever you can throw at it, and it is protected by ISO 1413 shock resistance, ISO 764 antimagnetic protection, and an ISO 22810 water resistance rating of 200 meters.
When it comes to pricing, the new Victorinox INOX Chrono starts out at $800 USD for any of the three stainless steel models on a rubber strap, or $950 USD should you opt for the alternate blue dial version that comes on a matching stainless steel bracelet. The next most expensive INOX Chrono watches both come in at $1,100 USD, and this same price applies to both the carbon composite model and the titanium version that features a carbon bezel and a black rubber strap. Meanwhile, at the top end of the collection is the other titanium and carbon Victorinox INOX Chrono that comes as a set with both wood and rubber straps, and this variant is accompanied by an official retail price of $1,250 USD. Given that the standard three-handed quartz INOX in stainless steel starts out at $600 USD, the additional premium for the chronograph models seems fairly reasonable, and in much the way that Victorinox has expanded its three-handed offerings over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see additional variations of the INOX Chrono making an appearance at some point in the future. For more information on the Victorinox INOX Chrono, please visit the brand’s website.