Pleasant surprises were waiting for the aBlogtoWatch team when we visited Victorinox Swiss Army at Baselworld 2019. In addition to the attractive and value-laden new Alliance Mechanical watch collection featured in this article, we also learned about how the brand is redefining itself in some key ways that will, no doubt, prove appealing to our audience. It will take a few years for the next generation of Victorinox Swiss Army watches and other products to be released, but what we hear sounds very promising. A focus on quality, design, and value is a general theme at the brand, and I feel that the new Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Mechanical timepiece collection is a good demonstration of what is to come.
The Alliance Mechanical comes in a few styles for 2019, on either a steel bracelet or leather strap. Dial choices for now include blue, white, or a two-tone white with gold-toned hands and hour markers. Dressy but not formal, per se, the Alliance Mechanical is an elegant men’s watch that is mature in theme with attention to details in terms of both finishing and materials, as well as overall horological design. In other words, it is a mature adult watch that can pair with a suit as well as with jeans.
What I found particularly appealing about the watch was the strongly legible (as well as symmetrically designed) dial that makes correct use out of proportions, as well as surface finishes. Victorinox Swiss Army adeptly combines polished hands and hour markers with a matte “powder-” textured dial, allowing for the glossiness of polished surfaces but that also maintain strong visual contrast that facilitates comfortable legibility. This is perhaps less so for the case on the blue dial, but the white-colored dials (both of them) are easily the winners of the family. Victorinox Swiss Army needed to make a decision about what colors to produce and what strap colors to pair with the dial choices, given that they can’t release unlimited SKUs. I do, however, think certain mixtures are missing from the collection (such as a non-two-tone white dial and bracelet combination) and that there should be more ways for customers to pick and choose their dial/bracelet/strap choice combinations.
Victorinox Swiss Army was quick to point out the good value proposition inherent in the Alliance Mechanical collection — and I heartily agree. That said, Victorinox Swiss Army has always been a brand that offers a lot of watch for the money, especially when compared to so much of the competition. Case, dial, and bracelet quality for the 2019 Alliance Mechanical collection are much improved over the brand’s recent generation of dressier watches, as Victorinox Swiss Army had seemingly put most of its emphasis on sport watches. In the Alliance Mechanical, we see a new level of attention put into a product category (mature men’s watches) that has been missing from the brand for a while now.
It is difficult to put a precise measure on overall quality, but I can say that the fit and finishing of the case and bracelet are easily on par with watches double, triple, or even quadruple the price. A good place to feel this is in the bracelet, which has very tight tolerances between the links, or when viewing the high-quality polishing on the case.
Another good example of value is the movement chosen to power the Alliance Mechanical collection. Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2892 automatic, which is also used in watches costing sometimes up to $5000. The 2892 is a relatively thin movement and is among the better mechanisms produced by ETA. Victorinox Swiss Army believes that the 2019 Alliance Mechanical collection is the second-most affordable wrist watch next to a Swatch Group brand product — which is impressive, given that ETA is owned by the Swatch Group, meaning that they likely get priority pricing from the popular Swiss watch-movement factory.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Mechanical case is 40mm-wide and water resistant to 100 meters in a polished steel case. Over the dial is a triple-coated sapphire crystal that offers excellent glare-free visibility. My apologies for not having taken a picture of the caseback, but it has an exhibition window with a view of the automatic movement, something I feel is an important feature for the target demographic of this watch.
My favorite version of the Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Mechanical is the ref. 241874, which is the steel with yell0w gold-tone on the bracelet. My second choice would be the 241871 with the white dial on the black leather strap. These products are ideal for budget-minded watch-lovers, those just entering watch collecting, as pretty nice gifts, as well as for those who need a handsome “suit watch” that doesn’t scream for the wrong type of “look at me” attention. The other new-for-2019 models include the Alliance Mechanical ref. 241869 with a black dial and black leather strap, the 241870 with a blue dial and brown leather strap, and finally the 241872 with a blue dial and steel bracelet. Price is quite reasonable with the Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Mechanical priced at 595 Swiss Francs on the leather strap, 645 Swiss Francs on the single-tone steel bracelet, and 695 Swiss Francs in the two-tone color variant. Learn more at the Victorinox website here.