From the moment Victorinox Swiss Army first debuted the durable I.N.O.X. watch collection back in 2014 I started to ask, “where is the mechanical version?” I wasn’t actually sure Victorinox Swiss Army would ever produce a mechanical version of the I.N.O.X. given the product’s promise of being able to survive 130 torture tests. Some of those include vibration and shock that quartz timepieces put up with better than mechanical ones. Still, today the quartz versions of the I.N.O.X. watches are the most durable but for 2018 Victorinox is adding the Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Mechanical to the larger I.N.O.X. collection with four new models (two straps between two dials).
How less durable are these automatic versions of the I.N.O.X. compared to the quartz ones? There isn’t a simple way to answer that but suffice it to say that if you feel your watch needs to put up with the most rigorous abuse, then a quartz movement is probably best suited for your needs. However, if you enjoy the aesthetic styling of the I.N.O.X. but want something a bit more business-minded, then the I.N.O.X. Mechanical is a great option.
On either a strap or bracelet the Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Mechanical watch costs well under $1,000 and contains a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement which operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. Victorinox Swiss Army amended the I.N.O.X. dial a bit to suggest a more formal presence. The most noteworthy new design element is the “Alox-style” dial pattern, which mimics the look of the brand’s metal-cased pocket knives. The I.N.O.X. Mechanical dial is otherwise relatively sober but also legible, offered in black or dark blue for 2018.
The 43mm wide steel case of the I.N.O.X. remains the same width for the I.N.O.X. Mechanical (and I believe it is about the same thickness as well). The case is still water-resistant to 200m with a screw-down crown, and has a triple AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial. Even though this is a closer-to-budget price for a mechanical watch, it would have been nice for Victorinox Swiss Army to use a slightly decorated version of the 2824 for a model such as the I.N.O.X. Mechanical.
An interesting new strap option at Victorinox Swiss Army for 2018 is produced with a real wood exterior. For people who want to embraced the “woodsy” person within this is certainly a novel look to experiment with. The brown wood strap is quite comfortable, though I am not sure how it will age. A bit more to my liking is the perhaps more conservative matching steel bracelet, which I feel has always complimented the I.N.O.X. nicely.
As Victorinox Swiss Army continues to flesh out the popular I.N.O.X. collection with more models, it is doing the brand a service by helping to promote a very strong product. At the same time it is unclear how consumers will react (if at all) to an I.N.O.X. that isn’t as durable as some other versions of the watch. With that said, I am willing to bet that only a small number of I.N.O.X. watch owners actually put their timepiece through serious activity. I also appreciate how Victorinox Swiss Army didn’t vastly increase the price of the I.N.O.X. watch for the mechanical model but rather only increased the price a few hundred dollars.
The I.N.O.X. Mechanical is a bit more modern and sleek than other similar mechanical Victorinox Swiss Army watches so I think it certainly has a place for itself in the market. The I.N.O.X. Mechanical references 241834 (blue) and 241836 (black) on the wood strap have a retail price of $795 USD while the reference 241835 (blue) and 241837 (black) on the matching steel bracelet have a retail price of $850 USD. swissarmy.com