In March 2014, aBlogtoWatch gave away a Victorinox Swiss Army Officer’s Day/Date Mechanical watch. The winner was Lee M. from San Francisco, CA… and this is his watch winner review of the timepiece.
If I’m honest, Victorinox Swiss Army had fallen off my radar until recently. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Swiss Army watches: they are well made, dependable watches with nice feature sets at very reasonable prices. The problem was that I didn’t find them particularly exciting. They were maybe too plain, or too conservative with some models; in other models the cases were huge, and the fonts were chunky. I thought they looked good on other people, but never looked right on my wrist.
A few years ago, Victorinox did a bit of re-branding and came out with a number of very handsome mechanical watches. Still conservative, yes, but really well-finished, and not as utilitarian as some of their quartz offerings from before. When I found out I had won the Officer’s Day/Date Mechanical, I was truly excited. Not only would it be a new experience with an unfamiliar brand, but the watch would actually fill a need in my small collection–something sporty-ish that can blend in if I have to throw the suit on. I’ve had the watch for a couple weeks now, wearing it and testing it in different situations, and I must say–in spite of some issues with it early on–that I absolutely love this watch.
Victorinox has done an excellent job with this watch. But it didn’t hit me right away. The deployant clasp squeaks. The styling, while attractive, is very conservative. The blued steel seconds hand can be invisible against the dark dial. The rounded baton style hands are, well, kind of boring. But I loved the military-inspired cues. The fitted leather strap is fantastic. There is a full “3″ at 3 o’clock–not chopped or removed by the date–and the AR coating on the sapphire is so good that the crystal disappears from many angles. The watch really grew on me, and fast. I had worn the watch for a week straight, in all the different lighting and weather conditions that April in San Francisco affords, and it was always comfortable, and always legible. And then it hit me: that’s the point!
All of my qualms about the watch came from looking at certain design decisions individually. As a whole, the watch works beautifully. The brushed case meets a polished bezel, and the shape is classic Swiss Army. The inner circle on the dial has the same Alox texture as some of the Swiss Army knives. It is conservative without being dull. It’s elegant without being too pretty, or too flashy. I have found that I can wear it anywhere. This watch isn’t haute horology and it isn’t trying to be. It’s not pretending to be anything. It is simply a well-designed watch. It takes all the most practical elements of timekeeping and puts them into a classic, 40mm case. I’m not the kind of guy that cares about who’s wearing dive watches with suits, or dress watches with swimwear; but if the elusive all-situations watch really does exist, this one could be it. In short, if you’re on the fence about this watch, don’t be. Get one.
The Officer’s Day/Date Mechanical is a heck of a watch. At around $800 (or less, if you look around) it’s in a pretty competitive price point, but I’d imagine it blows most of the competition out of the water. This is a well-made, well-finished, classic, dependable watch. Nothing gimmicky. It just works. It may not be the most interesting watch in the world, but it’s incredibly practical and plenty good looking. It’s really grown to be a favorite in my collection. A million thanks to Victorinox and aBlogtoWatch for this beautiful piece. I couldn’t be happier.