Is it Victorinox or Swiss Army?
It’s both, as in “Victorinox Swiss Army”. But what is the origin of the name? Let’s take a look at some stainless steel-history for clues.
The History of Victorinox
In 1884, Karl Elsener I opened a knife cutler’s workshop and 7 years later, in 1891, he delivered the first major supply of soldier’s knives to the Swiss Army. The original knife wes patented and that is the knife we now call the “Swiss Army Knife”.
The mother of Karl Elsener I was Victoria, who actively supported him in his endeavors from the very beginning.
The introduction of stainless steel (“Inox” in French) to the cutlery business was obviously a game-changer. The words “Inox” and “Victoria” are neatly combined to form today’s brand name, Victorinox.
Over the next several decades, Karl Elsener II took over Victorinox and introduced automation – an all-electric hardening plant – to guarantee consistent high quality for all knives.
The popularity of Victorinox knives only grew when US soldiers stationed in Europe after World War II started to buy them in bigger quantities and they became very popular souvenirs.
In 1977, The Original Swiss Army Knife was featured in a design show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Transition Into Watchmaking
In 1989, Victorinox joined the watch market in the United States under the brand name “Swiss Army”. They didn’t make timepieces for countries other than the United States at first.
This wasn’t so much to wow someone from the United States as it was to test the market, and they didn’t really want people to notice that the watches were created by the same business that made all of these survival equipment in Switzerland. As a result, they “tried the waters” by making timepieces that were sold in the United States under a different brand. The endeavor proved to be a resounding success, and the rest is history.
All Victorinox timepieces are now manufactured in Switzerland.
Swiss Army and Wenger
I’m sure several readers are familiar with the brand Wenger as well and always had a feeling the two brands might be connected somehow. Well, you’re absolutely right.
Victorinox was not the Swiss Army’s only supplier of knives. Another contractor, Wenger, was also involved. Victorinox and Wenger agreed to call the knives “original Swiss Army” and “authentic Swiss Army” respectively.
As Wenger entered the watchmaking scene as well, the stage was set for long term cooperation, and in 2005, Victorinox acquired Wenger, although the “Wenger” division continues to operate autonomously.
The Quality of Victorinox Swiss Army Watches
All Victorinox watches are Swiss-made, which means the movements were built and verified in Switzerland, and at least 60% of the production expenses were incurred in the country.
Regardless of the manufacturing location, the brand ensures that its goods satisfy the highest requirements in all areas and that quality is never compromised.
Victorinox’s watch cases are made of heat-resistant carbon, 316L stainless steel, and lightweight titanium.
Victorinox Watch Movements
The Swiss origin watch mechanism is one of the criteria for watches to be labeled as Swiss Made. As a result, you’ll primarily discover quartz and mechanical movements made by ETA, one of the world’s major movement makers.
For the bulk of its watchmaking history, Victorinox has relied on quartz movements. However, in recent years, the company has placed a greater focus on mechanical movements in order to meet the need for automated wristwear.
The Mechanical Movements:
The Caliber ETA 2824-2 with a higher frequency of 28,800 vph, the Sellita SW200 with a power gauge of 38 hours, and the ETA Valjoux 7750 with a power reserve of 48 hours are all used in Victorinox mechanical watches.
Victorinox Brand Reputation
Victorinox is a well-known and well-respected company. The brand creates long-lasting Swiss Made watches with unique military-inspired designs that are ideal for individuals looking for a high-quality wristwatch at a reasonable price.
These watches don’t have any flashy features or luxury materials, and they don’t try to be something they aren’t. They are functional timepieces, made to last in both design and quality.
Victorinox is typically regarded as a good entry-level Swiss watch due to their pricing points. However, don’t be fooled by the word “entry-level” — it has nothing to do with quality. Because of the ideal combination of excellent quality and reasonable prices, Victorinox is among the most popular watchmakers and is sure to maintain that spot for a long time.
Takeaway: Are Victorinox Watches Good Quality Timepieces? Are They Worth the Money?
For the majority of watchmakers, the number of years they’ve been in business determines their quality standards. Most well-known watch companies have been operating for more than a century (think Rolex, Tissot, Tag Heuer).
While Victorinox has been around for more than a hundred years as well, their 30 years of watchmaking may not appear to be sufficient for them to be considered on par with the previously listed companies.
However, you can’t overlook the indicators of real quality when you examine the robust materials, Swiss-origin quartz and automatic calibers, and the tight association with the Swiss military.
The manufacturing of robust Swiss knives, on the other hand, has been a strong foundation for delivering the same quality levels in its wristwear for more than a century.
Our verdict: Victorinox Swiss Army timepieces are high-quality, durable watches.
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Editor's Current Victorinox Favorite:
Victorinox Journey 1884
True explorers react to changes in topography and weather, spotting possible issues before they occur. This pioneering attitude is embodied by the Victorinox Journey 1884 Automatic with the reliable Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. Its antimagnetic protection shields against electropollution-induced inaccuracies. This, together with its built-in shock resistance and high-quality rubber strap for adaptable, comfortable wear, making it a great companion.
Read more in our in-depth Victorinox Journey 1884 review.
Buying Guide: Victorinox Collections
The series has established itself as the brand’s flagship in terms of providing the most dependable wristwatches for harsh circumstances, with both quartz and automatic movements.
Read our in-depth Victorinox I.N.O.X. Collection review.
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver
The I.N.O.X. Professional Diver’s watches are ISO-certified to a depth of 200 meters (660 feet) and include Super-LumiNova technology for easy viewing in low light. The correct fit over a diving suit is ensured by a folding buckle with an extension element.
Victorinox INOX Titanium
I.N.O.X. Titanium watches are light and have a matte finish, whilst I.N.O.X. Carbon watches have a space-tested carbon casing that is scratch-resistant. These two watches, like the rest of the I.N.O.X. line, have passed Victorinox’s 130 unique resistance tests.
A chronograph function, automatic movement, and analog quartz mechanism are available in the Alliance line, which is suited for both formal and sporty situations.
Read our in-depth Victorinox Alliance Collection review.
Victorinox Alliance Chronograph
Alliance Sport Chronograph watches have a stopwatch and a tachymeter for measuring time, speed, and distance. Metal, real rubber, and leather straps are available, catering to a variety of tastes.
Victorinox Alliance Mechanical
Alliance Mechanical watches are suitable for formal wear, with opulent appearances at reasonable costs. The complex mechanism, which consists of over a hundred small components, is visible through the see-through case back.
This series combines a polished look with maximum practicality. The sporty line’s robust stainless steel casing, Swiss quartz movement, and sapphire crystal offer it an attractive aesthetic that’s appropriate for people who live an active lifestyle as well as those who spend the bulk of their time inside.
The dive-inspired timepieces have a unidirectional bezel, and some of the wristwear has a chronograph function as well as a tachymeter. Metal, leather, and real rubber straps are available.
Read our in-depth Victorinox Maverick Collection review.
The Airboss series is the most expensive in the Victorinox product range, due to the watches’ mechanical movements.
The bulk of pilot watches, including these aviation timepieces, have a big face. The key elements of the bezel, slide rule, and military time are all there to assist pilots in the event of an emergency. The automatic movement can be seen via the display case back, and the luminous indices make reading in the dark a breeze.
Read our in-depth Victorinox Airboss Collection review.
The FieldForce Collection, which combines classic design with a gear-shifting display technology, is a unique force. Bold, unmistakable numbers and generously proportioned hands coupled with Super-LumiNova® for 24-hour, day-and-night clarity make it easy to read. While some models provide great multifunctionality with chronograph and tachymeter features, others incorporate a GMT function that maintains track of two time zones. Every FieldForce item has a self-assured, vintage aesthetic that pays homage to its illustrious Swiss Army Knife legacy.
Read our in-depth Victorinox FieldForce Collection review.