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Shopping & Victorinox Swiss Army Brand Review


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Victorinox – Relentlessly Robust Quality Watches

History, Mission, Manufacture, Movements, Reputation, Ranking & Pricing

Victorinox Brand Review By Alexander – Founder and Owner of swissdiverswatches.com


A Review of Victorinox’s history

Victorinox Swiss Army(Image By annca)

Victorinox was founded by Karl Elsener in 1884, in the city of Ibach, in the Canton of Schwyz, in Switzerland. The brand is an independent family owned company.

The original commercial idea of Victorinox was to manufacture high quality pocket knives for the Swiss army. It wasn’t until 1989, that Victorinox launched its first watches.

The name “Victorinox” was derived from Karl Elsener’s mother’s name – Victoria, and the French word for stainless steel – “inox”. So “Victoria” + “inox” became Victorinox.

In 1884, Karl Elsener opened his cutler’s business in the city of Ibach, in the Canton of Schwyz, in Switzerland. Previously, he was a journeyman in Paris and in the southern German town of Tuttlingen.

In 1891, Victorinox started its great tradition of supplying the Swiss Army with Victorinox soldier’s knives.

In 1897, the Swiss company patented the Swiss Officer’s Knife and the Sports Knife.

In 1909, the Swiss manufacturer established its company symbol or logo – the famous Swiss cross on a shield.

In 1909, Karl Elsener’s mother Victoria, died, and he decided to name his company after her. In 1909, the brand became known as Victoria.

In 1921, the brand got its famous name – Victorinox. In 1921, stainless steel or “inox” was invented. Karl Elsener combined “inox” with “Victoria” and thusly the name Victorinox was officially born.

In 1945, after World War 2, stores and shops of the US Army, Marines and Air Force, started to sell a considerable amount of the Swiss Officer’s Knives. The American soldiers called it “Swiss Army Knife”. From this year on, the whole English-speaking world adopted this term.

In 1980, Victorinox greatly expanded as a company: there was a dramatic increase in manufacturing, storage and office space.

In 1989, the company launched for the first time Victorinox/Swiss Army watches in the USA. From this year and onwards, Victorinox has been associated not only with manufacturing high quality pocket knives, but also affordable high quality Swiss watches, of exceptional accuracy, reliability and shock resistance.

In 1992, the manufacturer opened a subsidiary in Japan and during the 1990s, Victorinox opened additional subsidiaries in Chile, Vietnam, Poland, Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong.

In 1999, the brand launched its travel gear products.

In 2001, Victorinox launched a business and leisure clothing collection specifically for the American and Canadian market.

In 2005, Victorinox purchased its famous competitor called Wenger SA. Wenger too was a famous supplier to the Swiss Army. By purchasing their competitor, Victorinox strengthened its position as the supplier of the Swiss Army. Even today as we speak, some Victorinox watches carry the name “Wenger” on their dials.

In 2006, the Swiss company moved its manufacture to Porrentruy.

In 2007, the company officially established the Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance AG which offers fragrances and perfumes.

In 2008, Victorinox opened its first European flagship store in London.

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A Review of Victorinox’s mission

Victorinox’s mission is to offer you affordable, practical, reliable, accurate, elegant, robust and versatile Swiss quality watches that can be used for any, and every occasion.

Victorinox isn’t a watchmaker in the ordinary sense, since the original idea of the brand was to make pocket knives for the Swiss army.

Today, Victorinox offers a plethora of products: Swiss watches, Swiss Army Knives, fragrances, clothing, travel gear and kitchen knives.

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A Review of Victorinox’s manufacture

Victorinox is a 100% independent family owned company.

According to the manufacturer’s philosophy, Victorinox watches must go through the very same demanding and exacting high quality manufacturing methods, and quality controls, that are employed to manufacture the brand’s world famous Swiss Army Knife.

The highest level of engineering is being used when manufacturing Victorinox watches, and their watches are known to be extremely shock resistant and extremely accurate – the accuracy is equivalent to a fraction of a second!

Besides the accuracy, Victorinox watches are known for their rugged quality, reliability, durability and affordability.

Victorinox isn’t a watchmaker in the ordinary sense since the original idea of the Victorinox brand was to offer high quality pocket knives for the Swiss army, while today, the company offers a plethora of products: Swiss Army Knives, Swiss watches, fragrances, clothing, travel gear and kitchen knives.

What characterizes Victorinox’s manufacture of their highly coveted quality products is that they use meticulous, exacting and demanding quality controls and quality inspections.

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A Review of Victorinox’s movements

Victorinox Back Case(Image By Xyox Steffen Mueller/Victorinox)

When I review Swiss wristwatch brands, I usually make a list of all the relevant collections within the brand and the technical specifics of the movements. Since almost all Victorinox watches are quartz/battery driven, I’ll use a slightly different approach:

  • Almost all Victorinox watches, with few exceptions, utilize Swiss quartz/battery movements – either Ronda or ETA movements, and in very rare cases, generic Swiss automatic ETA movements such as 2824-2 and Valjoux 7750, and higher end ETA movements such as ETA 2892.A2.

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A Review of Victorinox’s reputation

The Swiss army is famous for wearing Victorinox watches in their service. Victorinox is first and foremost famous for its legendary Swiss Army Knife.

Victorinox was founded by Karl Elsener in 1884, and the original idea of the brand was to manufacture high quality pocket knives for the Swiss army. It wasn’t until 1989 that Victorinox/Swiss Army launched their Victorinox watches.

Victorinox makes excellent, robust, high quality, lower end luxury watches, or beater watches – true, but Victorinox is first and foremost famous for its legendary Swiss Army Knife.

Victorinox is available at retailers across the globe, and offers not only Swiss watches and Swiss Army Knives, but also clothing, travel gear, fragrances and kitchen knives.

As far as ranking is concerned, I’d say Victorinox belongs to the top 30-40 brands of the world.

Victorinox is the prime example of affordable and extremely robust Swiss quality watches. This brand offers you a reliable companion for life which you can use for any and every occasion.

Victorinox watches are characterized by the fact that they are:

  • Very affordable.
  • Very reliable and extremely accurate! The accuracy is equivalent to a fraction of a second!
  • Extremely robust! These watches can absolutely be used for the most demanding and exacting situations you can think of!
  • Sporty looking.
  • Very versatile – can be used for any occasion – on the summit of a mountain, in the desert, in the forest, in the board room, at the beach, under the sea, and at festivities, parties and ceremonies.
  • Classy, elegant and simple. These are elegant tool watches.
  • Usually very compact and small.

Victorinox doesn’t make any movement complications and rarely offers any automatic movements.

On the other hand, Victorinox offers almost exclusively highly accurate quartz/battery driven watches, and the brand can offer you several chronographs, divers watches and military watches.

What is the purpose to Victorinox watches?

To offer simple, elegant, classy tool watches – reliable companions for life. Victorinox watches are known to be very durable. Victorinox isn’t about technical virtuosity, higher watchmaking or aesthetically appealing decorations. Victorinox offers you the bare essentials in a practical and super robust watch. Victorinox is about practicality, usability and reliability – that’s what it’s built for.

What are Victorinox watches primarily associated with?

  • The Swiss Army.
  • Diving.
  • Mountaineering.
  • The outback.
  • Being shock resistant to the extreme!
  • Being able to resist very high and very low temperatures!

Since Victorinox is first and foremost famous for its legendary Swiss Army Knife, you’ll find instances where a Swiss Army Knife will accompany your Victorinox watch in the watch box. Not always – it depends on the model really. If you have always wanted a Swiss Army Knife and a reliable robust high quality Swiss watch – this is it – that’s the brand you should take a look at!

If you’re opting for the more expensive Victorinox models, they might in fact be comparable to Tissot, Certina, Longines or TAG Heuer. The reason I say that is because the higher end Victorinox watches use similar Swiss automatic ETA movements: the ETA 2824-2, and the Valjoux 7750.

If you’re opting for the more affordable Victorinox models: You could use the lower end Victorinox watches as beater watches. You see if you are interested in intermediate Swiss luxury brands, such as Oris, Alpina, Longines and TAG Heuer, or higher end brands such as Rolex, Omega or IWC, you probably should have a beater watch in your collection such as Victorinox – just to make sure that you won’t ruin your favorite luxury timepiece.

As a lower end luxury watch and beater watch, you can’t go wrong with Victorinox!

If you are considering a higher end brand, I strongly recommend you to add a Swiss beater watch such as Victorinox to your collection, because even if you’ll ruin your Victorinox, you can still keep your expensive timepiece safe and out of harm’s way. A Victorinox is easily replacable, while Rolex, Omega and Breitling, for example, aren’t.

You probably won’t get too upset if you’ll ruin a $200-$400 Victorinox, but I guess you would get upset if you would ruin say a $5,000-$7,000 Omega, or a $7,000-$10,000 Rolex.

Independently of which Victorinox watch you opt for, and independently of the price range: as a reliable life companion on your wrist, you simply can’t go wrong with Victorinox!

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A Review of Victorinox’s ranking

My ranking of Victorinox: top 30-40 brands.

It’s debatable how you actually rank a brand, and a ranking is never objective, but the best way to turn a subjective ranking into an “objective” one is to rely on certain criteria. My ranking criteria of course are entirely subjective, and they aren’t set in stone.

I use 14 criteria in determining the ranking of a particular brand, such as (1) a long and respected history, (2) limited supply and large demand, (3) reputation/status/prestige, (4) whether the brand is independent or not, (5) pioneering spirit and innovations, (6) impact on watchmaking history and modern culture, (7) general in-house production, (8) whether the brand relies on in-house made movements or not, (9) whether or not the brand makes movement complications, (10) steel grade, (11) build quality, (12) price range, (13) good resale value, and (14) market presence.

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Prices for Victorinox Watches

Victorinox offers affordable, and robust high quality Swiss watches. You could potentially consider them to be lower end luxury watches or beater watches – or a combination of the two.


Victorinox Swiss Army

(Image By annca)


Victorinox Official Website


 

 

2 thoughts on “Buy a Victorinox Swiss Army watch

  1. Martin

    Hello Alexander!
    This is truly a great article on Victorinox! This is much appreciated! How do you think Victorinox as a brand compares to Tissot and Certina?

    Sincerely
    Martin

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Martin and a very warm welcome to swissdiverswatches.com.
      Victorinox as a brand does not have the same history of watchmaking as Tissot and Certina. Tissot and Certina have been making quality watches since the 1800s, while Victorinox is first and foremost famous for having been a manufacturer of quality military knives of stainless steel since the 1800s. Victorinox started making their watches as recently as in 1989.

      The watches themselves on the other hand, are comparable in build quality to Certina and Tissot and employ similar generic ETA and Ronda movements.

      Cheers
      Alexander

      Reply

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