A Week on the Wrist – Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic

Victorinox I.N.O.X review

The new Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic adds a self-winding movement to a popular case design. We tried out the blue dialled model to see what the fuss is all about.

A Week on the Wrist – Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic

It’s not often that I show a watch I am reviewing to my horological friends and get a universal thumbs up. This honour goes to the new Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic, which was unanimously well-received by everyone I showed it to. It’s £689 Swiss Automatic from a brand that also brings you chefs knives and Swiss Army Knives.

Victorinox watches compete in the same space (which I refuse to call “affordable luxury”) as Hamilton and Longines. They offer the kind of quality you expect from a Swiss watch at a price point above the microbrands. I see brands like this as a great first step onto the luxury ladder as they tend to have more residual resale value than lesser known brands if you do ever decide to move your watch on.

The Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic comes in the kind of packaging you would expect for a high-street watch over £500 with a lovely padded display box and comprehensive documentation. The cushion fits more firmly into its slot than most watch boxes I’ve handled, so it is well protected in transit if you choose to buy online. The watch is supplied with a “bezel protector” which is, frankly, a little ridiculous looking. I thought it was a transit protector like you get with Panerai watches but a bit of research suggests that Victorinox think people will actually wear the watch like this. It would be staying in the box if this were my watch and not a review loaner!

Case

The Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic has a deceptive case. It’s 42mm but feels bigger thanks to the large hexagonal bevelled bezel. It is an interesting shape which catches the light well, but I found the expanse of metal a bit much. I’d have preferred a diver’s bezel or some other markings to break it up. The case is also thicker than I expected for a watch with an ETA 2824 movement. The large crown guards add to the bulk and the whole case feels as well-built as a tank. We have sapphire crystals front and back. The crown is quite tricky to unscrew thanks to those large crown guards, which I think belies the watch’s quartz origins. You are going to be handling the crown more often with an automatic timepiece so it’s shame that it is a bit fiddly to set the time and date.

On the wrist, the watch is a revelation. My concerns about the size immediately vanished. The Victorinox I.N.O.X automatic hugs the wrist and is really well balanced. I switched to it from my TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m (a relatively thin deep diver’s watch) and found within seconds that I had adapted to the slightly different feel and it was just as comfortable.

Dial and Hands

The dial on the I.N.O.X. Automatic is sublime. It is deep, with a steep chapter ring and applied hour markers that give it a real three-dimensional feel. Topping it all when you zoom in on the dial is the texture – the whole dial is made up of tiny square-based pyramids. It catches the light beautifully and really adds a sense of depth to the watch.

I chose to review the blue watch rather than the black – which I expect to be more popular – and couldn’t keep my eyes off the dial! The date is at 4.30, and properly centred between the markers and the simple wedge shaped hands make it extremely legible.

Bracelet and Clasp

The bracelet of the Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic was the only area that slightly disappointed me. It is certainly well-made and feels as smooth as silk with none of the grittiness that you sometimes find on lower-end solid link bracelets. The two areas that I would like to see improved are the removable links and the clasp. On the plus side, the removable links are half-width, which makes it relatively easy to get the watch perfectly sized. However, they are fitted with simple friction pins rather than screws. When I sized the bracelet, the pins would pop out of either side of the watch which makes me worried that they will not last up as well to many years of wear. Screws also have their downsides, of course, and can work their way loose, so I am sure as many people will be pleased to see push pins instead!

The clasp is very similar to the catalogue clasps used by a lot of microbrands with a secondary locking mechanism that clips over the top. I found it very stiff to operate and whilst the watch certainly won’t pop off your wrist it stood out compared to the smoothness of every other mechanical part.

Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic Video Review

https://youtu.be/R6uCNZkFzkY

What I Liked

  • Build quality is superb, as you would expect from a Swiss manufacturer
  • The dial is stunning, especially in the blue colour
  • Value for money is excellent – especially for a high-street brand

What I Didn’t Like

  • I would have liked to have seen more secure pins or screws in the removable bracelet links
  • The clasp is a bit stiff and stands out compared to the rest of the watch and bracelet
  • The wide bezel will put some buyers off – I’d have liked it a little narrower or with an option for a diver’s bezel or some other markings so it does not throw off the balance.

Victorinox I.N.O.X. Automatic – The WRUK Verdict

I’ll be honest: Victorinox has passed me by. I thought they were a quartz high-street brand but I am pleased to admit that I’m now a convert. After handling microbrands in the same price range, the Victorinox watch stood out for me as both comparable in price and with the benefits of high build quality and the backing of a manufacturer that you can be confident will still be around to service the watch in the future. For the £689 asking price, I think it is a steal. Recommended.

Buy a Victorinox Watch

Victorinox watches are available on the high street but you often find the best deals online. You can buy direct from the Victorinox website, or from resellers such as Watch Shop or The Watch Hut.

Author: Mike Richmond

Usually found skulking around eBay or the International Watch League forum, Mike writes for a living and spends what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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