Given the sales success of the INOX (aka I.N.O.X.) watch collection, Victorinox Swiss Armyadded more models to the durable, decent-looking sport watch family for 2016. In addition to the slightly larger Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Professional Diver (hands-on here) and additional strap/bracelet options, the INOX now comes in a titanium versus steel case.
Let’s just get the irony out of the way first. What irony, you ask? Well in French, inox is used to refer to stainless steel (inoxydable). It makes sense for the watch collection that is otherwise produced out of grade 316L stainless steel, but is it just weird when they then release a titanium model in that same collection? Yes it is, but only for snobs like us who know that inox means steel. Though, that is easy to disregard for one of our favorite analog quartz sport watches that now benefits from a lighter case in a new sand-blasted finish.
Like the original INOX (aBlogtoWatch review here), the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium has a 43mm-wide case. If you recall, this is the watch for which Victorinox Swiss Army invested in dozens of stress tests. Overkill or not, the INOX watch collection is meant to stand up to a lot, including aging, shock, cold, heat, and extreme velocity. Steel handled the barrage of tests well, and I understand that the brand has now put the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium through the same testing (and it presumably passed).
Unlike the brushed and polished steel case of the standard INOX, Victorinox Swiss Army renders the titanium version in an all-sandblasted finishing. I have a feeling this is a grade 2 versus grade 5 form of titanium, which is actually interesting because the crisp angles and precise curves of the INOX-style case are done very well. The gray look of titanium compared to steel is also emphasized in the design. Moreover, the matte finishing of the case flows onto the dial making for a more sober, tool-style look to this lifestyle sports watch.
The dial design itself is unchanged from the standard INOX aside from the color options and finishes. You still have applied hour markers and hands richly painted in lume, as well as the sense of depth made available thanks to the sloped flange ring. This is really one of best-looking quartz sport watches at this price point, in my opinion.
Once again, this matte Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium is water resistant to 200 meters, and over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. Victorinox Swiss Army offers the INOX Titanium in three versions that come on different color straps. The models also have ticking seconds hands that match the strap color – which, theoretically, makes it tough to swap out straps as easily. With that said, these are an off-sized 21mm-wide strap, and offered in a high-quality rubber that lends itself well to a comfortable wearing experience. The three color options are (reference 241759) blue strap with blue seconds hand, (241758) orange strap with orange seconds hand, and (241757) gray strap with red seconds hand. To be honest, they are all nice, even though I think the gray with blue INOX titanium model will do the best.
Inside the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium watches are the same Swiss Ronda caliber 715 quartz movement that offers the time and date. I really liked the steel INOX, but in titanium you get a different way of appreciating the well-designed case with its crisp angles and cool-looking crown guard size and shape.
While the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium is more expensive than the steel model (by $100) it isn’t per se a better watch, merely different. Titanium is going to be stronger and – more importantly – lighter, but the style difference between this matte sand-blasted finish and the polished/brushed look of the steel one is really a matter of personal preference. It merely adds yet another way of wearing the INOX.
I think the real point here is that Victorinox Swiss Army is trying to create even more ways of broadening the appeal of the INOX to new customers. Moreover, I wonder how many people who like one of these colors will get an INOX who have been holding off before. I am further curious as to who is going to get one of these Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models who already owns one of the steel “true” INOX watches. Oh, and one thing I don’t know is whether the brand will offer the same plastic case protectors or something different with these Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models.
One again, Victorinox Swiss Army has affirmed the solid value proposition and design appeal of its uber-tough and still sexy INOX collection, while at the same time showing fans that it can continue to expand on a good thing. With that noted, I’d like to see more variation in the collection aside from new colors and case materials. The INOX Professional Diver was a nice tweak to the original design, and I hope they continue to play with the core look and see how much adaptation the INOX collection can endure while still retaining the design DNA that makes it both an INOX and a Victorinox Swiss Army timepiece. Retail price for each of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models is $595.