The truly special thing about watches is that there is a watch for every wrist and each individual has slightly different tastes, needs, and expectations when it comes to what they expect to get from their watch. Some buyers, myself included, prefer to wear a dive watch regardless of the fact that it will likely never see more than twenty feet of water. Others prefer something more elegant and simple, a jewel of engineering to strap to their person and appreciate its craftsmanship, value and and lineage. In the past, many buyers who wanted features like alarms, lapping chronographs, world time, or countdown timers would need to relegate themselves to a digital multifunction that generally crams its multitude of features into a dizzying array of buttons. Luckily, manufactures like Tissot, Breitling and even Victorinox have come to the rescue by offering more intuitive user interfaces and less complicated styling. We previewed the Victorinox Chrono Classic XLS MT back in 2008 and even three years later we were thrilled when Victorinox said they would send us one to play with.

  • 45.5 x 11.5 mm
  • 55mm lug to lug
  • 23 mm lugs
  • Black ice PVD finish
  • Sapphire crystal with AR
  • Dual LCD display
  • Stainless steel bracelet with SEL
  • Alarm, chronograph, dual timezone, countdown timer, and day-date
  • 100m WR
  • ETA 988.333 quartz movement
  • $1195

The XLS MT attempts to be a jack of all trades in semi-formal attire. A multifunction that does away with slide rules, tachymeter bezels, and complicated displays. Instead, the XLS MT is a seemingly simple two hander that has dual lcd screens and has managed to integrate all of its features into a single crown based interface. Theoretically, none of the features on the XLS MT should be any harder to manipulate than setting the time and date on a regular 3-hander.

The most instantly noticeable design element of the XLS MT is its slightly recessed reverse lcd screens. The top display indicates what feature you are using and the lower display shows the reading for each respective feature. Switching between features is as easy as spinning the crown. With one quick twist you can cycle between date number, seconds, digital time (synced with the analog hands), countdown timer, dual timezone, chronograph, and alarm. The interface is exceedingly simple. Any of the features can be activated, cancelled or reset by pushing the crown in and if the feature is programmable (such as the duration of the countdown timer) the crown simply has to be pulled out one click and then turned in either direction to raise or lower the value (please see the included video). The XLS MT also have the option to disable the displays and for all intents and purposes the XLS MT is now in camouflage mode, blending in with all the other watches that only tell time.

The displays are crisp when interacting with direct light but due to their reverse style (gold/white text on a black background) you need a fair amount of light to read the displays. Viewing cannot be done with the ambient light from a television and it is a struggle to read the display via the light of a cellphone screen. The XLS has an excellent flat sapphire crystal which is coasted to reduce reflections and often disappears from view altogether. The dial on the XLS MT is very legible and is fitted with inlaid arabic numerals. The outer circle carries a matt finish like bright aluminum and the middle bridge between the two displays is an matte white almost like thick paper.

The case is large and rather flat, the visual size is not limited to the 45.5 mm width but is most dramatic in the 55 mm lug to lug measurement (end of one lug to the end of the one it faces on the the side of the case). The finish is excellent with smooth brushing and semi polished accents on the lugs that add a welcome touch of sophistication. The case and bracelet are nicely finished in what Victorinox calls “black ice pvd” but would more commonly be understood as gunmetal. The large size of the case was somewhat exaggerated as I could not achieve a close fit from the bracelet which features a butterfly clasp and no micro-adjustments. The bracelet has full and half links and due to the somewhat loose fit I came across an issue with the back of my hand hitting the crown and messing with the features. For example, if I were running the chronograph and went to reach for something with my left hand, the back of my hand hit the crown and paused the chronograph, rendering it quite ineffective. This is remedied by wearing the XLS MT a little higher up my wrist but could have been fixed if the XLS MT was fitted to a fold over deployment clasp with micro adjustments or if you have a differently sized wrist than mine.

In the past we the compared this model with the Breitling Aerospace and I will admit that they are very similar watches. They feature similar movements and the same screen position but share little else as far as design. The XLS MT is a much more modestly priced timepiece from a well trusted sports watch manufacturer. Personally, I do not care for the Breitling rider tabs but I would also like to see the XLS MT in either stainless steel or black PVD. There is not a lot of competition in this range and the XLS MT offers its many features in a user friendly and rather elegant package. The Chrono Classic XLS MT carries a list of $1195 which places it in competition with a small group including the higher end Tissot T-Touch Expert and some of the Citizen Attesa and Promaster models. I think the decision comes down to styling, the T-Touch is a bit more sporty and the Citizens are very busy and visually complicated. The Victorinox XLS MT gives you a great feature set wrapped in a more reserved aesthetic and accessible via a more streamlined and user-friendly interface which should make it an easier watch to wear while actually using all the features you paid for.

12 Comments

  1. I have to laugh at your statement about liking to wear divers watches “even though they’ll never see more than 20 feet of water”.  A couple of years ago I had returned a MarcelloC for adjustment and was told that the gasket was torn and they didn’t have another one,  and that because of that they couldn’t guaranty WR over 50 meters.  I said well 50 meters is about 150 feet, the only way it would see that depth is if it fell off my wrist on a cruise ship! I’ve got about 30 watches and I’d say 28 are divers (without lookin.g)

    Reply
    • I would like to dive at some point but would have so few opportunities to do so even if I had all the training. Nevertheless, I love a nice dive watch. 

      Reply
    • I would like to dive at some point but would have so few opportunities to do so even if I had all the training. Nevertheless, I love a nice dive watch. 

      Reply
    • Yes, BUT, 50 metres of WR equates to little more than being splash proof in the wild and sometimes weird world of watches. 50m in WR is great for washing the car but I wouldn’t take it swimming.

      Reply
  2. Great review James. This is kind of a funky looking watch, actually really like it on the wrist. I have been really impressed with Victorinox’s latest offerings.

    Reply
    • Glad you liked the review. We think the Victorinox represents great value and has a wide array of choices to fit a lot of styles. 

      Reply
      • James you are dead right when you say Victorinox watches represent great value. I just purchased a Victorinox Dive Master 500 in Gun Metal grey with the blue rubber strap 241425.  What an amazing watch. Tha quality is just awesome for the price 🙂

        Reply
  3. Great review, pictures and video. Very well done and thank you for the great read.
    I actually think I would like this watch more WITHOUT the digi screens to be honest. Nice size on this model also.
    Thanks again for the excellent post.
    James, Watch Freeks

    http://www.WatchFreeks.com

    Reply
  4. Very cool watch! Mine has already 2 years without any problem.
    This is a big, somewhat heavy watch but quite nice to wear and works fine altough i would be even better if it had a light since lume doesn´t last that long.I love it and recommend it! 🙂

    Reply
  5. I have a XLS MT with the dark dial for almost two weeks now and a dissapointing aspect of it is that the PVD coating wears off at the sharp edges of the links of the bracelet… (while i’m very careful with it) Does anybody share this experience with the XLS MT?

    Other than that, i’m very satisfied with it. The color/shine of the watch is a true eyecatcher.

    Reply
  6. I was wondering if this was the same model as shown on http://www.swissarmy.com/Timepieces/Pages/Product.aspx?category=chrono+classic&product=241301&

    Cause the color on the steel seems a bit darker in this review.

    Reply
  7. This is I`m going to give my husband in he`s B.- day next yrs:-) ..He going to be 40..:-)

    Reply

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