If the Inox with its more utilitarian design and rubber bezel cover is not really your thing, Swiss Army has now released a watch that while not as hard-use as its predecessor, is still tough enough to take on most adventures. Yes, enter the Victorinox Journey 1884, a new watch from the famous Swiss Brand, which can act as a dive watch, a field watch, and just your everyday, do-anything type of watch. Available with either a quartz or automatic movement and quite a few colors and options, this new model starts at $650. The one I have here is the all-black DLC on rubber strap, which is only available with the Ronda quartz movement and rubber strap, but it is my favorite of all currently offered.
The Victorinox Journey 1884 is a handsome watch in my opinion, with this angled style case, unique bezel, and the size at 43 x 54mm is not small, but creates an appealing look in the case design, even though the size will definitely be too big for some watch enthusiasts. The case design seems new as well, something we haven’t really seen from Victorinox before, or any other brand for that matter. The case walls are thick but do taper, and with a thin but easy-to-grip bezel atop it, this watch may be on the larger side but is still only 12mm thick, which means it’s easy to wear with long sleeves or coats. All the features you would expect for a rugged style watch are here like 200m water resistance, sapphire crystal, and a screw-down crown with crown guards. One oddity though is the engravings on the case and bezel, such as stainless steel on the left side, the water resistance on the edge of the bezel, and 1884 at the 30 marker of the bezel. 1884 is the year Victorinox was founded, and I don’t mind the nod to the past, but I don’t love the placement on a bezel meant to be used for timing.
The dial is a little more of a mixed bag though. At first glance, it’s fairly straightforward but then as look it over more, the hour and minute hand are kind of an odd shape, and there are a few other oddities that while some might find cool or kitschy, I find them to be more of a gimmick. The hands of the Victorinox Journey 1884, are skeletonized and actually have square ends, and between the open design and the way they are filled in, I am not exactly a fan. Apparently, this to mimic signs on Swiss hiking trails, and also creates an opening to see the 24-hour scale in the center of the dial, even though the 24-hour scale isn’t fully indexed.
Below that the word date is used to inform one that the number that changes daily is a date window. Are we so spoiled because of smartwatches and smartphones we now need to be told what a date wheel is? I joke (kind of), and this is not the first watch to do this, but it is something I will never understand. The rest of the dial is very well done with a combination of a road or trail texture and more of a matte texture in the center, with almost 3D-looking applied markers. Note that automatic versions do have a more elaborate dial texture that some may find more appealing.
On the case back you will find it is a fairly simple etched solid steel case back, and some nice artwork of a Swiss Army knife. Note on the automatic version, there is an exhibition case back to see the SW200 automatic movement, but inside this model here is the Ronda 715 quartz, with a 5-year battery and ISO-certified shock and water resistance. It is also anti-magnetic, something that I feel is more of a bonus with an automatic over quartz, but either way, this is a nicely specced watch that gives one piece of mind if they were actually to go on some rugged adventures with this piece.
This piece is equipped with a ribbed dive watch style strap and simple buckle, but I have to say, I really like the look and feel of this rubber strap. It feels like a natural rubber to me, or at least one of the newer compounds used in rubber strap production, and it not only looks good but is very comfortable. On the back, you’ll find some red ribbed inserts, and I am not sure exactly of their purpose, but it does make the strap even more comfortable on the wrist, though they do catch a lot of dirt, so be prepared to clean this strap often. Lugs are 21mm, something that Victorinox is known to do, and finding a replacement strap that is not branded Victorinox may prove difficult. That said, the strap is easily removable with quick-release spring pins.
As I stated earlier, the Victorinox Journey 1884 is not a small watch. Now with a lot of brands putting out sub 40mm models, this 43mm watch with a long 54mm length will be welcome to those with a big wrist. I think it’s good that Victorinox is embracing those with larger wrists or those who still like a bigger watch but I will say this is at my limit in terms of length of the case. Combined with a lug area that extends, this pretty much goes end to end on my 7 1/2 inch (19.5cm wrist), yet I still do find it comfortable to wear.
Another area I find to be average or even below average is the lume. I have found over the years that lume is not a strong point of Victorinox watches unless we go back to old Divemaster models. This Victorinox Journey 1884 uses C3 lume, and even the shield logo is lumed up, but with those large indices and numerals, I would have expected the lume to be torch bright and last a long time, and that is not the case here.
Overall, I very much like the design of the Victorinox Journey 1884 but I think the dial could be less gimmicky and the case and bezel can do without the engravings. As far as the size, as I said, I don’t mind, but yeah if you have a smaller wrist than mine, this is going to be a very large size. With this collection being available for just about a year now, I am not sure if we will see smaller sizes soon, but hopefully, they will look into that for future models. At this time the black with black rubber and red highlights is my favorite, but if you go with a non-coated stainless model, there is a nifty bracelet available that has a unique quick-release system and it looks like a well-made bracelet. All said I love seeing new and innovative models from Swiss Army, and if nothing else, it will be a dependable watch to take on your next journey, pun intended.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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