For those of you that are frequent readers you’ll know we have a soft spot for military styling and a firm belief that some of the best value in the watch market is found well under $1000. We have reviewed a few Victorinox watches in the past so when their hot new Original line started to hit shelves we knew just who to call to get one in for review. The Original is part of the “Active” line from Victorinox and is a good example of the brands varied styling and understanding of their core audience. Victorinox sent us the all black model which comes mounted to a simple black nato strap that really completes its military aesthetic.

  • 40.5 x 9.5 mm Nylon fibre case
  • Aluminum bezel
  • Swiss quartz movement
  • Mineral crystal
  • Luminous minute and hour hands
  • 100m WR
  • Nato strap with stainless hardware
  • Stainless steel case back
The Original is an interesting mix of military styling that works very well as a complete package. The faux sandwich dial is a bit of a let down as the cut out areas are not treated with luminous paint but the hour and minute hand are treated with a stealth grey paint. The dial is a flat, dark grey color that is covered in vertical lines and has enough detail to catch your eye but not so much as to detract from its stealthy appeal. The minute, hour, and second hands are done in a chrome finish so they grab light and really jump off the dial. The chapter ring is also chrome and seems to glow under any available light. The end result is a very legible time display thanks to the high contrast of the hands against the otherwise dark silhouette of the dial and case.

On wrist the 40.5 x 9.5 mm sizing makes the Original easy to wear on average sized wrists. This may be too small for some tastes but, speaking from experience, this is an excellent size for a sport watch. Watches these days rely on large and tall cases to manufacture wrist presence while a watch like the Original features a design, not dimensions, that really stand out. The case, thanks to is nylon fibre construction is fairly scratch resistant and carries a very matte finish that soaks up light. The bezel is made of black brushed aluminum and adds just a bit of polished shine to Original. The Original feels like a very deliberately designed watch with strong and unified styling that should mean it will age nicely and suit most casual attire. Mix the reasonable size with a light case material like the nylon fibre and you have an eminently wearable watch for all but formal occasions.

Powered by a simple three hand quartz movement, the Original should go a few years between battery changes. The crown (non screw down) is nicely finished and easily gripped to adjust the time or date feature seen at four o’clock. Keeping in step with its military concept the Original does not have any specialized features or flashy tricks, it is just a simple and practical timepiece for telling time. The included nylon nato strap is comfy and oh so trendy these days. In addition to the included nato the simple and nicely proportioned case allows for the use of other straps. I became quite fond of wearing the Original on a dark black croc leather strap with matching black stitching.

So lets recap, this $300 Victorinox has a cool and versatile style, its well proportioned and its a lot of fun to wear. With the possible exception of the quartz movement or the sandwich dial not being real, we cannot find fault. Furthermore, to change either of those points would add complexity to what is supposed to be a simple and worry free watch. If you liked our earlier review of the Timex Military Classic but wanted something slightly more up market, try the Victoinox Original on for size.

8 Comments

  1. The sandwich dial would have been an fantastic feature if the cut out areas had a huge amount of luminous paint. Panerai fans won’t be happy and will cry that it’s an attempt to copy their sandwich dial. Leaving a vertical line through the numerals does distinguish it from a Panerai. I would like to see a highly lumed 44mm Auto version of this. I know Victorinox can do it because I have a Dive Master 500 Mecha 241425 and the lume leaves my more expensive swiss watches for dead!

    Reply
  2. I would have preferred the date to have been placed between the 4 and 5 o’clock position therefore allowing a full 5 minute marker at the 4 o’clock position. Bye the way James, it looks great on your wrist.

    Reply
    • Hi Mr Tissot, 

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I can see your point on having the date window in a location where it wouldn’t interfere with the minute tracking. I like that they didn’t slot it between markers as it would have cluttered the dial. 

      Reply
  3. Great review , was looking to buy this watch, you mention that you can buy automatics for around the same price point, what automatics are those ?

    Reply
    • Hi Gaptooth00, 

      There are a lot of options, it just depends what you are looking for. I wasn’t referencing any specific brand or watch. Seiko 5 Sport automatics, for example, start around $85. You just have to look about online. 

      Reply
  4. One more question, you mentioned changing the strap, watch strap size is this watch. And what is the lug size

    Reply
  5. Well done review. Earlier in September, you also reviewed the Timex Military Classic. Just out of curiosity, if you had to pick one of the two – all factors considered – which one would end up on your wrist?

    Reply
  6. Well done review, very thorough. I read a quick review of the navy grey color option on GQ a month ago and ordered it on impulse. While waiting to it to arrive, I found this video review online. It does this watch so much more justice than seeing pictures. I inititally thought it had a cheap look to it from pictures online, but after seeing it in the review and in person, I was pleasantly surprised at the fine craftsmanship and unique design. As a result, I HAD to get the black color option as well, becuase it had such a distinct look to it, which Mr. Stacey highlights quite nicely. Namely, the way the black option plays with the light at different angles and draws it to the chrome hands and chapter ring. It can be hypnotic, it’s that good. This is unique to the black option, which is the only one out of the four colors that has the stealth grey lum paint on the hands and the white numbers on black date window. 
    The navy grey option is also definitely worth checking out.  It’s got a distinct, crisp look too it as well and would make for a nice additional outfit option. Very eye-catching thanks to the cool, varying shades of grey between dial, bezel, housing, and NATO strap. I enjoy them both, equally. And I have to say thanks for this review. I would have totally overlooked the black one if I hadn’t seen this. Keep up the nice work! 

    Reply

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