Watch collecting, at its heart, is a hobby about personal expression. Finding the perfect watch for one’s taste and budget is one of the great journeys in watch enthusiasm, and oftentimes, the end result is a compromise between the ideal dream watch and what’s really on the market. The rise of online customization tools has allowed enthusiasts to create a truly one of a kind expression of their own tastes, helping to eliminate the creative compromise. Victorinox Swiss Army’s MY INOX configurator tool is one of the most varied and deep in its price range, bringing together over 15,000 potential combinations of dials, case materials, straps, protective bumpers, custom engravings, and included custom Spartan Swiss Army knives to its rugged INOX sports watch. Three members of our team have taken their own approaches with this new customization tool, showing off their personal styles and exploring the depth and breadth of the Victorinox Swiss Army MY INOX configuration experience.
For me, the Victorinox Swiss Army brand brings back countless happy memories of Boy Scout camping trips and that iconic red Swiss Army knife. With all the choices at my fingertips then, I knew I had to create a tribute to that classic red knife, albeit with a modern material twist. With this in mind, I chose to render the bold 43mm case in black carbon. Lightweight, durable, and rarely seen at this price level, carbon is the perfect choice to ensure this design can perform as a go-anywhere, do-anything modern “outdoor watch.” The red dial is a surprisingly nuanced tone, with a matte burgundy look that still instantly reads as a proper Swiss Army red. Likewise, I chose a red strap to continue the look, but the choice to go with rubber over leather or the brand’s unique paracord came down to utility. The INOX’s rubber is breathable, tough, and lowkey enough to be worn day to day rather than strictly on the hiking trail. On the other hand, an all-red look felt like it might be overwhelming, and so for the rubber case bumper, I opted for contrasting black. Lastly, to complete the package, I optioned my included Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan knife in the original red, with a custom ABTW engraving to always remind me of the team that brought me here. The customization experience itself was smooth and easy to understand, with a surprising depth of choice. Where most online watch customizers allow users to pick a strap and maybe a dial color, the six layers of customization in the MY INOX tool made it feel like I was designing my own version of this watch from the ground up.
My first “nice watch” was a Victorinox. Costing just north of $500, it was the exhaustively researched VSA Divemaster 500 that sent me down the rabbit hole and introduced me to collector forums and forever impacted my perception of time as it’s viewed on my wrist. And though the Divemaster line has more or less since been swallowed up by the modern INOX collection, much of what made VSA such an incredible value to my then-untrained eye still persists today. Particularly when it comes to the dial detail – I’ve yet to see a Victorinox watch with a dial that couldn’t rival the detail or quality level found in watches costing two or three times as much. Here, you’re presented with a beveled date window, a steep, multi-level chapter ring with dramatic cutouts for the applied hour markers, and lots of luminous paint to yield a dial that’s so deep, you might need a stepladder to escape. And though I couldn’t then with my “Black Ice” Divemaster purchase, I particularly appreciate how I can now finally indulge my titanium and olive-drab fantasies with VSA’s intuitive customizer, which delivers a surprisingly broad range of combinations among the case makeup, dial color, strap, and rubber bumper. Speaking of which, though, as fun as the bumper might be, I prefer leaving the sculpted bezel as is; not only is it a treat to look at, it’s just begging for a few good adventures to leave their stories imprinted across its smooth bevels. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of any good tool watch?
Customization is generally not something I associate with wristwatches. Normally, to find a configuration that suits your taste, you need to sort through existing models to find one built the way you want. What Victorinox has done with its INOX Configurator turns that idea on its head. I was tasked with building a steel version of the INOX. When I first loaded up the website, I was surprised to see seven different colorways to choose from, including some really attractive greens, blues, and reds. Once you’ve settled on that (gray, in my case), you move onto the strap, then bumper (which, to be honest, won’t see much use from me), knife color, and lastly, any text you want to be engraved on the knife. If you wanted to, you could design some pretty wild configurations between the dial and strap combos. I kept things pretty vanilla here.
In my case, I picked a gray dial with a black rubber strap, a gray swiss army knife, and a gray bumper. At the time the watch orders were placed I didn’t have any gray-dialed watches and figured this was a great opportunity to check one out and see if it worked for me. Spoiler: It does. The INOX arrives in a pretty robust-looking hard plastic case with a plucked foam interior. I was very impressed when I first opened the case to see everything laid out — this is a really clean presentation, in my opinion. The idea of pairing a Swiss Army knife with their robust INOX watch makes sense in my head. These watches are made for adventures and on those adventures, one might need a pocket knife. From a knife collector’s perspective, the Spartan is a good choice, as well, with plenty of capability built into a compact package. All-in-all, I think this is a great way to be able to purchase a watch. It gives you some authorship of the final product with many different possible combinations. I suspect most folks ordering an INOX will stick to being pretty vanilla, but the opportunities for some craziness are out there if you want them.
With a wealth of options and an easy user experience, the Victorinox Swiss Army MY INOX tool offers an impressive variety for those looking for a durable piece of personal expression. Pricing for the Victorinox Swiss Army MY INOX line ranges from $595 to $930. For more details, visit the brand’s website.