By Jake Fogarty, founder of It's All About Watches:
This is the Victorinox Field Army Chronograph and my first ever watch review. I will go through, rating the attributes of the watch. I'll start with the case, pushers, and crown as one group and will continue to group things together as I go through. Since this watch does not have an in-house movement, I won't mention it in the review. For reference this watch uses an ETA G10.211, a reliable quartz chronograph that has an indicator for seconds, 30 minutes, and a 1/10. Onto the review!
Case, crown, and pushers
The case is 40mm in diameter, 47mm in length, 11.45mm thick and is completely brushed. The bezel and tops of the lugs are finishes in a circular pattern while both sides of the case are vertically brushed. This watch has a lug width of 20mm.
The case back is very plain and has the information one would expect along the outside (Swiss Made, stainless steel, water resistant 100m, etc.). The middle is completely free of any engraving. Both the serial number and model number are laser etched on the very outer edge of the case back.
The mineral crystal sits at the same height as the bezel, reducing the chance that the crystal will shatter if the watch is accidentally hit while walking through a doorway.
The crown and pushers are both polished. The crown, while it is only 4mm in diameter has a cutout underneath it, which makes it very easy to pull out. The texture on the crown makes for very easy manipulation. There is a little play in the crown while setting the time however, it is better than most watches at even higher price points. This is not an exaggeration, the crown play is very minimal, maybe 1/4mm in either direction. The pushers are rectangular and have dimensions of 4mm x 2mm. They have a fantastic action and a very distinct click when depressed. With a retail price of just $220, the action is far better than many more expensive watches I have owned.
Overall score on all three: 9/10.
Bracelet and Clasp
The bracelet and clasp may be the weakest feature on the watch. Don't get me wrong, both are still somewhat solid feeling, but both the bracelet and clasp are reminiscent of Invicta watches I have handled. The polished center link will also be very scratch-prone. The links on the bracelet, although they appear as three pieces, are actually one link and are held together by friction pins. If holding the watch case and not supporting the bracelet; it will squeak. However, while on the wrist, there is no squeaking. The bracelet is 20mm wide and does not taper.
The clasp about the same as the bracelet. Although the divers extension is relatively unfinished and it has a few blemishes (see pictures, those dark spots aren't fingerprints, they are blemishes on the metal) the pieces of the clasp that fold over each other are polished.
This clasp does not have any pushers on it, and locks down with a small piece of metal. These types of clasps have been known to break more easily and I would have preferred a push-button clasp. The area visible is nicely finished while the safety is polished and has the Victorinox logo stamped into it.
Overall score: 6/10.
Dial and Hands
The dial layout and hands are very simple, a positive thing in my book. However, the markers look like they were printed out on an everyday printer just because of the texture and color. The dial looks like printer paper. Everything on the dial is 2D, with no real special features to mention here.
There is no lume on the dial. All six hands are black and provide significant contrast with the dial, allowing the wearer to easily and quickly read the time. The hour and minute hands are lumed, but it fades rather quickly and is noticeably dimmer after just a few minutes. One should note that although it is not as bright after a short period of time, the afterglow lasts for hours. Overall score: 7/10.
On the Wrist
For reference my wrist is 6.75".
The watch is a good value at the current $220 price point. Not all of the features are as nice as some would expect, but that is the compromise for the low price point. The watch has a final score of 22/30. With all my reviews to come, I will include some areas that I would have improved.
1) I would like to see some lume on the dial. Right now, the time can be read in the dark, but even just a dot at 12 would be nice to see.
2) Right now, the stamped metal clasp seems kind of flimsy. I would like to see the price go up $15 for a better clasp. Push buttons would be nice too.
Of course, the points are things that I would like to see and aren't at all necessary for the watch to function correctly. That being said, the positives outweigh the negatives in my opinion and if need be, the strap can be changed.
Please note: This watch is no longer in production but can still be bought through a number of online retailers.
Please note that all scores are given relative to the price of the watch.
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