Saturday, March 7, 2015

STRAP SWAP SERIES: Featuring the Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Mach 8 Special Edition Chronograph Automatic Watch

The Strap Swap Series showcases how easily a watch's appearance can be altered by modifying or swapping the watchband. It includes before and after photos or digital mockups of iconic and everyday watches.

One of the most affordable things a person can do to customize a watch is to replace the wristband that came with it. There are many strap options available to modify the character of the watch. One may pick a complementory or contrasting color or material. One can dress a watch up or make it appear more casual with the style of band (metal bracelet, leather, military-esque NATO strap and so forth). One can let a little bit of his or her personal taste show that may not be in the original watchband that it came with (and everyone else has).

Customizing a watch with a new watchband takes just a moment to do and the results are instantly gratifying. For those with just one watch, this is a great way to have the horological equivalent of a chameleon for any occasion.

The first watch of this series is the Victorinox Swiss Army Mach 8 Special Edition Automatic Chronograph with its original black leather strap. It is an amazing design that is purposely monochromatic in execution. As such, the black watchband and semi-matte dial work together to create a dark stage from which the hands, markers and sub-dials become the stars.

I use Photoshop to digitally mockup new bands on watch bodies that I own. Pixels are free and this pre-visualization technique can prevent me from buying expensive bands that may not look right in the flesh.

Below are 3 virtual examples of 23mm watch straps on the Airboss Mach 8. This width is not as common as you would think and I had  search beyond the generic offerings. Luminox makes a fantastic suede leather band with double adjustment holes. The buckle has twin tangs and a knurled diamond pattern cut into the buckle. It also has 4 metal brads near the lug ends. The orange saddle leather band is a thick single layer of leather and perhaps a little more traditional.

For me, the contrasting colors and textures make the bold monochromatic design of the dial take center stage shifting visual emphasis from just the dial components to the dial as a whole.

Which one will I pick? I just don't know. I don't think that I could go wrong with any one of them, and if I want to go back to basic black, it is easy to reverse. 


I ended up buying the top band which is actually less of a golden amber and more pinkish brown. It's a nice strap, but not what I had envisioned. This is yet another case of eBay seller photos being inaccurate which wastes time and costs me money.

The 23mm brown suede Luminox Atacama band was nice, but I ultimately used it for a different watch.
I then bought a 22mm HELLO NATOSTRAP to try. I had to send the first set back because the colors of the two parts looked so different that it annoyed me. They new ones match, but it was a hassle. I like the watch band, but not for this watch because it does not look special enough. I took this band off too and it has yet to find a new watch to partner with...but it will.

Ultimately, I chose a gray Luminox Atacama suede 23mm band from I am backtracking slightly on what I said about monochromatic colors. To me it still works because there is a contrast between light vs. dark and smooth vs. rough. Plus, the gray is much less harsh than the OEM black leather watch band which looked like a big mass of heavy black on my wrist.

The gray suede, black dial and silver case look phenomenal in person. It's a real looker.
I think that I will be sticking with this combination for a while. I like it.

My "final" choice on wrist.

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