Thursday, April 2, 2015

STRAP SWAP SERIES: Featuring the Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium Limited Edition Chronograph Automatic Watch


Strap Swap Series on Watch HunterThe 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 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).




This episode of Strap Swap stars the Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium Limited Edition Chronograph Automatic Watch. It is an amazing watch that will be detailed in future MEET THE WATCH SERIES. Below is the stock Victorinox image showing the included titanium bracelet. Stop drooling and keep reading....

Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on OEM titanium bracelet
Photo credit: Victorinox Swiss Army

The first thing I did when I acquired this watch was remove the titanium bracelet and put it in a safe place. I will swap it back onto the watch for special occasions, but I wanted to use a daily strap that would show less wear.

Titanium is strong and light, but is not necessarily scratch resistant. Victorinox chose to use a bead blasted semi-matte finish for this limited edition model. That gorgeous surface quality is nearly impossible to touch up at home if scuffed. Scratches and scrapes can reduce the value of a used watch  so the strap swap is a way of protecting its value.

Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on OEM black rubber dive strap
The Swiss Army black rubber dive strap was not bad, but I wanted something more...

I wanted to  enjoy the watch without worrying about marring the bracelet with "desk diving", and besides, I wanted to customize it. Since it is a legit dive watch capable of withstanding depths of 500 meters (1640 feet!!), I first tried using a borrowed 22mm Swiss Army rubber strap from another Dive Master 500 that I own. It worked, but it was kind of a snoozer...

I randomly came across an alternate option for a rubber watchband from Tsovet.com, a California-based watch company with cool timepiece designs and lovely straps. The one in particular was a marked down $50 olive drab rubber dive band on sale for $10.

Digital fantasy image of Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on olive green Tsovet watch band
Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Fantasy Concept with Tsovet Olive Dive Band with Gun Metal Buckle

The clincher was that Tsovet offered buckles in a gunmetal finish that would closely match the look of the watch's titanium. Before I bought the 22mm strap for this watch, I made a digital composite from available images and came up with the custom watch below.

Digital rendering of Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on olive green Tsovet watch band
Digital Rendering of Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium LE + rubber Tsovet Strap

Conceptually it worked and I now had a one-of-a-kind custom watch unlike any of the 332 other owners that were lucky enough to grab one of these limited edition chronographs. However, I thought there may be yet another option that would work better to tie the dominant dial components to the band creating a more cohesive unit.

The dominant design features of the dial are the dots, arcs and circles of multi-colored Superluminova that makes this dial glow like an deep sea creature in the dark. In lighter conditions, these features appear as a creamy mint.

Comparison of Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 dial in light and dark lume
The lume is different colors and puts on a deep sea light show of luminesence

Where the olive drab Tsovet color was an attempt to capitalize on the subtle green present in the lume, picking a cream colored watchband might match better and emphasize the geometric shapes on the dial more effectively.

Comparison of Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on leather and rubber watch bands

I digitally worked up several watch+strap concepts from watchbands for sale online and on eBay. Each one gave a different personality, and it was an extremely difficult choice. There were no wrong answers here... only differences of opinion. I can't tell you how many times I second guessed myself and even now, I think I might have made the wrong choice by picking the second strap from the top.

Comparison of Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on a variety of leather watch bands
So many choices... too many choices.

Part of this was based on cost and part was based on trying something new in style and texture. I try not to repeat myself with the same watch and band solutions because I want each watch to have a custom look.... Maybe I think of myself as the "watch whisperer" and want each model to silently tell me what it needs to evolve. ha ha. Who am I kidding... I'll likely change it again next month. Until I get the real band in my possession, you can check out the digital version below.

Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on Dassari Heritage leather strap - digital rendering
I chose this one and I hope it was the right one... seen here as a virtual rendering.
Feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you would have picked.

UPDATE: Here is the actual Dassari Heritage Beige watchband. I think it looks great, but this exercise shows that the color of watch bands that you find for sale online are rarely accurate. Expect a little of the unexpected. Sometimes it works better than anticipated.

Victorinox Swiss Army Limited Edition Titanium Dive Master 500 on Dassari Heritage leather strap
The final choice looks different than anticipated, but the transformation makes me want to eat the watch more.

1 comment:

bboybatac said...

An old post yet new to me. I think the combo you chose looks great and terrific titanium timepiece.

Your images help me decide on purchasing the Dassari Heritage beige for my charcoal PVD coated Lum-tec.

I hope you still own the chrono and are wearing in good health.