What in the world was Swiss Army thinking by designing the SeaPlane series of watches? In my opinion, they wanted to reinvent how people wear their watches and change watchbands quickly. In the beginning of the 2000s, Victorinox Swiss Army marketed 4 cohesively designed watches as SeaPlanes. These watches were stylistically different from contemporary watches for a number of reasons. The designs showed out-of-the-box thinking then, and still look interesting today.
|A rare set of all 4 generations of Swiss Army SeaPlane watches|
|Swiss Army SeaPlane watch models on interchangeable plastic watchbands|
|My family portrait of Swiss Army's SeaPlane watches|
Look Ma, No Lugs – The Design that Binds Them All
The most noticeable feature of SeaPlanes is that all of them utilize a "lugless" case. In other words, they do not have the familiar metal extensions known as lugs where the watch bands are usually attached. While the green hands, yellow accents and screw-down crowns are also shared in all of the watches' DNA, it is the lugless design that makes these watches unique to Swiss Army with no other models employing this unconventional approach. There are a handful of other watch makers doing this as well, but you might be hard pressed to see one on the streets.
|The leather clad SeaPlane throne watchband|
|Sideview of the Swiss Army SeaPlane watch showing the watchband and locking ring.|
|Swiss Army's SeaPlane's locking ring, band and watch pod lock together.|
|SeaPlane leather and plastic watch bands, the SeaPlane watch head and locking ring|
|Just some of the engineering for the SeaPlane watchband locking system|
|I put tape on my SeaPlane backs as extra insurance to prevent accidental unlocking|
|Swiss Army SeaPlane's weak point is the watchband|
|The hard to find metal bracelet made only for the Swiss Army SeaPlane XL Mechanical watches|
UPDATE (Sept 25, 2016): I was able to find a British marketer who sells the metal wristband for the SeaPlane Chronograph so this proves that the option did exist for this model in Europe... Mystery solved.
|An unidentified Swiss Army SeaPlane Chronograph with metal bracelet and unique central hand|
|Swiss Army SeaPlane Watches - Tritium dial, Mechanical XL and Chronograph|
|More SeaPlane watch articles coming soon...|