Monday, June 19, 2017

PODCAST REVIEW: The Worn & Wound Podcast

It's no secret that today's media is as fractured as it comes. There are literally hundreds of ways to fill the hours with entertainment tailored exactly to your interests and attention span. Gone are the days when the whole world tuned into one television show like the finale of M*A*S*H in 1983.

Nowadays, the name of the game is personalized content. This means that you don't have to watch a show or listen to a program because it is the only thing on right now. In fact, most media today seems to be available on-demand allowing you to enjoy it whenever and wherever you want.

As a new series on the Watch Hunter blog, I am going to review some of best watch-related content on the internet. Even if you were able to stay up 24 hours a day and watch YouTube, read blogs and listen to podcasts, you would never ever be able to do it all... believe me, I have tried (and lost hours of sleep). This means that you have to be selective.

Image: Worn & Wound web site
My first review is about the relatively new podcast series by some of the best watch reviewers on the planet. The fine fellows at Worn & Wound have been reviewing affordable watches since 2011... and they arguably do it better than anyone else. Why is this? If I had to narrow it down, I would say that they have the attention to detail that many other reviewers lack, and they have the discipline to tell you only what you need to know. More on this later...

First things first. If you do not know what a podcast is, then let me enlighten you. A podcasts is audio content that can be published by anyone with a recording device. The subject matter can be anything from politics to hobbies. Usually the format allows greater in-depth discussion because they are not limited in time.

Podcasts can be played on devices from computers to smartphones and listeners can subscribe to be alerted about the latest episodes. You can also listen to older content, which can be helpful if you missed an episode. You can subscribe at Apple iTunes, GooglePlay and Stitcher and the content is absolutely free for the taking.

Podcasts are ideal for our busy modern lifestyle where everyone seems to be doing 3 things at once. If you take public transportation or have a long commute to work, a podcast can be a welcome distraction from the daily bad news on the airwaves.

It is hard to believe, but the Worn & Wound podcasts are a relatively new offering with the first episode appearing as Basel World coverage in March of 2017. I'm mentioning this because new listeners have roughly 738 minutes within 15 episodes of watch talk at their fingertips as of today (with more added weekly). While this may seem overwhelming if you are just digging in, it shouldn't be. Every episode is clearly described so you can cherry pick the episodes that interest you.

The growing list of podcasts available on Apple iTunes.
Remember my comment about Worn & Wound's attention to detail and discipline? This pays huge dividends for the listeners who tune in because Zach, Ilya, Blake, Mark and their guests do not waste your time. These guys stay on topic and explore it until it is fully baked, but not overcooked.

By contrast, there is nothing worse than suffering through a horological podcast that rambles with seemingly no purpose or respect for the audience's time. I tried a few other unnamed watch-related podcasts and could not get past the reviewer's verbal diarrhea and senseless banter. To these offenders I say "Dear windbags! Please edit your stream-of-consciousness muttering to actual relevant material. We do not care about what you did over the weekend or want to hear about some restaurant you tried.  It is a waste of our time." Like all the superhero movies say "With great power comes great responsibility." ha ha

You can see the content of the podcast if you want to listen to select episodes
Speaking of time, most of the Worn & Wound podcasts come in at just under one hour. The Worn & Wound team picks a topic of their choosing and analyzes it from all angles. What distinguishes these discussions is the laser sharp focus on the details concerning watch design, micro-brands, manufacturing, and what constitutes good value in the segment of "affordable watches" under $2,000. The W&W podcasts offer a lot a breadth of subject matter so I am only mentioning a few of the things that have been covered so far.

However, you never know what will be on upcoming shows. I suspect that it must be a bit of a monumental task to line up interesting guests or tape an hour long show each week. Listeners can be part of the show too by sending in their questions. I was lucky enough to have two of mine answered on one show. It was great to get an on-air response and it made me feel like I was part of the show. If you have a question that you want answered, just sent it to them.

I think of these Worn & Wound podcasts as the equivalent to being a "fly on the wall" listening to highly knowledgeable experts discuss our shared watch collecting obsession with passion, wit and accurate knowledge. You will never hear them say something as stupid as "Grand Seikos are garbage," which is an actual paraphrased quote from another person's podcast I listened to once. The worst you might hear is them making fun of Depeche Mode's brand ambassadorship with Hublot... but hey, nobody is perfect (including that watch). ha ha.

The Worn & Wound podcast series does not repeat content that is seen in the Worn & Wound YouTube channel or on their best-of-class watch reviews. Think of their podcasts as extended content that you might get with a BluRay of your favorite Hollywood movie. In a sense, it is like talking watches while sipping a single malt whiskey with the same trusted watch reviewers who you have read for years. These writers have shared their knowledge and shaped our opinions on what it is to be a watch collector. I can think of at least 2 watches that I own because of a Watch & Worn review... and I guarantee that I am not alone in that demographic. I am thankful that Worn & Wound is branching out  into the medium of podcasts and doing it with the same professionalism seen in their other content.

I can honestly say that listening to a Worn & Wound podcast is like eating a giant perfectly grilled homemade hamburger. You know, the ones with all the fixings that don't fit into the bun unlike the skimpy burgers they sell at Mickey D's. Worn & Wound's content has more beef and less filler than the competitive podcasts (If you are vegan, then just substitute the beef analogy for a delicious portobello mushroom). Regardless, if you start listening to the Worn & Wound podcasts now, you might catch up faster than you think... especially if you binge listen! Give them a listen. You won't regret it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

MEET THE WATCH: Victorinox Swiss Army Recon Watch with the Giant Arrow Hand

Behold, one of the most funky watches that Victorinox Swiss Army ever made... This one is going to take some explanation...

Victorinox Swiss Army Recon
The watch in question is known as the Swiss Army Recon, and it does not really look like many other Swiss Army watches. I would be lying if I did not admit that at first I thought that it was a crudely made fake from Asia. However, this is an authentic Victorinox model number 24533.

This watch is not shy. The Swiss Army Recon has a bold personality that eventually grew on me.
At first glance you can tell this watch was designed for maximum visual impact without breaking the bank. In other words, this watch was most likely for budget-conscious consumers. I would suspect that the Recon had to fit within the affordable side of the watch pool. Inside beats a reliable Swiss Ronda 515 quartz movement.

This snap on back requires a bladed case tool to remove. Mine was tight!
Fittingly, it has a polymer (a.k.a. plastic) case and a press-on watch back. The designers built a clever feature into the molding. Notice how the case is asymmetrical and the side closest to the crown is wider? This added bulk acts as a crown guard to protect the crown from getting knocked off... kinda like what you might see on a Hamilton Khaki field watch.

The hour hand has maximum visual weight with a giant arrowhead pointer
Swiss Army decided to go large and bold with the dial details including thick printed numerals at 3, 6 and 9. The font reminds me of blocky numbers on American football uniforms... or maybe the numbers you see painted on the side of an aircraft carrier. The remaining hour positions are represented by thick dashes.

Aircraft carrier numbers are similar to the Recon's numerals. Photo: Wikipedia
The most unusual feature on the dial is the logo proportions. On many vintage Swiss Army watches, the words are stacked under the shield emblem. I don't recall seeing another instance of this bulky, single-line text treatment.... and certainly never this large. The words almost touch the indices!

The Swiss Army Recon is great for experimenting with strap changes.
The date is tastefully minimized with a white-on-black date wheel at the 4:00 spot. It is barely noticeable in the photo above, which is the way it should be. The sloping chapter ring at the perimeter of the dial is printed with thinner minute and seconds markers. Cream colored lume dots above the dash indices mark every 5 minutes, plus the lumed hands make the watch usable in the dark.

Want to customize the personality of your Swiss Army Recon? Just add your favorite 20-22mm strap.
Seeing how the hour hand is tipped with a disproportionately large arrowhead, it is safe to say that the designers decided to use size and shape to help differentiate the hour and minute hand. This is unusual because the hour hand is traditionally the smaller of the two. The relationship between the hands and the indices are further linked with similar widths. This creates and interesting effect when the minute hand lines up with the dash markers.

The original silicon watch band is easily swapped, making the Recon look better than stock.
These seemingly simplified hands are BOLD, but they work incredibly well. I could routinely see the time many feet away from the watch. I actually quite like this because some of my watches have very small features and my eyes are not what they used to be. The seconds hand is indicated with a lollipop ball ending, which is seldom seen on a Swiss Army watch.

The Swiss Army Recon also had a compass module that slipped onto the watch band
The Swiss Army Recon is very light on the wrist (under 2 oz.) and ready to accompany you on your outdoor activities like hiking. It has a standard water resistance rating of 100 meters so you cannot go crazy submerging it, but it would likely survive sensible interactions with shallow water. Swiss Army also added a small compass to the wristband so that you would not get lost in the woods. My advice to non-Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts... keep your GPS app open on your phone.

The Swiss Army Recon takes on a upgraded personality with an OD green NATO strap
This watch comes with a comfortable silicon watchband that seems to be a lint magnet, but it could easily be worn with a variety of NATO straps. You can pick these NATO straps up for $5-$10. If you are looking for a fun watch with a big personality without stretching your budget then you could consider the visually unusual but ultimately pleasing Swiss Army Recon.

No, that is not Sasquatch wearing the Swiss Army Recon. It's MY hairy arm!

Monday, June 5, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Wristwatch Handbook by Ryan Schmidt

Last Christmas, I got an incredible present. Someone very special to me (literally me) sent it with a bow and a note reading "I hope that you enjoy this!" Man, that guy (me) sure knows how to buy great presents. It's like he could read my mind. ha ha.

Merry Christmas to me!!! I bought "The Wristwatch Handbook"
As I opened the gift box, I was happy to see that it was just what I always wanted... an amazing coffee table book about my favorite obsession... wristwatches. The name of the book is "The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches" by Ryan Schmidt. The title is a mouthful, but is highly descriptive of what you can expect. It is published by ACC Art Books and available on the web site here: and Amazon. It is available in English and French.

Thick, heavy paper and hardcovers add to the perceived value of this wonderful book
Coming in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and measuring 10" x 11.5", this hefty work of art exudes quality. There is nothing like sheer weight and size to make an impression. The hardbound book has a full color glossy dust cover and a matching glossy hard cover underneath. The inner pages of the covers show full color macro photos of mechanical watch gears setting the tone for the rest of the book. It's as if these pastedowns say "buckle up... we are about to embark on a quest for horological knowledge."

You will find yourself jumping from one set of photos and captions to the others
There are many books on the subject of horology so you could easily spend thousands of dollars creating a reference library of your favorite brands. If the watches you collect are expensive, then having the right knowledge can save you from buying a fake or spending more than you should have (I'm looking at you "Moonwatch Only" by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié, the pricey reference book for Omega Speedmaster collectors).

Large full page images can appear next to page layouts of smaller images, photos and captions
However, "The Wristwatch Handbook" is not about any single watch. In fact, it is not even about a single brand of watch or time period of watchmaking history. Instead, it is a beautiful primer to introduce the world of mechanical watches to a wide range of people. This means that a complete newbie could start at the beginning and work his way through all the chapters or a seasoned watch collector could jump to different parts of the book for quick reference or a refresher on a key concept.

Over 90 watch brands are included in the book and it tries very hard to be brand agnostic
But it gets better than that. Even if you could not read a single word, I believe that the world class photography and illustrations would keep you flipping the pages. The references shown in the book are likely high-end product photos provided by various manufacturers who want their creations to be shown in the best light, pun intended. As such, each photo is rich in depth, clarity, color and detail. While some watches appear silhouetted on white pages, others emerge from inky black backgrounds for maximum drama.

Professionally photographed images of some of the world's prestigious brands and models.

Many of the photos are virtually framable... they are gorgeous!
A coffee table book is designed to completely immerse you into a subject matter, without committing you to long complex chapters. The beauty and power of this book is that the information that you need is usually printed right next to the picture that it describes. This means that nuggets of information appear on each page as photo captions along with longer form text.

While it can be helpful to read the book in the page order that it was printed, it is not necessary to understand or enjoy the content. I have found myself jumping from one stunning image to the next in a meandering non-methodical kind of way.

A watch nerd's daydream starts with diagrams like these.
"The Wristwatch Handbook" covers a full range of subject matter. Just take a look at the contents shown below. The first chapters are dedicated to how a mechanical watch movement works and the anatomy of a watch. I consider this essential information that every serious watch owner should understand. The later chapters deal the the many types of complications that can be added to a base watch movement. These complications can be ubiquitous as a date window or technically complex chiming minute repeaters, automatons or perpetual calendars.

The book's Table of Contents
I will keep my opinion light because there are several fantastic reviews by huge names in the watch industry who have reviewed "The Wristwatch Handbook" favorably. You can see what they had to say on the book's web site. However, my favorite review comes from Amazon and it rings true...

A funny review title
I often read the reviews on Amazon to the the average Joe's opinion on anything that I plan to purchase. This book is universally loved with 100% 5-star ratings. I am not sure that I have ever seen that before.

A 5-star rating on Amazon so far.
I can easily recommend this book as the perfect present for the watch lover in your life (even if that is yourself). I would bet the cost of the book ($83) that they will love it. The quality, execution and value cannot be understated. Books like this might soon be a thing of the past in future decades.

Holding a book of this quality is completely different than reading about watches on the internet. Imagine the reaction if you handed someone a card reading " I looked up this website address for you". Now imagine that same scenario with you handing the recipient this artistic and informative book with some serious thought and weight behind it... Case closed.

Monday, May 29, 2017

MEET THE WATCH: Yamaha MT-01 Motorcycle Limited-Edition Mechanical Watch by Victorinox Swiss Army

I might be considered a boring guy. I don't really view television, but spend most of my spare time reading about watches, writing about watches and searching (you guessed it) for watches. While this may seem a bit obsessive, it is entertaining nonetheless. I get excited when I "discover" a design that I have not seen before. While browsing different auctions on eBay, I ran across a rare watch that does not come up for sale very often. Here is what it looked like.

A limited edition mechanical watch made by Victorinox Swiss Army for Yamaha Motorcycles. Photo: cytochrom
I contacted the seller, Rafal aka cytochrome, to see if he would allow me to use his photos in this article and he agreed. All images of the watch with the MT dial were made by him, and I'm thankful that he let me share them with the watch world. 

You may be wondering what kind of watch you are looking at. Readers of my blog may think it looks familiar since I have written four other articles on this style of watch, but I am jumping ahead. Let's talk first about the origin story of this timepiece.

This watch may look familiar, but it is highly modified from an exisiting Victorinox model. Photo: cytochrom
In 2005, Yamaha released a mean-looking motorcycle named the MT-01. It was a naked bike without plastic fairings and was powered by Yamaha's largest V-twin engine. To my eyes, it looked like many of the standard upright Japanese motorcycles of the 1980s, except it had a twin cylinder engine instead of an inline four. Because this blog is dedicated to watches and not motorcycles, you can learn more about the vehicle at 2005 Yamaha MT-01 review on Motorcycle USA.

Victorinox Swiss Army made a promotional watch for Yamaha's MT-01 motorcycle. Photo: Yamaha
As part of the promotion for this motorcycle, Victorinox Swiss Army created 400 limited-edition MT-01 watches. Instead of starting from a clean slate, Victorinox modified one of their existing  watch models, the SeaPlane XL Mechanical, which was released in 2003. I wrote a detailed article about it at: MEET THE WATCH: Swiss Army SeaPlane XL Mechanical, and you can view the photo below for reference.

Swiss Army used the SeaPlane XL Mechanical as the starting point for the Yamaha MT-01 watch
Below is the Yamaha MT-01 version. See if you can tell the differences between the two. I counted 8 variations on the front and 3 on the back of the MT-01 from the original, and that does not include the box and its contents, which I assume would have been different as well. A list will appear at the end of the article if you want to jump ahead to check your answers... 

Can you find differences on the Yamaha MT-01 watch compared to the original SeaPlane XL? Photo: cytochrom
First, let's talk about what design features remained unchanged. The basic layout of the dial is similar with no date window and a sub-dial at the 6:00 position. The Swiss Army Shield is still present, but a branding change required the addition of the word "Victorinox" in the logo. 

You can see the distinctive guilloche pattern on the dial that looks like a spiderweb. On high-end watches, this pattern is etched by hand using 100 year old machines, but I would suspect that it is stamped here. Regardless, it is a stunning effect. 

There is also a sloped chapter ring with metal applied and printed indices. In a way, it mimics the outer slope of the watch. Showing a thin edge of metal on the bezel helps reduce visual bulk here.

The SeaPlane rendered in all stainless steel for an industrial look. Photo: cytochrom
The neon green skeleton hands of the original SeaPlane XL were replaced with polished stainless steel versions. This one modification had the biggest effect on the personality of the watch taking it from fun to serious.

On the sub-dial, the yellow seconds hand was replaced with a red one, and the word SEAPLANE was removed from the sub-dial. In its place, a Transformers-like logo was added at the 60 mark. 

Yamaha MT-01 watch with a sloping chapter ring and tapering case. Photo: cytochrom
Victorinox used the same 45 mm lugless case as the original Swiss Army SeaPlane XL Mechanical. Lugless is a literal description as you can see that the watch looks like a perfect circle from above. The case does not have the normal protrusions that hold the watch bands in place. Instead, there are lug-like structures built into the bracelet that keep it and watch case aligned while making a smooth visual transition between the parts.

The Yamaha MT-01 watch was based on Victorinox's SeaPlane XL modular watch. Photo: cytochrom
All SeaPlane watches, including the Yamaha MT-01 Limited Edition, were designed for tools watch band changes. Most regular watches require tools to attach or remove a watch band, but the SeaPlane's quick change system did not. Below you can see how the pieces would fit together with the ring working as a locking bottom. A clockwise turn of the ring on the back would lock the wristband to the case. The parts are precision-engineered and crafted with great skill. There are likely many hours of machining to make this seemingly simple system work.

Yamaha MT-01 watch with the steel bracelet and locking ring. Photo: cytochrom
The Yamaha MT-01 watch came with a very special 9-link metal bracelet. This was an expensive accessory available for the Swiss Army SeaPlane XL so it is nice that it was included for this limited edition. This increases the appeal of the watch in both value proposition, aesthetic and practical terms. The Swiss Army SeaPlane came with a plastic watch band that was susceptible to ripping over time. If you are planning on keeping a SeaPlane watch, you will want to invest in a metal bracelet or face the fact that one day, plastic watch band replacements may no longer be available. The metal bracelet might be considered "bullet-proof" and should never rip.

An integrated deployment clasp maintains the streamlined look of the metal bracelet. Photo: cytochrome
Notice how thin the bracelet is and that the bulk of the deployment clasp is hidden with the bracelet. I love the way the clasp is just two end links with buttons on the side to operate the latch. Rendering the Yamaha MT-01 watch parts in stainless steel and removing the neon colors of the original SeaPlane XL Mechanical gave this limited edition version a no-nonsense industrial personality. Where the original colorful SeaPlanes were more trendy in the mid 2000's, the Yamaha MT-01 stainless steel version seems a better fit for a bad-ass marauder of a motorcycle.

The metal bracelet is thin and elegant in design. Photo: cytochrom
Looking at the crown side of the watch shows additional evidence of Victorinox designers muting the colorful playfulness of the original SeaPlane, which had the words ADJUST in a circular arrow graphic. The screw-down crown is plastic so great care should be taken not to stress it because replacing it might be impossible.

The crown has been simplified without writing on it. Photo: cytochrom
The back of the Yamaha MT-01 Limited Edition mechanical watch has a display window showing the hand-winding Unitas 6498-1 (maybe 6498-2) pocket watch movement. The Yamaha MT-01 triangular logo appears to be etched onto the glass. The function of the locking ring should be clearer from this view and the words "OPEN" and "CLOSE" inform the user which direction to turn the ring to lock and unlock the watchband.

The Unitas 6498 movement can be seen through the display window. Photo: cytochrom
In closing, the partnership between Victorinox Swiss Army and Yamaha Motorcycles produced a memorable and highly collectible limited edition watch series of only 400 units. This makes the MT-01 watch fairly rare. While care was given to cater to the the owners of the Yamaha MT-01 motorcycles, the appeal of the watch goes beyond that small demographic. Even if you don't know what a MT-01 is or even ride a motorcycle, you can still appreciate the watch's design. 

The MT-01 watch feels like it is from some alternate future, but also tied to an industrial past. The design simultaneously lives between both eras. The neon colors of the original SeaPlane watches were replaced with polished surfaces that reflect what is around it instead of projecting its own color... save for the single red seconds hand that reminds me of a tachometer needle. If I ever got hold of one of these, I might be tempted to bead blast if to a satin finish for a customized tool watch. Overall, I think Victorinox delivered a stylish commemorative watch for a beast of a motorcycle. 

If you own this watch and a Yamaha MT-01, send in your photos and I will post them with the article!

 A fitting limited edition watch for the Yamaha MT-01. Photo: cytochrom

ANSWERS: Differences between the original Swiss Army SeaPlane XL Mechanical and the Yamaha MT-01 Limited Edition Watches:

  1. SWISS ARMY logo replaced by Victorinox Swiss Army
  2. Neon green skeleton hands replaced with polished stainless steel skeleton hands
  3. MT letters added to 3:00 spot (3 removed)
  4. SEAPLANE word removed from sub-dial
  5. Logo added to sub-dial removing 60
  6. Yellow hand in sub-dial replaced with red hand
  7. Crown does not have words "ADJUST"
  8. A 9-link stainless steel bracelet replaced the plastic watch band
  9. A MT logo appears on the glass display back
  10. The limited edition number is engraved in the case
  11. The model number has been changed to v.25076 from v.24076

Monday, May 22, 2017

VENDOR REPORT: Reflections-of-Infinity Web Store Sells Replacement Victorinox Swiss Army Watch Bands

Writing a blog about older Victorinox Swiss Army watches can generate a lot of questions from my audience. They can ask "what kind of watch is this?" or "where can I get a watch band for that?"

Most of the time, I can answer their questions, but sometimes I get stumped. When that happens, it is always good to have an expert just an email away. I am talking about someone who has forgotten more about Swiss Army watches than I currently know. This expert is named Colin and he runs an online watch shop named Refections of Infinity from the UK.

Over the years, I saw Colin's store referred to on watch forums as the place to get hard-to-find watch ands for Victorinox Swiss Army watches. While you might think that it is easy to just go to the Swiss Army web site to get a replacement, it is not always as straight forward as it could be. This is partly because of the way the Victorinox web site is set up. By comparison, buying a replacement watch band from Refections of Infinity is easy, especially if you know a simple hack you can perform from your browser. I'll get into that later.

Where Refections of Infinity shines is providing Victorinox watch bands that are no longer available on the brand's web site... hundreds of them. Victorinox offers replacements for watches while the model is on sale and for a few years after, but eventually that ends. However, that does not mean the supply of watch bands dries up instantly. Existing stock is stored throughout networks of dealers and distributors... and this is where Colin's expertise comes in. 

Colin has been in business a long time and has many connections to this invisible pipeline in the UK and Switzerland. If he does not have a watch band in stock, he might know where to get one. I can tell you this from experience because he found me a metal bracelet for my rare Swiss Army SeaPlane Chronograph like the one seen in this vintage ad. Those are extremely difficult to come by because they were an additional expensive option that had to be bought separately from the watch.

In addition, you might be surprised to find that Refections of Infinity has many watch bands and bracelets already in stock with a special page dedicated to Victorinox Swiss Army at 

Some of the more common watches have a visual listing that has everything you need to know and way more information than Victorinox's own web site. Attention to these details makes using the page quick, and removes the ambiguity on the manufacturer's web site. 

In the sample below,  you can see a photo of the bracelet, the watch is fits an most importantly, a list of all the compatible watches that can use the watch band. This cross-reference is helpful because many of the watch bands are interchangeable between different watch models. It might also point out what is not compatible. For instance, don't assume that watches with the same family name but from different release years will use the same watch bands. While many times it might work, the listing will confirm it in advance saving guesswork.

Helpful model and compatibility information is shown on some listings
The cost and delivery details are also listed. For Americans and Canadians who might be worried about buying from overseas... don't be. The transaction is simple, and the currency is converted to U.S. dollars or Canadian dollars in the Shopping Cart so there are no surprises (no taxes either). You can see in the screenshot below that the currency is automatically converted to the country you are in... very helpful to those of us across the pond.

British Pounds are converted to local currency in the shopping cart
For me, the shipping is as advertised too. If the item is temporarily OUT-OF-STOCK, then you have to allow Colin time to find the part, order it, repack it and send to you. It is really a small thing to be patient when he is finding you the hard-to-find watch band.

There are over 800 watch band SKUs on the page so the trick is finding what you need without having to visually scan all that text. Luckily, the instructions on how to do this easily are right on the page.

Use the browser's FIND tool to narrow your search quickly
This feature should be standard because it is so helpful when searching for your watch bands. Simply find the model number on the back of your watch, type it in and the results will be shown highlighted on the web page. You can even use the arrows on the FIND tool to jump to the spot on the page. If the watch band is available, hit the BUY NOW button. If the item is not available (like the sample for the Hunter Mach 3, then there is a snowball's chance in hell of finding one. You will have to just pray that a random one appears on eBay.

Search by model number
You can also type in the name of the watch model in the FIND window. This may not be as helpful if you do not match the spelling exactly is it appears on the site. 

Search by model name
You can, however, type in partial words and narrow your search quickly. For example, 45 matches that contain "air" are shown below. This is helpful if you do not know how to spell the complete name of the watch. 

Do partial word searches if unsure of the complete name or spelling
By comparison, Victorinox's consumer website does not have watch model numbers cross-referenced with their watch bands. You have to know the name of your watch and hope you get it right. This is counter-intuitive since the model number (not name) is permanently etched into most watch backs. It is easier to search by number because it is hard to misspell a number.

You also cannot tell if the watch band will fit on another watch with a similar lug width. This is a failed opportunity for Victorinox in my opinion. Another problem is that you cannot use the browser's FIND tool because Victorinox does not load all the watch bands at one time and you have to keep hitting a button to load more. It is annoying and slow. I suppose you could call customer service and ask for help, but they may not have this information readily available either. It might just depend on who answers the phone... I have had hit or miss experiences (sorry).

Victorinox's watch band listing is less user-friendly and ultimately a lackluster user experience
I would like to take this time to personally thank Colin for all the help and insight that he has generously given to me and by extension my readers with their questions. I can honestly say that Refections of Infinity might make you a repeat customer for all your vintage and obscure Victorinox Swiss Army leather, rubber, textile and metal watch bands. 

If you are unsure what you need for your watch, simply contact Colin. He can let you know what is possible. I have sent scores of readers his direction in search of a Victorinox Swiss Army watch band so he can probably help you find your replacement too.

UPDATE: Colin told me that he is building an even more comprehensive database of watches and compatible watch bands. Victorinox released some of this information to retailers over a year ago, but chose not put it on their consumer web site. I am sure that Colin's updated compatibility list will be a valuable sales aid for those looking for a Victorinox Swiss Army watch band.