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 https://www.reflections-of-infinity.co.uk/straps2.html. 

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.

No comments: