Behold, one of the funkiest watches that Victorinox Swiss Army ever made… This one is going to take some explanation…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 an interesting effect when the minute hand lines up with the dash markers.
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 second’s hand is indicated with a lollipop ball ending, which is seldom seen on a Swiss Army watch.
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.
This watch comes with a comfortable soft rubber watch band 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.