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!