With a cleanly designed analog face, the Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision is a stainless steel quartz piece that is elegant enough a watch to wear during both day and night. But it is by far much cooler at night. Integrated into the case is a clever and flashy illumination system comprising a colorful trio of low-energy but extremely bright LEDs. A light press of the side button of the watch turns on a blue LED glow that lights up the watch face. Push the same button two times rapidly and the second, white LED on the outside perimeter of the watchcase bursts to life. This is flashlight mode, aptly named for it is just as powerful as a home flashlight. Victorinox even boasts that the white light is visible up to one kilometer away. Perfect to show-off if you happen to work a night job.
Through the control button, the white LEDs are also able to go into an emergency strobe mode, where they flash quickly, and can continue to do so for up to seven days. Though obviously designed with more dire circumstances in mind, it would be a comforting thought if lost on a dark night to know your Victorinox light source will not fail. The third LED is a red pilot light at the 6 o’clock mark, right below the date indicator. Blinking at 10-second intervals, its function is to help you find the watch in pitch dark. But if the constant blinking gives you a headache, the feature can be deactivated with five rapid presses to the button on the left side of the case.
The Victorinox Night Vision is Swiss-made with a 41mm diameter stainless steel case holding the analog quartz movement. The triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal is scratch-resistant, and the piece is water resistant to 50m (165 FT). Luminous polished silver-tone paint illuminates the hands and numbers for night mode, as well as flashlight. The screw-in case back is a rubber and steel combination case with a genuine black rubber strap and an end-of-life battery indicator. The LED features include Swiss-developed and Swiss-made low consumption light module with three different light sources. The first is a white LED flashlight (continuous light, signal and strobe functions); the second is a blue LED for dial illumination; and the third is a red LED multifunctional light pusher (locator and EOL indicator). With white or black dial and either stainless steel or leather strap, this eye-catching chronograph comes in at a reasonable $550 in the US.
Another unique feature of the Victorinox Night Vision, is that it is powered by two batteries. One is used to power the Swiss quartz movement that tells the time and date, and the other battery (a 3 volt lithium 2032 cell) is there solely for the LED light functions. The Victorinox Night Visions were also tested with a German team on a recent Siberian Black Ice Race. According to the team, the timepieces went above and beyond in both illumination and location finding during the nights of absolute dark on the tundra. Notably, the watches also held up in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, for a dress/causal sport watch, its average owners probably won’t be trekking across Siberian tundra. For $695, it’s a classy watch with an impressive flashlight that doesn’t come out looking too bulky or strange. A fun pick for both adventurers and/or someone who tends to lose things in very dark corners.
Written by Amani Liggett