Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon Video Review

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Occasionally, a brand is very lucky and is able to almost redefine themselves through the success of a single model. Such is the case with Victorinox and the I.N.O.X. watches. Victorinox has always been a staple brand for those looking for a well-priced Swiss-made timepiece, specifically with a military aesthetic. With the I.N.O.X., they’ve brought something unique to the market that is still very Victorinox at heart, which is to say a tool for use in the field. Able to pass a barrage of 130 tests that would destroy your average watch (they ran it over with tank…), the I.N.O.X. is tough as nails and truly meant to be worn in settings that might harm other watches. Additionally, they are simply cool looking. They managed to use a vocabulary of design that speaks to the brand, but made something that still felt fresh.

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It’s now a few years after the initial release and they are continuing to push where the I.N.O.X. line can go. For 2017, they announced a fairly surprising addition to the family, Carbon Composite. Once a material that was predominantly used in luxury watches, Carbon has made its way into the more affordable market in the last year or so. It’s a curious material that can withstand high heats, scratches and is hypo-allergenic and lightweight. It’s also interesting looking, with a distinct matte sheen that is unlike metals. It does have a slightly “plastic” quality to it, but also feels a bit like a smooth stone. In terms of color, it’s a dark gray with some light mottling that adds some texture. Needless to say, it adds a certain aggressive edge to the I.N.O.X.’s already substantial 43mm case, but helps keeps the weight down a bit.

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$950

Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon Video Review

Case
Carbon Composite
Movement
Quartz
Dial
Black
Lume
Yes
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Paracord
Water Resistance
200
Dimensions
43 x 52mm
Thickness
13.78mm
Lug Width
21mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$950

To go with the new case Victorinox also updated the dial, which I dare say is the more exciting of the two. For the Carbon model they went with an “explorer” style dial, with large 3, 6 and 9 numerals and tapering rectangles in between. The numerals look great, with a clean, bold typeface that really jumps out. A cool detail about the dial is that it’s made from a single piece of material, with the markers being stamped. They then print on them to create the look of applied markers. The benefit here is that the markers can’t break off due to vibration or shock.

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In addition to the 3-6-9 layout, Victorinox took one of the coolest details from some of their Airboss models and used it here: a floating index printed on the back of the sapphire crystal. Hovering above the black dial is a red circle with the numerals 13 – 24 printed around, giving you a quick military time reference. It’s a great way to add an index to the dial without cluttering it, while also giving the watch a unique twist. Plus it adds some color to the other wise monochromatic palette.

VICTORINOX_INOX_CARBON_4The Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon is available in two versions: with a Naimakka Paracord strap for $950, or with a black rubber strap for $850. The Naimakka Paracord is another very unique aspect of the I.N.O.X. watches. Available as an option, they add a rugged, EDC-style that has a distinct and very outdoorsy look. They are bulky, for sure, but they suit the case design and actually are quite comfortable, once you get use to putting them on and tightening them. That said, at $100 more you’d really have to want that look to spring for it.

VICTORINOX_INOX_CARBON_13

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That does bring the one draw back of the new Carbon model to light, it’s the most expensive of the I.N.O.X.’s by a few hundred dollars. At $850 and $950, they are asking a lot for a quartz watch. Of course, the watch has some great features going for it, and there are other higher priced quartz tool watches out there such as the Seiko Tuna, so it’s not alone. But, compared to the $550 – $650 of the steel and titanium models, which also aren’t cheap but feel more on par for an overbuilt Swiss-made quartz timepiece, the Carbon prices are a bit hard to swallow. Personally, I think the Carbon case is cool looking though not necessarily compelling over steel or titanium, but the dial of the new model is a real winner. Whether or not a different dial is worth a few extra hundred is unlikely, but it does give the Carbon I.N.O.X. a very distinct and cool look. Hopefully, they’ll bring this dial to the other cases in due time.

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For more info or to order the Victorinox I.N.O.X. watches, follow this link, and please watch the hands-on video below.

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.

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  • JFPisa

    Really, really, really want to buy one of these. At 43mm though it’s definitely a no-go. Make a smaller verison (40mm?) and you’ll have another customer.

  • Macchina

    I hate to crash the party, but this watch feels like plastic because it kinda is…

    “Carbon Composite” is carbon stands mixed with a resin (either a common plastic like nylon or maybe an epoxy) and usually injection molded like any old plastic. The flow characteristics look very much like common heavily glass-filled nylon parts only the glass has been substituted for carbon fibers. This would appear to be an approximately 50% fiber filled material or they played with tool surface temperatures to bring that much fiber to the surface of the part. I am an engineer with a lot of experience in designing plastic parts and the tools that make them and though this is a high quality part, but I’d be surprised if the watch body costs more than $15 after all operations are done to it. I have designed parts 1000 times larger than this that are highly engineered (flexible, moving monolithic plastic structures) from glass-filled nylon that cost about that much.

    The body most likely has a decent amount of machining after molding (threads for the case back, probably trued where the crystal is pressed in, maybe some small holes where the movement is attached as possibly the crown hole is drilled instead of being action in the tool). These all add cost but the original part may only cost $1.50 before machining.

    I can’t be certain, but there is most likely very little difference in the processes used to make a G-shock and this watch. The movement, face, and sapphire definitely add value but IMO this should be priced well below a stainless cased automatic Swiss watch, not well above…

    • Spasmolytic

      I’ve owned this model for about eight months. I wear it several times a week and there’s not one scratch on the case. Is it worth $950? Definitely not, but its worth the $500 I paid. I took it to a jeweler to switch the paracord with the rubber strap. He said the watch has an extremely thick sapphire crystal. He was impressed.

  • Andrew Hughes

    Nice review. I have to say, that I have not necessarily warmed to the INOX (except maybe that matte Titanium one). I am pretty much a Swiss Army collector, but somehow this model has not caught my attention like the Airboss (Mach 1-9), Alpnach, Hunter, SeaPlane, Infantry Vintage or ChronoPro lines. However, I will say the I appreciate VSA’s willingness to offer different materials and very high build quality.