Victorinox is known for its Swiss knives and also fine, great watches. If the knives are considered the Ferrari of knives, what about the watches? Is Victorinox a luxury watch brand?
Victorinox is not a luxury watch brand but a middle-tier. They do not use premium materials such as titanium, gold, or diamonds on their watches. Victorinox also does not use its own in-house movement, and most of its watches are under $1,000.
In this article, let’s explore deeper into whether Victorinox is a luxury watch brand or not. We start by looking into what makes a luxury watch brand, analyze Victorinox, and compare what we find against the criteria.
We also will explore other questions many people ask about Victorinox, such as its reputation and worth as an investment.
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What Makes A Watch Brand, Luxury?
Generally, luxury watch brands tend to outperform regular watch brands in these areas:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
We explored each of these categories deeper in a separate article. Feel free to check it out:
ALSO READ: What Makes A Watch Brand A Luxury Watch?
Materials: Affordable regular watch brands usually use 316L stainless steel or mineral crystal for their watches.
However, luxury watches tend to use premium materials in some, if not most, of their models. You can see materials such as 904L steel, titanium, and gold alloys with their watch parts.
You might also see the usage of diamonds or top-grain leather straps, mother of pearl, and sapphire crystal.
Assembly: Luxury watch brands tend to insist on assembling their own watches by bringing the assembly process in-house. Some even produce entirely in-house, such as Rolex.
Aside from in-house assembly, some also take pride in 100% hand-assembling their watches to ensure complete control of quality and performance.
Regular watch brands tend to automate the production of watches and employ minimum hand assembly to reduce cost. Some also fully outsource the assembly and production process and focus only on design.
In-House Movements and Technology: Luxury watch brands tend to develop and use their own watch movements. The idea is to fully control and customize the performance and accuracy of their watches. They also tend to introduce their own proprietary technology to improve their watches.
Regular watch brands usually do not develop their own movements and technology as they prefer to adopt movements from movement makers. Commonly they adopt movements from companies such as ETA, Ronda, Miyota, or Seiko.
Adopting these movements also helps these regular watch brands leverage the reputation of these movement makers.
Design: Luxury watchmakers tend to have their own design language or a signature style that sets their watches apart from others.
The closest example would be a brand such as Richard Mille. People can just look at the watch and know it’s Richard Mille without needing to see the brand on the watch.
Some luxury watch models eventually become the ‘de-facto’ design standard that becomes the benchmark for the watch category. For example, when looking into a dive watch, anybody would immediately compare it to the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Planet Ocean.
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Homages: Luxury watch brands tend to have homages made after their models. Homages address the issue of luxury watch models being very popular but unaffordable to many. Homages, being lookalikes at a lower price, attract these people instead.
Therefore homages are rarely made over non-luxury models unless they are very iconic and popular watch models, for example, the Movado Museum watch.
ALSO READ: What Are Homage Watches?
Fakes: Luxury watch brands’ success also bites them back in the form of fakes and counterfeit models. Unlike homage makers who still try to differentiate from the original by using their own brands, counterfeiters create exact copies of the watch and sell them cheaper.
Fakes are illegal and usually come in multiple grades. Cheap copies are common, but ‘super-clone’ watches are starting to appear. Some look so similar to the original watch that it takes a lot of effort to tell if they are real or fake.
Brand Image: Luxury watch brands also carry an image of exclusiveness, prestige, luxury, class, and performance. This is usually cultivated by placing ads or sponsoring events, people, or media outlets that project a similar image.
This explains why Rolex sponsors many tennis and golf tournaments. Omega sponsors the Olympics, while ultra-luxury brands like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet place ads in media such as Wall Street Journal or The Economist.
Prices: Luxury watch brands tend to be expensive, to the point that they may not be accessible to regular incomers. The idea is to turn their watches into ‘aspirational’ pieces, to work hard and strive for.
Once purchased, these watches become ‘success symbols’ to showcase to others. This is also one way how these watch brands build their brand image.
‘Luxury’ Is Subjective
Regardless, the word luxury can be subjective. The reason is that different people can interpret luxury differently, depending on their station in life.
For example, if you are a minimum wage worker, you might consider purchasing a $1,000 Bulova a luxury purchase.
However, if your daily watch is an $800 Citizen, then perhaps you will only get the luxury feel when you strap on a $5,000 Omega on your wrist.
Is Victorinox Considered A Luxury Watch Brand?
Victorinox cannot be considered a luxury brand but more of a middle tiered brand. This is because they do not develop their own watch movement or use premium materials in their watches. Most Victorinox watches do not cost more than $1,000 and are not fully hand-assembled.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Victorinox||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Titanium||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims, all watches are Swiss made||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||Adopts movement from other company||❌|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||No proprietary technology||❌|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||Great design, not iconic enough||❌|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||Not known||❌|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Does not seem to be widely counterfeited||❌|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Quality, reliability, military image||✅|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Has watches as low as $122||❌|
Victorinox watches use materials that regular watchmakers commonly use, such as 316L stainless steel. They also use Titanium on some of their watches. There are also no watches finished with diamonds, or uses gold alloy.
Instead of full alloy gold watch cases, some models have PVD coating. PVD coating is a more refined way to plate alloy gold such as 18K gold to the watch case, resulting in longer shine and better protection.
Victorinox’s website does not indicate that its watches are fully hand-assembled. This makes sense as fully hand-assembled watches are usually much more expensive.
Victorinox does have its own watchmaking factory in Switzerland, which is why their watches get the label ‘Swiss Made.’ To qualify as a Swiss Made watch, it needs to fulfill several requirements:
- 60% of the watch’s production needs to be done in Switzerland.
- The watch uses a Swiss movement.
- The watch is encased and inspected in Switzerland.
Therefore, although not fully hand-assembled, Victorinox watches are at least assembled in-house and in Switzerland. This is a good indicator of the brand’s quality.
In-House Movements and Technology
Victorinox does not develop or use its own watch movement. Victorinox instead adopts movements from ETA, one of Switzerland’s top movement makers. Some models also use movements from Sellita, another famous movement maker.
Victorinox’s website indicates they use movements such as the ETA2892 or Sellita SW-200 for basic automatic watches and the Valjoux 7753 for some chronographs. Valjoux 7753 movement powers many chronographs, even luxury models from Omega.
This makes sense as Victorinox is not a full watch house. They also have to focus on their other products, such as the Swiss knives. They could do a better job leveraging the Victorinox brand by designing great watches and having the engineering outsourced instead.
Victorinox also does not have any proprietary technology to improve its watches. Perhaps they use the stainless steel blend for their knives for the watch cases.
Victorinox watches’ design is excellent, focusing on their military tradition. The designs cover major watch types such as divers, pilot, chronographs, dress, and ladies’ watches.
However, their watches do not particularly stand out or be iconic enough to differentiate themselves. Watches such as Richard Mille, Hublot, or Rolex, can be told as one from far away.
Instead, you can only tell a watch as a Victorinox when you look into the watch dial from a close distance.
Understandably, Victorinox does not appear to have many homages made after their models. They do not seem to have iconic models for which homage makers can design lookalikes.
Unlike their Swiss knives, Victorinox watches also do not seem to be widely counterfeited. This made sense as their watches are not very expensive, to begin with.
It takes a lot of effort, time, and money to copy and manufacture counterfeit watches, so many counterfeiters focus on producing replicas or iconic luxury models. This keeps their profit margin higher.
However, it is still essential to be careful when shopping for watches, as there might be fake Victorinoxes out there.
Victorinox watches tend to leverage their brand image from their Swiss knives – precise, sharp, accurate, and well made.
Victorinox watches are less seen as luxury timepieces, unlike their knives. It is easy to see someone purchasing a Victorinox Swiss knife and a Rolex Datejust instead of a Victorinox watch.
Victorinox is primarily known for their Swiss knives, and their watches are just a compliment to their product lineup, just like their fragrances or backpacks.
Victorinox watches are not overly expensive. On their website, a Victorinox watch starts at $325, and the expensive model is $2,399.
Of the 112 models of watches for men on their website, 106 are priced under $1,000. You can get a Victorinox Alliance Quartz on Amazon for as low as $122.
This means Victorinox watches can be affordable to many, as the prices on their watches seem to be on par with brands such as Tissot, Hamilton, or Movado.
Is Victorinox A Good Brand?
Victorinox watches are good because they are well made and have a proven track record of working reliably over the long term. Victorinox also adopted the right watch movements from solid and reputable makers such as ETA, which further solidifies Victorinox’s reputation.
When looking into the characteristics of Victorinox watches, you can see that they check some of the boxes for being a luxury watch brand.
It has an excellent brand image that sets it apart from regular watchmakers. It uses excellent movements from reputable, strong movement makers like ETA and Sellita.
However, it does not have a design language that stands out from the others. The materials used on their watches are not as premium as luxury watch brands.
The watch prices are also within middle-tier brands, similar to Tissot, Movado, or Hamilton.
Is Victorinox An Entry-Level Luxury Watch Brand?
Victorinox is more of a middle-tier watch brand rather than an entry-level luxury. Although they have several models over $2,000, these watches do not use in-house movement, nor are they made using premium materials such as diamond or alloy gold. Victorinox is also more known for its knives than its watches.
Victorinox also lacks that ‘aspirational’ piece that signals their desire to enter the arena for luxury watches. As a result, Victorinox looks more like a middle-tier watch brand.
Victorinox may need to consider producing watches at a higher price bracket to do so. The watch also might need a higher percentage of hand assembly and in-house technology.
Are Victorinox Watches Made in China?
Victorinox watches are not made in China. They are made in Switzerland. All Victorinox’s watches carry the ‘Swiss Made’ label. Watches can only use the label if 60% of their production is from Switzerland, use a Swiss movement, and are encased and inspected in Switzerland.
This area made Victorinox watches different from other fashion watchmakers like Swatch, Invicta, and Daniel Steiger.
Victorinox manufactures its watches in Switzerland and uses Swiss movement. Most fashion brands use cheaper movements and outsource productions to East Asia.
Do Victorinox Watches Appreciate?
Victorinox watches do not appreciate well. This is because it cannot generate high demand and lacks passionate followers and collectors. Victorinox also does not have a large vintage market, as they only started making watches in 1989.
Victorinox watches suffer from the same issue that plagued most non-luxury brands in the market, their lack of worth for investment.
Victorinox also does not have a large and passionate following willing to invest in their watches. As a result, the watches do not hold value. There is also not a large community of collectors who will help push their used-value high.
Perhaps it is best to view Victorinox watches as something you purchase, enjoy, and sell as a loss in the future. At least their watches are not too expensive to start with.
For example, if you have to sell your $1,000 Victorinox watch at a 50% depreciation, that’s a loss of $500. Compare that to if you have to sell a $5,000 watch at the same depreciation rate.