Pros: Swiss accuracy timepiece, LED flashlight built in, smart looks, fun.
Cons: Takes you to PRICEY TOWN. Hard to select light functions. Dial glare at times.
Being a flashlight freak it was only a matter of time before I stumbled across this item, a watch with A FLASHLIGHT built into it! Man, how cool is that?! I love flashlights. I cant go into a hardware store without going down the aisle and seeing whats new and different. With that background, I was actually considering the Timex Analog Adventure Tech Sports Watch # 41651 before purchasing the Swiss Army Night Vision. The Timex version of an LED flashlight watch is priced around $70. I stumbled across the Swiss Army Night Vision, and couldnt imagine spending the retail $295 for this watch. That changed when I found it on sale for $118. I reasoned that this was close enough in price to the Timex, and it comes with some nice features that the Timex is lacking.
Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision
This watch is offered in 3 models. The only difference is the outside appearance. This review covers model # 24070, black band with silver outer cover. (Now # 25070). The watch is also offered in all black, # 25110, or a Camo version, # 25130.
The watch looks really classy yet somewhat understated and simple. This is an analog quartz movement mechanism. The hour designations are silver, set on a black face background. They can be highly reflective, or dull. Its kind of hard to explain until you see it. They are sometimes easy to read, and other times they fade into the background, depending on how the light strikes them, especially when viewed indoors. Outdoors, it is much easier to read the time. The date window at the 3 o clock position is easy to read, and adjusts automatically. Swiss Army makes some great products, and this is no exception. It does have some limitations, and well get to those soon. It also comes with a supposedly shatter-resistant mineral crystal.
The hour and minute hand are likewise silver with a generous helping of phosphorescent paint on them. The sweep second hand is all silver. One nice feature is that the hours are also inset with military time markings. The 11 12 1 hour do not have the military time marks.
The watch has 2 buttons, a pull out 3 position crown for setting the date and time, and a single pusher button that activates all the lighting functions.
Band is black neoprene-like rubber, with 2 free moving square retaining loops. The band width is 3/4 at the buckle, and it widens out to a little over 1 as it moves up to the watch body.
There are 9 holes on the strap. The smallest hole gives you a rough interior diameter of 6, a very small wrist, and the largest diameter is 8 on the last hole of the band. Inside the band are horizontal raised tabs that help to hold the watch on your wrist. The rubber is somewhat sticky and hard to pull out from the loops, but this really acts to keep the watch in place. It is very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The band holes are spaced 1/4 apart and make it easy to get a comfortable fit.
Thickness in the middle is 0.5750. So a shade over 1/2 inch. Width from side to side, including the crown adjustment is 1.7705. I had a concern that this watch would be too big, especially since I was purchasing it online, sight unseen. Well, this watch is actually smaller than many Ironman like watches. On my 6, 200 pound frame, using the #4 hole in the band, it looks good. It doesnt appear as anything other than your normal athletic style watch. It may look too big on the person who has the watch ratcheted up to the last hole on the band. Thats one thing that steered me away from the Timex Tech Sport; I never could get any answers on the dimensions of the watch.
Watch Lighting Features
Well, as good as this watch looks, and being a Swiss watch, I assumed it would keep excellent time, but Im sad to say that the various lighting features may elude you until you get use to how to activate them. According to the manual, heres what the 5 watch features are suppose to do:
- 1 push of the pusher activates the Dial Illumination Mode.
This works well, and is really cool. An ultraviolet light comes on from the 12 o clock position and lights up the entire face of the dial. It is directed at the crystal which is supposed to help with the illumination. It also lights up the phosphorescence on the hour markers, with the 11 12 1 markers becoming brighter, due to their proximity to the UV light. The rest are less illuminated, especially down towards the bottom of the dial. But it does a good job giving adequate illumination to read the time when its dark.
- 2 quick pushes activates the LED flashlight for 2 1/2 minutes.
This is where the watchs weakness starts to manifest itself. You have a 50/50 chance of getting the light to come on in this mode. It sometimes comes on for 5 seconds and then goes off. Other times it will come on for the 2 1/2 minutes. It seems like it all hinges on how fast or slow you push the pusher button. Im disappointed that there isnt some type of click switch that allows you to definitely set the mode you want. This can be frustrating to some individuals in the beginning of ownership. If you misjudge the pusher, usually youll end up with the dial illumination coming on. When it activates, youll have to wait a few seconds for it to shut off before you can try the lamp illumination function youre after. What it comes down to is finding out what quick means to Swiss Army. I found that if I push the button firmly, and not too fast, it will go into the mode Im after. About a half a second between each push. It will take time for each owner to discover the proper timing.
(Note that full illumination, and the strobe function can be shut off with a quick touch of the pusher button).
- 3 quick pushes activates the light to strobe continuously.
Like 2 above, this feature is hit or miss on getting it to come on until you discover the sweet spot. Once you get it started, it strobes great. This is a nice feature, very attention getting. It flashes about 3 strobe flashes every second.
- Quick search mode, holding the pusher and releasing keeps the light on for 5 seconds.
This is a no brainer that works every time. This mode always comes on, and is handy for lighting up your front door to unlock it. The light will stay on as long as you push to activate pusher (up to 150 seconds), and will stay on for 5 additional seconds after you release it.
- Finally, Locator mode, a red LED at the 6 oclock position flashes every 10 seconds.
This is automatic. There is no turning it off or on. It gives a nice small red flash. It is somewhat weak, but considering its size, its adequate. The light is less visible once you get beyond about 45 degrees off center from the face of the watch. It is designed to help you find your watch in the dark. Probably more gee whiz than practical, but it looks cool.
LED Light Output
The LED is bright. If you look at it, it will hurt your eyes. It will leave a bright spot on your retina for awhile. The light is what I would refer to as white with blue overtones. Sort of the color of HID auto headlamps. You know the ones, they look more blue than yellow. The beam is what I would call wide. Three feet away from a wall will illuminate a 5 foot wide patch. It reminds me of using my Petzel head lamp, but with slightly less power. If you had to use it to navigate down a dark path, you could do it, but you wouldnt be able to see clearly much beyond 6 8 feet in front of you. It is certainly powerful enough for illuminating close up work, like unlocking doors, or reading something.
Because the light shines up at the 12 o clock position, you may not even realize it is on. The lamp housing tends to focus the beam away from you and shields the light as youre looking at the face of the watch. The strobe however is highly visible. I set it and walked down my street and was able to see it a block away.
The light is powered by 2 3 volt lithium batteries. The watch is powered by a long lasting (2 year) 1.55 volt silver oxide battery. As with most watches, it is important to have these professionally replaced. Failure to do so may void your warranty.
This is a pretty cool watch that most gadget hounds will enjoy. The lighting features are adequate, for what it is, once you get the feel for how to turn them on. The watch is pricey, and comes with a 3 year warranty, but can be found for less money, but with usually only a 1 year warranty from an aftermarket outfit. I think most people will miss some standard features that dont come with this watch. No chronograph, no alarm, no dual time, no separate LCD readout at all. It is just your everyday basic analog watch, a high quality analog that also doubles as a small LED flashlight/emergency flasher. It is water resistant to 30 meters or about 100 feet, so its definitely good to go in the shower or pool.
This is one of those things that may come in handy every once in awhile. The lamp batteries longevity depends on how often and how long you keep the light on.
This watch will not lay flat on its back. The LED lamp housing is too stiff to allow the band to stretch out. It is always in a circular configuration. No big deal, but it will have to rest on its side on either the crown adjust knob, or the pusher knob, or upside down flat on the crystal.
Features Id like to have seen with this watch are a dual strobe function. Keep the fast strobe with the watch, but add an SOS strobe function. It would be cool if the SOS would do just that, 3 short strobe flashes, followed by 3 long strobe flashes, etc, sending out an SOS signal. It is impossible to initiate a manual SOS signal with this light. The best you can hope for is the current strobe function. Id also like, as mentioned before, a more solid click switch between light modes.
I really like this watch. I assume it is smaller than the Timex counterpart, as the Timex actually comes out of the watch cradle. Not sure how that works. The light activation can be a little glitchy until you get the hang of it. You definitely want to be careful checking the time in a movie theater. The last thing you want to do is have the strobe come on and people think youre a geek. (Which we are of course). I would gladly pay $120 for this watch, but would balk at the full retail price of $295. It does come in a beautiful black box, and inside that is a fancy circular container, with the watch strapped to its own little pillow. The packing is pretty ostentatious. Id like to see Swiss Army downsize that and offer a basic packaged model for a lot less money.
All in all a fun watch, excellent time piece, and ANOTHER FLASHLIGHT for my collection!