Flight or Knife Fight? Swiss Army Victorinox’s Fight To Stay Trendy

It is simple combat decorum that reminds us to never bring a gun to a knife fight. That same sort of decency is evident in Swiss Army Victorinox‘s new collection of trendy watches that reach toward the urban audience. Does Victorinox hit the target?

Victorinox Originals
Swiss Army Victorinox Original Collection

When paying any price, you should get what you pay for and at  $300 each, you don’t get much with the Victorinox Original, but it’s not without trying. The Original features a militaristic dual dial that offers military time within the inner ring and stenciled numerals at nine, six and three. The backdrop of the dial is fashioned to look like brushed steel, but unfortunately is not. The 40mm nylon fiber case is topped with an aluminum bezel that’s been (poorly) ion-plated with each color (from left to right, black, desert beige, khaki-green and navy grey) and the watch is finished off with a NATO nylon strap that was met with complaints of “material fuzzing.” Not something you’d expect from a watch that demands $300 when Armani Exchange is offering similar chronograph styles, with more of a following, for about the same price.

Victorinox Infantry
Swiss Army Victorinox Entry-level Infantry

After scouring the Victorinox website for a suitable replacement that might actually find a place in the urban realm, I found the Infantry collection, a more classic series of watches with varied prices based on features and materials. Staying as close to the starting $300 price, I found a very clean design that still incorporated a militaristic nature and was able to perform without faltering on the first wear. For an additional $75, you get a genuine leather strap, a stainless steel case and top ring, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, water resistance up to 330 feet (10ATM) and  a three-o’clock date window peering out of a black dial with a military time markings within the inner ring and seconds along the outer. To top it all off, the watch has large luminous hands that make telling time a cinch and the piece is equipped with an end-of-life indicator that warns the wearer of a dying battery by stopping the second hand for 4 seconds and then speeding up to the correct time. The watch will warn you of its impending death a whole week in advance.

Fossil Flight
For $135, FLIGHT, don’t fight!

The other Infantry styles offer more sleek designs and increased functionality, but of course, they’re more expensive. For my money, I’d much rather avoid the knife fight and stick with a solid Fossil, aviation-inspired Flight watch. Or span out to Diesel for the avant-garde approach to design that the Victorinox Original claims, but fails to live up to.

Latest arrivals and trends from Michele

With 12 different collections, it is no wonder that the Michele luxury watch company has recently unveiled a new set of models, each of which adds a spark of elegance, glamor and charm to any style.

Currently, the timepieces belong to the Deco, Ceramic, Urban, Caber, CSX, Jetway, Sport Sail, Serein, Cloette, Butterfly, Tahitian and Tahitian Jelly Beans collections.

Michele recently added a slew of new models to its line of watches, including the Cloette Ladybug Diamond Garnet Alligator, CSX-36 Day Two Tone Diamond, Diamond Dial Two Tone Bracelet, Deco Day Non-Diamond, Diamond Dial White Silicone Grommet Strap and Tahitian Jelly Bean Large Pink watch.

The Cloette Ladybug Diamond Garnet Alligator is a whimsical, fashionable accessory that can add a touch of playfulness to any style. The timepiece features a mother-of-pearl dial and curved case with 124 diamonds encrusted around each, 38-mm case size and Swiss chronograph movement. The watch also comes with a garnet alligator strap, which can be interchanged with any 16-mm strap available from Michele.

CSX-36 Day Two Tone Diamond, Diamond Dial Two Tone Bracelet
CSX-36 Day Two Tone Diamond, Diamond Dial Two Tone Bracelet

Adorned with 109 diamonds that surround its two-tone case, the CSX-36 Day Two Tone Diamond, Diamond Dial Two Tone Bracelet with chronograph movement features a mother-of-pearl dial, signature Michele crown accent, 36-mm case size and is water resistant up to 50 meters. The two-tone bracelet is also interchangeable with other 18-mm Michele straps.

The Deco Day Non-Diamond, Diamond Dial White Silicone Grommet Strap also features sparkling diamonds, with 12 of them marking the hours on the mother-of-pearl dial. The elegant timepiece has other signature Michele touches as well, in addition to a 33-mm by 35-mm case. Like many of Michele’s watches, the Deco Day timepiece has an interchangeable strap, which can be substituted with any of the company’s 18-mm straps.

Tahitian Jelly Bean Large Pink Watch
Tahitian Jelly Bean Large Pink Watch

With of a playful and sporty style, the Tahitian Jelly Bean Large Pink watch features a bold stainless steel sunray dial, mineral crystal type and is water resistant up to 50 meters. The whimsy timepiece is also available in a variety of colors, including coral, navy, red, sea green and blue.

Michele Watches was created by Maurice Barouh in the 1940s. Since then, the trendy and chic timepieces have been dazzling the wrists of women around the world, including celebrities Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah, Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Other latest trends from Michele can be viewed at the luxury watch company’s trunk shows, currently happening on numerous days this February. The shows provide fashionistas and watch enthusiasts with the opportunity to speak with Michele sales experts while browsing the newest models of timepieces.

Relic Watches Affordably Mimics Kors with Uncommon Materials

Serving as probably the most affordable brand, Relic has gone to extreme lengths to not only keep up with Michael Kors and other fashions, but also blaze its own path and set some trends itself. What’s unique about them is their materials. Relic provides top-notch workmanship on all their bags, purses, watches and wallets and uses seldom-selected materials such as canvas, alloy, brass and faux leather to provide stylish, well-designed products at very agreeable prices.

One main watch staple from which Relic would just love to deviate is the pocket watch.  Relic is one of few brands that offers pocket watches these days and it’s one style that fans continue to demand time and time again. And Relic’s pocket watches are well-made and stylish to boot.

Relic Pocket Watch
Relic’s Fan Favorite; The Pocket Watch

 

Made from alloy and brass, Relic’s pocket watch includes a 14-inch chain, Roman numerals and silver-tone indexes and an old-fashioned top case crown. This classic look can be had for under $50 and comes with a 12-year limited warranty, as all Relic watches do.

Relic sports popular styles now, just for less money. Relic watches also display great workmanship with many different materials. The middle style below represents the Gia, Relic’s new “boyfriend-style” watch that is draped in gunmetal ion-plating and made of stainless steel with a ribbon of tortoise shell-style acrylic running down the middle of the bracelet. Finished off with gold-tone indices and a multifunction dial, the Relic Gia offers a taste of Kors’ safari-inspired style for barely a touch of the price at $120.

Next up are two ceramic selections, a blackout and a white and rose gold tone style. Ceramic is a luxurious material to make a watch with nowadays because of its natural sleek look and resistance to scratches. However it is a very ginger material and can shatter easily if it comes into violent contact with hard surfaces. The blacked-out style on the left features a multi-function dial, Austrian crystal number markers, and an all black, ion-plated stainless steel case and bracelet. The selection on the right brings together a rose gold-tone ion-plated ceramic case and crown, a white engraved bezel, a multi-function face and white silicone strap.

Relic Women
Looks a little like Michael Kors, huh?

A step in the direction of their own trend, Relic has created the Jake, a men’s watch that pairs sporty utility and sleek design that can go from the office to that after-work dinner date. The Jake (middle) features a 43mm case and an angled crystal that magnifies the numeral markers and three o’clock date window. Complete with a sturdy silicone case-integrated strap, the Jake will definitely draw looks and compliments to the wearer. The other two selections below show off Relic’s multi-function tribute to grey and gunmetal during this transitional period between the seasons. The left style–the Detroit–has a bolted down top ring against a stainless steel case, a grey dial and matching grey silicone strap while the right selection–the Garrett–is all gunmetal stainless steel with a degrade backdrop that suits anything from a suit to jeans and a tee.

Relic stretches far beyond its supposed means and utilizes uncommon materials to create styles that draw envy from those that spend hundreds more on brands that have been mimicked time and time again.

 

Relic Men
The Detroit, the Jake and the Garrett

Michael Kors: A Brand Worth Talking About

With the economy’s head barely above water, it’s tough to make it in the high-end fashion industry these days. Even iconic brand, Tiffany’s, lost favor recently, signaling weakened demand for designer goods and exposure to Europe and other weak international markets. However, one man seems to be keeping his head well above the water: Michael Kors.

Michael Kors has truly transformed as a designer to meet the changing needs of his customers. Even though he is considered a part of the “high end” fashion industry, Kors keeps his product and prices ever changing to meet the needs of his clientele. In addition to the many boutique stores the company currently operates in the U.S., Kors merchandise is also sold in hundreds of department stores including rivals Macy’s and Nordstrom.

A set of Michael Kors’ watches.

Michael Kors designs are flying off the shelves and, one of his most popular items, men’s and women’s watches are flying even faster. They are considered some of his more “affordable” accessories; gold-plated chronograph watches along with his many popular handbag designs.

The Michael Kors brand teeters between mass-market and high-end, a balancing act that’s working well for them.

Though the company’s stock tumbled after reporting disappointing holiday sales on Jan. 10, 2012, it has realized strong growth in the past as an aspirational brand, one that floats just between the high- and middle-class offerings.

Consumers want affordable luxury. Most top-end brands don’t discount their merchandise: never having sales let alone clearance items. Kors just gets it. A huge success of the brand is due to the launch of MICHAEL, a Kors collection of lower-priced apparel and accessories. The company is looking to operate upward of 400 stores in the U.S. by the end of fiscal 2012. That’s tremendous growth that I think the Kors brand can support.

Kors is growing its sales about 25% a year, and much of that growth has to do with the selling of men’s and women’s watches. Because investors are evaluating Kors for the first time as a publicly traded company, it’s easy to dismiss the stock’s success as a passing trend. But I wouldn’t be too quick to count out Kors.

A girl wearing a Michael Kors watch.

A positive growth strategy is Michael Kor’s global expansion. In February 2012, the retailer plans to open a 7,000-square-foot store in Paris, which is in addition to recently launched or expanded boutiques in London, Milan, Munich, Seoul, and Tokyo. From what I can see, the designer has a winning retail formula: and it all started with his watches.

 

By: Christina Paone