Regardless of whether or not we're facing a global crisis, there has always been the need for something 'tanky' in any well rounded watch collection. Something capable of taking a beating (though most of us are prone to avoid letting a watch get banged up), or just something we can throw on while taking on tasks where you wouldn't want to put a nicer/dressier/more valuable piece at risk. For many, this is the land of dive watches or G-Shocks, but the Victorinox INOX has proven itself as a strong contender for that place in your watch collection, as the brand has given the INOX a bit of a trial by fire in its development.


Enter the Victorinox INOX Carbon Mechanical —a watch that prompted many questions upon its unveiling. Sure, Victorinox could torture test, hammer, shake, burn, freeze, and vibrate the living daylights out of their quartz-powered INOX and have it survive, but to do the same with a Sellita-powered automatic in a carbon case with a display caseback? That's not an easy task. To give you context, the watch can survive and function in temperatures between -51 and +71 degrees Celsius (-59.8 to +159.8 F), drop from 10 meters onto a solid surface, and withstand up to 12Gs of centrifugal force. They've also had it survive being run over by heavy industrial equipment, you know, just for fun. ( You can watch videos of some of the tests here. )


Though I had no tasks on my agenda that would push the watch to the same extreme boundaries, would a watch that's presented as being so 'battle ready' still be comfortable for daily wear? Beyond that, could it really live up to this supposedly bulletproof status? At $1,150, we're not talking about an entry-level diver like the Seiko SKX007, but we also aren't in the $5,000+ realm of Bremont and Breitling (for example) who often go on about their built-for-anything toughness and anti-shock protection. Well, it's now been more than a few months since the INOX Carbon Mechanical arrived at my door, and the short answer to all this is yes.


Before we get into the specs, let's talk design for a moment. The INOX Carbon Mechanical case is the same as its steel and titanium counterparts in terms of shape, but that's where the similarity ends. Having handled both of its siblings in the past, the lightness of the carbon case is immediately noticeable on the wrist. There's been some debate over the years about carbon cases feeling a bit cheap or plastic-like, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The texture of the case is more stone-like than anything, and the watch maintains just enough heft to avoid any feeling flimsy when strapped on the wrist. Its case measures 43mm across (measured from 4 to 10, presumably) and approximately 13mm thick, but even with those chunky figures its short lugs and black case work wonders in helping it from looking or feeling overbearing on the wrist.


Sporting a very dark grey hobnail patterned dial with applied indices, the INOX Carbon Mechanical is a bit more detailed than your average tool watch. Though I wouldn't have hated having the luminous indices be a touch wider, the watch is very legible at a quick glance. I was pleasantly surprised to see that even the VSA logo at 12 o'clock is lumed—a nice, albeit unnecessary touch. One gripe that many of us have—the execution of a date wheel—was well thought out on the INOX, as the white printing on a black disc provide a clean and legible match for its dial. A red tip to the seconds hand on an otherwise black and white watch? Why not. Yet another tiny detail that was well thought out.


Even the relationship between the rehaut and its indices is executed cleverly, for no other reason than avoiding being boring. The indices are all notched into the rehaut, with tiny 24-hour indices resting above them. To that item, there's a distinct lack of utility here that contradicts the toolish nature of the INOX. 24h indices are meant to be practical, whereas these seem present only to occupy space and add visual texture to the rehaut. While examining this area of the watch more closely, you'll notice a tiny detail that played a key element in the piece's durability—a tiny gap between the dial and the rehaut. This is a small part of its anti-shock system that provides additional 'cushioning', so to speak, should the watch sustain significant impact.

The case has very pronounced and functional crown guard surrounding an oversized screw-down crown that proved very easy to operate, and as an added bit of protection, its sapphire crystal is slightly recessed below the inner edge of its bezel to further protect it from impact. Should impact be a more serious concern (should you be going mountain biking, for example, the INOX is sold with a rubberized shroud that can quickly be installed and removed as needed. Sadly due to the COVID lockdown of our offices, the shroud is living in my desk and inaccessible when it come to shooting photos for this review.


For all the things that appeal to me about this watch so far, the design of its strap is a bit of a letdown in comparison. Though its thick but compliant rubber strap adds to the overall durable and rugged feel of the INOX, I often found myself wanting to swap the strap out for something a little thinner, the more time I spent wearing the watch—not always an easy task with a 21mm lug width. Echoing a statement made by Ariel over on ABlogToWatch , the combination of that rubber strap with a steel deployant clasp almost creates a bit of an imbalance in its design, especially if you have smaller wrists. If you're fussy about strap fitment, this is something to keep in mind.


After a significant amount of time spend with the INOX Carbon Mechanical in regular rotation, I'm happy but not all that surprised to report that it has held up flawlessly. When opportunities came up for a little light 'abuse'—playing competitive dodgeball, surfing, and cycling, among other activities—the INOX would be called into service. I've had other Sellita SW200 powered watches face running issues when slipping off a nightstand, for example, and the sustained impacts from the range of activities this thing has gone through is ample proof for me that the watch lives up to its reputation.

Learn More About The Victorinox INOX Carbon Mechanical Here