Leave it to the makers of the original everything-in-one device – the Swiss Army knife – to discover a clever way to add useful functionality to the wristwatch, without sacrificing style or its original purpose. The Victorinox Night Vision watch is an attractive and high quality timepiece in its own right. Available in several styles, it has quartz movement, is waterproof to 150 feet below, and weighs a mere 5.6 ounces. But the Swiss-made timepiece also has a few strategically built-in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that add surprisingly useful functionality we never knew we needed.
The main LED produces a soft, indigo light across the face of the dial for checking the time in the dark – a useful if common feature. The second LED is a little more exotic: Located at the six spot on the watch face is a small, red light that blinks every 10 seconds. For those who take off their watch at night, this is an unbelievable godsend, especially when you’re traveling and out of your routine – in a hotel or, say, a tent (you can disable if this isn’t an issue for you). It also acts as a end-of-life warning for the battery, so you’re never left running late thanks to a watch that suddenly craps out. Finally, the third LED acts as a surprisingly powerful Batman-style flashlight located above the 12-o’clock position that stays lit when you double tap a button. Having a flashlight on our wrist whenever we need we found to be really handy,whether we were cycling at dusk and needed a make-shift safety light, or to just having to navigate that dark aisle on a trans-Atlantic flight at night. This beam also does double-duty as an emergency strobe light (three quick taps of the light button), or, if you hold down the button for eight seconds, an extra bright beacon. Again, slapping extra bright LEDs could be hacky, but in this case, it’s one of those ideas we can’t believe hasn’t existed forever – always a sure sign of greatness. [From $595; victorinox.com]