I’ve written about rare limited edition watches on this site before. To be honest, I have a weakness for them. I think that many watch collectors feel the same way. Maybe we just like to have timepieces that are unique. Low production numbers mean that owners are often in a small club. Sometimes the numbers are so low that you would likely have a greater chance at winning a lottery than seeing your rare watch on the wrist of anybody else. Today’s example qualifies to such an extreme level that Swiss Army calls them “exclusive”. Let’s see what that means for the Victorinox Swiss Army Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive from 2007 (reference 241214).
The owner of this watch is named Scott King, and he has had the watch for about 10 years. During that time, he has scoured the internet for more info on the watch and came up short. He even called Swiss Army to see what they could tell him. Probably the most significant nugget was that these limited edition watches were not numbered. While that would be interesting to know, there are two good reasons why the brand might have skipped this step. First, only 30 of these limited editions were made. Second, they were all made of 18K white gold.
These two facts now make this the rarest Victorinox Swiss Army watch ever made that I know of. Only prototypes would be made in lower quantities. And, the Victorinox Swiss Army Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive is the only watch made by the brand in white gold. There were gold plated watches like the Swiss Army Delta, and there were gold-toned watches like “The Titanium Watch”. There was even a platinum-cased watch called the Legacy Réserve de Marche Platine, but this was the only white gold cased watch. It looks like I will need to revise my list of The Top 10 Rarest Limited Edition Watches from Victorinox Swiss Army because there is a new king now.
During the mid-2000s, Victorinox Swiss Army had a tradition of creating limited “first series” editions to launch new watch designs. This model could indeed be one of the first editions, but I cannot confirm it with absolute certainty since there is evidence of another Ambassador XL released in 2005. The “first series watches” usually demonstrated the core design philosophies of the new model. They were often made with higher movement specs than the standard-issue models that were more widely available. Additionally, they had unique traits that would not be repeated in the standard models, such as a solid 18K white gold case. The gray dial color of this model turns a combination of shapes, textures, and finishes into a harmonious design. You can see other Ambassador family of watches here.
Solid Gold Case & Buckle
Solid gold watches are nothing new, but they are not common for Victorinox Swiss Army. This mid-level Swiss watch brand rarely designs with solid precious metal cases, besides the two I previously mentioned. Precious metals are expensive and this brand rarely goes to the top shelf. I found an unconfirmed listing that said the MSRP of the Victorinox Swiss Army Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive was $15,500. Woo wee! This is a far cry from the pricing seen on this brand’s watches… 5X higher or more than their typical automatic chronographs!
Back in the mid-2000s, many of Victorinox’s watches were 45mm in size (or larger). That is why these watches are called XL. While we might have different opinions on the perfect watch size these days, the Victorinox Swiss Army Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive was not freakishly large. It was on-trend for the time. I have a few 45mm watches left from that era (Airboss Mach 4 and Mach 6) and they are still wearable with stupendous wrist presence. Admittedly, I wear this size less often now.
Valgranges A07.211 Movement
You may not be familiar with the Valgranges A07.211 movement in the Ambassador XL Chronograph LE. This caliber was a “relatively recent” creation from ETA that was specifically designed for larger watches. This Swiss-made, self-winding movement is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750 movement, but with a larger main plate to fit within bigger watches more naturally. For more info, check out the ABTW article.
This movement has a 46-hour power reserve and the same dial layout as the 7750 without the DAY-OF-THE-WEEK option. The mineral glass exhibition case back shows the high level of machine finishing on the movement including Geneve stripes, pearlage, and blued screws. I am not sure that the demand for this movement is as high as it was a few years ago when watches were larger. The trend these days is towards smaller watches and smaller movements.
The Display Box
I am not one to get nerdy about display boxes. I usually only see them when I first purchase a watch or sell them. The box for the Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive is somewhat unique that it has a 3-dimensional logo on the outside of the box. The inside has a limited edition plaque, but not a specific number printed on it like other Swiss Army limited edition boxes.
Many people never see the box and paperwork that comes with rare watches. Some are lost to time or misplaced. Scott has everything that came with his watch so it is a full set, bought new. The printed booklet tells the intent of Victorinox Swiss Army in their own words. This is important to collectors who can only speculate on what the brand had in mind. The front cover says it all.
Other Ambassador XL Limited Editions
There were a few other limited editions of the Swiss Army Ambassador XL Chrono made in higher numbers and from stainless steel. There was a brown dial with ringed subdials (241176) and a black dial with solid subdials (241129). 750 of each were made.
Thanks to Scott King who graciously shared his watch with us and provided the images for this article. The coolest thing about his Ambassador XL Chronograph Exclusive is that he has worn it regularly since he bought it. This rare watch is no safe queen, which only makes it more interesting to me. If you own a 241214 watch, then join Scott in his private Facebook group for owners of these watches.