Of all the watches appearing on the Watch Hunter website, the one that I seem to get the most inquiries about is the famous Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Vintage Jubilee Chronograph Limited Edition from 2009. I affectionately call this one the “Ronald McDonald” because of the color scheme. Just looking at it makes me want to order fries and a shake! Because the official name of the watch is a mouthful, I’ll just refer to it at the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE.
The Victorinox model 241329 is a deliciously loud and wonderful watch. It is everything that a rare, limited edition should be. The red and gold dial of the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE is outstanding, unusual, and flashy. I’ve written about this watch several times before at MEET THE WATCH: Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Vintage Jubilee Edition Chronograph – the Red and Gold Unicorn from 2009 and The Top 10 Rarest Limited Edition Watches from Victorinox Swiss Army. Dig in if you want a backstory.
One of the great features of the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE is the gorgeous red leather strap that came with it. I don’t believe it was an off-the-shelf watchband. I can’t think of another Swiss Army watch that has a strap like this. It looks bespoke to this watch. The deep red hue complements the dial perfectly. Even the color of the stitching was considered by Victorinox. The threads are not stark white, but vanilla cream to match the warm tones of the dial. The strap features a very nice signed deployant clasp, so you only need to size it once. This makes slipping your watch on and off a breeze.
You’ll Probably Never Get a 2009 Jubilee LE Watch
Let’s face reality. Most people will never own the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE. It is just too difficult to buy. In fact, it took me over 10 years to acquire one, and that was completely by dumb luck. The odds are stacked against most buyers since there are only 125 of these red editions worldwide. This optimistic headcount assumes that none have been lost, stolen, or destroyed, so there may actually be fewer. I have only seen two for sale ever, so good luck if you are looking. However, you might be able to own the red leather watch band (model 003842) that came with this limited-edition model. For many collectors, this might be a nice consolation prize, and as close as they will get to owning the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE.
Rare Watchbands Available at Reflections of Infinity
On a whim, I contacted my favorite strap source at Reflections-of-infinity.co.uk, which is a UK-based seller of Swiss Army watchbands. I reviewed this company here: Vendor Report: Reflections of Infinity.
I asked the owner, Colin if any of the red straps were available. He promised to check his network. I completely expected his answer to be a hard NO, because there were only 125 of the Jubilee watches made in 2009. Surely, there could not be that many replacement straps available given the low production, right?
Colin has connections all over Europe for hard-to-find Swiss Army watchbands. Potentially, the stock may be more abundant in Europe when compared to the USA, but that is a guess. I usually send inquiries about replacing watchbands on old Victorinox Swiss Army watches directly to him. If he can source an item that a customer is looking for, then he will do it. He has repeatedly found replacements for me and my readers over the years. Thanks, Collin!
A few days later, I was pleasantly surprised to get a note confirming Colin had acquired some of the straps, so I instantly ordered two of them. He bought all the 003842 watch bands that he could. I would wager that Reflections of Infinity now likely has the last of these straps in the world.
Pairs Well with Other Swiss Army Watches
You do not have to own the Infantry Vintage Jubilee LE to enjoy the red strap. It can be used on several of Swiss Army’s fantastic watches to add a little pizzazz to your wrist. This is your chance to live a little. Do you have any Swiss Army watches that deserve an upgrade?
Victorinox Swiss Army watchbands are of great quality. However, these red straps might go beyond that high standard. I have a theory that a lower production number of straps means that they were made with even more care, but there is no way to confirm this. It is just a feeling I get handling the item. Notice the precise stitching, the fine grain leather, and the deeper than normal stamping in the inner liner.
To use these straps, you will need to know your watch’s lug width because the 003842 strap is 23mm wide. This width is not as standard as a 20mm, 22mm, or even 24mm wide strap. Several of Swiss Army’s larger watches used this size including several generations of Airbosses (Mach 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), Alpnachs (Generation 2), Infantry Vintage Chronos, and likely others. The listed watches were up to 45mm+ wide, so the 23mm strap looks proportional on them.
Do your research before buying. Below is a partial list of model families. Obviously, the red strap will look better with silver or black dials or watches with red accents. Pairing the red strap with a blue or green watch might get a bit too colorful, but there are no rules for your watches. Do what you like.