Each Vault watch is unique, even down to the case material, of which clients can even imagine that themselves. Rather than feature only the newest addition to the Vault, it seemed sensible to include a little more information on options, should you wish to create your own.
The latest material for a case is on that of the Vault V1+ CTi (above), made from a carbon titanium composite. As far as they know, Vault is the only manufacturer to make a case of this composite material.
Conventional is not a word associated with Vault, as their whole ethos seems to be to change things up a bit, however like most watchmakers, it is ultimately all about time.
Vault sum it up well:
Time is central to every Vault Timepiece. We don’t mean the frequency of the movement, the seconds it loses each day, or the other jargon associated with horology: we mean the concept of time itself. To understand Vault, you have to ask yourself, what is time?
Face & case
It all starts with the case when specifying a Vault watch.
As explained, the newest creation from the brand is made of a carbon titanium composite, which is not only hardwearing and ultra light, but also looks great too. Vault worked with their client closely to achieve this.
The case of the pre-preg carbon layers and fine titanium powder were alternately hand layered and baked under pressure to form a solid piece of material to begin the process. A specialised CNC milling machine then did its thing for 32 hours to sculpt the case shape out of the solid mass.
Vault watch cases prior to the CTi were available in steel, titanium, black steel and rose gold.
Moving in from the 46.7mm (high) x 39mm (wide) case, the sapphire glass covers an unorthodox way to present the time. The hours are each on their own independent “gears”, but the current hour is indicated by looking at the graphically printed sapphire crystal disc which is positioned above the gears of the dial – the disc is mainly smoked, but changes gradually to become clear at one section, the 100% transparent void indicates the current hour. It is also possible to create your own version of this saphire indication disc, as you can see above in the Vault V1-X, where the orange circle next to the “paint splash” is the hour indication method.
The long minute hand is indicated in a traditional way, pointing to the 5 minute super luminova pillar markers just inside the bezel. These pillars that come forward out of the black surround, give the watch an almost 3D appearance. Each other minute is also marked by a small line for easy reading of the time and the figures for each 5 minute marker are also marked just inside the pillars.
That’s how to read the time, but interestingly, the way the watch works, means that no 2 watches will ever look the same and also changes it’s own appearance when setting the time. Unlike any other watch, the whole movement, the hour indicator disc and the minute hand are rotated at a fixed rate while a transmission reduction ensures that at the same time the dial is rotated in the same direction at a slower speed.
The case back is closed on the V1 versions, but in the V1+ it is open, with the caliber visible behind the highly designed skeletonised rotor.
The crown is big and chunky, with 2 styles of engraved lines toward the watch. The Vault logo is stamped into the end of the crown.
The V01 movement is Swiss made and automatic, produced exclusively for VAULT by Uhrteil AG. The movement for the V1+CTi hour gearing and rotor were both slightly re-engineered to reduce weight.
Features include an inertia regulated balance wheel, rhodium plated brushed and pearl blasted skeleton rotor, pearl blasted rhodium plated baseplate and black rhodium plated brushed and bevelled bridges.
Running at a frequency of 21,600 vph, owners should expect around 50 hours of power reserve once fully wound.
The straps I saw on the pieces were of black ostrich leg, with black and red stitching, however a client could choose whichever strap material they desire.
The pin buckle is again, well designed and oversized, with the Vault logo stamped off centre.
Vault are continually striving to break the mould, with new ideas and ingenuity.
When speaking with CEO Mark Schwarz at Baselworld, I was shown a new composite case they have been working on, but I didn’t want to let the “cat out of the bag” here prematurely in case I get in trouble!!
The concept that Vault give clients is great – we have a great looking shape of watch and movement which is unique; why don’t you design every aspect of the watch around it.
The watches I had the pleasure of seeing in person were the Vault V1, V1+ and V1+CTi, all of which were very light, specifically the V1+Cti. On the wrist, the weight and comfort levels meant it felt as if I wasn’t even wearing a watch, which I personally feel is one a of the greatest assets of a watch I would choose to wear regularly. At 15mm thick, it should look cumbersome, but it just doesn’t.
The overall concept is of my taste too and the fact that the movement of the watch never looks the same, is perfect for someone like me – I would never get bored of it.
Pricing is a difficult one to gauge, as every watch is unique. The entry level steel V1, started at 50,000 CHF and V1+ red gold 60,000 CHF when released a few years ago, however the brand has evolved slightly and pricing will vary depending on case and design choice.
The CTi was a client’s own watch, so the price hasn’t been disclosed and I wasn’t able to take any of my own photos.
Add a Vault Swiss watch to your collection and I’m pretty sure you won’t want to take it off (especially if you design a bespoke version for yourself).