From the outset, the Vault V1 is imposing, aggressive and really in a league of its own.
The essence of owning a piece of haute horlogerie is that, quintessentially, it is more often than not a direct representation of who you are not only as a collector, but also as a person.
And with the advent of the steampunk movement, as well as its popularisation through various online and social media channels, we as the horological community at large have been blessed to an extent with timepieces that absolutely blown our mind.
A brand that may not jump to mind when you think of haute horlogerie, but one that will no doubt linger, is Vault, a company who definitively state that they are challenging the status quo, with the intent of opening a new chapter in the art of mechanical watchmaking.
And a truer mission statement I’ve yet to come across. Let’s take a look at the Vault V1, a challenging timepiece that really pushes the boundaries of what we all know as conventional mechanical watchmaking.
The rectangular case of the Vault V1 sits at 39mm in diameter and 46.7mm in length, and is accentuated by these supple curves running along the sides of the watch.
The Vault V1 is a beautiful mesh between the atypical steampunk look and the flowy art-deco design style.
The architectural base of the watch is reminiscent of a vault door, something similar to that belonging in a large bank or in the office of a Bond villain. Very cool.
Now comes the complex part: the art of telling the time with the Vault V1.
As complicated and confusing as it may seem, the Vault V1 is actually quite a simple-to-read timepiece. The minutes are displayed traditionally by way of the large striking hand, but the hours’ display is where the really magic happens.
The passing hours are displayed on a sapphire crystal smoked disc positioned on top of the dial gears. The smokiness of the disc allows the piece to change gradually from a fully transparent view to a view obscured completely by the “smoke”.
When that happens, a line will appear between the transparent and the smoky parts of the disc, which then indicates the hour. This is a highly innovative way of depicting the time, especially so for the watch-nerd that resides in all of us.
The movement powering the Vault V1 is aptly named the V01 calibre.
It’s an automatic movement that is made exclusively for Vault by Andreas Strehler (an independent watchmaking who has his own movement-manufacturing company, UhrTeil AG).
This is a very good-looking movement that really sets the tone for the piece’s entirety. The caseback remains closed, which in a way is a good thing.
It keeps the focus on the piece’s inner mechanism, negating the distraction that sometimes comes along with fully openworked timepieces.
There is an exception, however. For the lucky buyer of the rose gold variant, the caseback will remain open with a sapphire crystal, giving the wearer an uninterrupted view of the beautiful V01 calibre.
The movement has been rated as having a decent 50-hours’ worth of power reserve and generally speaking is really well finished.
The Vault V1 is available in a variety of colours, case materials and dial options.
This is a fully bespoke model, so pricing can be quite ambiguous, however the starting price for a steel and titanium version of the Vault V1 is $50,000 CHF ($52,050 USD).
Expect to pay more, of course, were you to exercise your options for a fully bespoke timepiece.
In all honesty, whatever material or dial configuration you choose, the Vault V1 will still adorn your wrist with a presence of magnificence, beauty and charisma that many timepieces seem to lack. Absolutely outstanding horology.
For more info. on Vault, Click Here.