Over a relatively small period of time I have featured a broad spectrum of different watchmakers. Within this duration it has also become self evident that I have barely scratched the surface of what is really out there. Every week whilst doing research I discover another innovative brand to promote on Total Watch Reviews. For a watch writer/blogger this is great news because there seems to be an endless source of inspiration to draw from. Luxury Swiss watchmaker Valbray perfectly illustrates this point.
Within a mere five years Valbray has gained a huge amount of credibility within the highly competitive world of horology. The company was established in 2009 by duo Côme de Valbray and Olga Corsini. Both of these dynamic personalities have brought completely different skills to the table. Côme originally gained a degree in engineering from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, which he used to great effect at his first employer: Cartier Horlogerie. Olga has a qualification in jewellery design from European Institute of Design in Milan. Before co founding her own business she has worked for many prestigious brands including Bulgari, Gucci and Chaumet.
Although the company first produced detailed visuals in 2008 it took a further two years before they presented the first prototypes at Baselworld. The model in question is the marvelous Oculus Chrono Achromatic Black timepiece, which was available to purchase from 2012 onwards. It is pertinent to mention that this isn’t Valbray’s latest creation but typifies their core values. Dimensionally the watch has a larger than average diameter of 46mm (excluding the crown). These proportions should appeal to a wide variety of masculine buyers and is designed to make a bold statement. As this model is a very similar size to other watches I have previously tested (Omega, Bremont, Jean Richard, Linde Werdelin, Breitling) I suspect it would sit fairly comfortably on the wrist. Primarily this is down to the elegant case design and use of 316L stainless steel in production. However I would personally opt for one of the Grade 5 titanium models because they would feel lighter to wear on a regular basis.
On first inspection the Oculus Chrono Achromatic timepiece appears to have a very futuristic façade. What makes this watch so special is the ingenious patented circular opening diaphragm system that allows the recipient to alternate between dials. The first option is a two-hand dial composed of 16-brushed steel blades and inspired by the lens of a camera. In contrast the second dial has more conventional chronograph appearance with three sporty sub counters. Even though the technology is different the concept is very similar to the R03 Magical Dial watch from Revelation.
At the heart of the watch is a reliable self-winding Valjoux 7750 Caliber sourced from Swiss manufacturer ETA and modified to Valbray’s specifications. This movement comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). The mechanism is also visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Oculus Chrono Achromatic Black timepiece features hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph facility. The watch also has a power reserve of 44 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 50 metres.
The Oculus Chrono Achromatic Black is limited to 500 pieces and has a hand sewn black alligator strap. Priced at: CHF 12,400 (approximately $13,832).