Approximately eighteen months ago I wrote an in depth article entitled ‘Independent Watchmakers’. The editorial featured ten outstanding timepieces marketed at all price points. It also illustrated how difficult it is for a small independent watchmaker to survive in what has become an extremely commercial environment. Personally I feel strong marketing plays an integral part and an active presence on social media outlets. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how well designed or innovative your product is if no one ever gets to see it. Certainly Richard Mille, Jean-Claude Biver and Maximilian Büsser wouldn’t have achieved global success without these great communication skills.
Normally when I write an in depth article about a watchmaker I like to include a personal element. Essentially that gives the reader an insight into the ateliers world and the process behind the design. Mostly brands are very forthcoming because they are very proud of their achievements. However in some (very rare) cases they prefer to remain anonymous. Maybe they want to create an aura of mystique around their work. Whatever the reason or methodology behind this strategy, it is clearly their prerogative. A perfect example is elusive French watch label and designer Vangarde.
Over the last few weeks I have liaised with the watchmaker who likes to be known as Vangarde. He wouldn’t disclose his name but informed me that he has worked on all aspects of design including Photography, fashion, architecture, fine art, multimedia and horology. The Tempo Théorie is his first timepiece and is limited to only 88 pieces worldwide. Dimensionally the watch measures 42mm x 13.9mm and should appeal to a wide variety of buyers including the lucrative unisex market. Although I have not personally tried on this particular timepiece I can imagine it would sit comfortably on the wrist. Principally this is down to the size, intuitive case shape and use of 316L stainless steel in production.
Aesthetically the Tempo Théorie has a really high quality appearance normally found in much more expensive watches. What makes this timepiece really stand out is the wonderful multi-layered skeleton black dial (with contrasting white numerals). This characteristic works in harmony with the amazing open-worked hour/minute hands that rotate on different axis. Vangarde specifically constructed them from lightweight materials like alloy, magnesium and silicon to maximise the reflective quality. This means they offer the recipient a visual feast as they intersect and overlap. Other features include ergonomic rounded lugs, oversized crown/pushers and sapphire crystal lens.
At the heart of the watch is self-winding ETA Valjoux 7750 ébauche movement, which is modified by Vangarde in house. The Calibre V1 comprises 29-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This entire mechanical splendour is visibly showcased through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Tempo Théorie features hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph facility and a power reserve of 48-hours.
The Tempo Théorie has a hand-made black Louisiana alligator-skin strap with matching polished steel butterfly clasp. Priced at: €5,350 (approximately $6,062).