Generally, I try and avoid mentioning the politics of the watch industry because there are enough bloggers commenting on this issue. However, due to the significant amount of redundancies it is hard to ignore the elephant in the room. In some respects it doesn’t surprise me because brands have made huge profits for years. Ultimately, as much as I love fine timepieces they are essentially a luxury item and not a necessity. Saying that though a beautiful dress watch at the right price can be the perfect finishing touch to a gentleman’s outfit. That is why I was intrigued to discover a company called Van Brauge who create high quality timepieces at affordable prices.
To really make an impression and survive in the watch industry you need a good story. Van Brauge was established by Max Van Brauge, who has decades of experience manufacturing and designing timepieces for several high profile brands. Max first became passionate about fine watchmaking as a child when he inherited his fathers vintage 1950’s 25-jewel Bidynator automatic timepiece. Essentially this was the catalyst to set up his own label. In essence the watch was also the inspiration for many of the watches in the current Van Brauge collection.
A few days ago I had a long conversation with Max Van Brauge via Skype and he kindly agreed to send a VB-Bombay over for review. With a refined polished steel case (devoid of visible screws) measuring 43mm it is generally a lot smaller than the watches I normally wear. However, it did sit nicely on my wrist and felt comfortable to wear. I love details like the refined blue textured curved dial with contrasting raised silver indexes. Other features include diamond shape steel hour/minute hands (with Super Lumi Nova coating) and small date indication positioned at 3 o’clock. However, the cleverest touch is the way that the curvaceous ergonomic lugs are replicated in the design of the buckle. Overall the composition is understated and that is its key strength.
Beneath the sublime exterior lies a high quality Swiss made Selita self winding movement, which has been modified by Van Brauge and tested to certified chronometer standards. The caliber comprises 26-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This intricate mechanism is visible via an ergonomic sapphire crystal case back, which is devoid of any visible screws. Functionally the VB-Bombay features hours, minutes, seconds and date facility. The timepiece is also water resistant to 100 meters and has a power reserve of 38-hours.
The VB-Bombay comes with two straps (leather and alligator) and an amazing brown leather briefcase style presentation case. Priced competitively at $3,416.