Here’s something cool-ish from relative newcomer Valbray, the latest variant of their V.01 timepeice, the Chrono Argentique. This is a watch that is not what it first appears to be. Well, sort of. You see the V.01 is fitted with a cleverly designed ‘double-display’ system, meaning that when you rotate the bezel a diaphragm mechanism is activated, revealing a second, more complex dial. Yes, it’s kind of gimmicky but let’s face it, it also appeals to the inner ‘spy-kid’ living in all of us.
The style of the piece is quite unusual but what I really like is the fact that both dials are so different from each other. The outer dial is decidedly minimalist, attracting attention with its unique vortex design but not giving away any hints about the secret it covers.
The second dial is more complex however, and certainly more futuristic looking. It incorporates the chronograph display, which, to be honest, I find quite difficult to read against the backdrop of mesh, as well as a date display. The other defining feature is the large ‘v’ emblazoned across the dial. It may be that the intention was for this to be a subtle link-in with the brand name but personally I find it quite distracting, almost to the point of being intrusive. The up-shot to that of course is that if you don’t like the look of this second dial then you can simply just rotate the bezel back the other way to hide it from view.
According to Valbray the main innovation is what they call the “rotator,” which is the 16-blade diaphragm that opens and closes on the dial. This “rotator” uses ceramic ball bearings that do not require lubrication and is equipped with arms that allow radial shock absorption.
The case is grade 5 titanium with a DLC black treatment whilst the chronograph pushers and crown are made from polished stainless steel. Behind the dials is the ever-reliable self-winding Valjoux 7750, 25-jewel chronograph movement. Giving it the Valbray touch is a re-designed tri-material, skeletonized rotor that winds in one direction on ceramic ball bearings.
Price: 17,500 CHF (approx. US$17,900).
The Final Word
For me Valbray is another one of those brands that I’m just not sure about. Generally speaking I like the design and creativity of the pieces but I’m just not convinced I should be paying a premium for them. Admittedly this is the brand’s first collection and so they haven’t really had the opportunity to define themselves as yet but I believe there could be some real potential here, and so it will be interesting to see what comes next.
Of course if Valbray is already a brand that has caught your attention please feel free to visit their official website to learn more: www.valbray.ch
Category: Watch Reviews