It was not long ago that brass and bronze were considered big departures from the usual 316L stainless steel cases. Now, they are almost commonplace, and many micro brands are experimenting with more exotic materials. Singapore's Vilhelm Elemental, just launched on Kickstarter, takes this trend to a new level, combining forged carbon, ceramic, and titanium to create a unique timepiece.
Vilhelm is a partnership between watch enthusiast Nop Srinara and micro brand veteran Elshan Tang. Elshan is no stranger to innovative case design, having produced pieces in bronze, brass, forged carbon, titanium, and Damasteel for Zelos and Ventus watches. For the Vilhelm, Nop and Elshan started with an exceptionally strong, lightweight forged carbon central barrel with a cushion shape and marbled pattern. A steel module inside houses the movement. The angular, sculpted lugs and crown guards are formed from sandblasted Ti-6Al-4V grade 5 titanium. A square Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) ceramic bezel with a brushed finish and sandblasted cutouts tops it off. The case measures 43mm wide and 14.5mm thick.
With so many materials in the case, you would naturally expect some diversity in the dial as well. The Elemental has four-layer sandwich construction, featuring a matte sandblasted ring and top plate over a sun ray base in Steel Grey, Rose Gold, and my personal favorite, Electric Blue. Unlike most sandwich dials that cut away only the markers, the upper plate on the Elemental has large sections removed, creating wide, pie piece openings so only narrow bridges remain to support the applied polished markers. A tidy Grecian helmet logo is the only branding on the dial are the hands are skeletonized and production models will include a SuperLuminova strip. A sapphire crystal tops it off.
Out back, a titanium case back and display window reveals the Miyota 9015 automatic. You know the movement: 24 jewels, hacking, hand winding, 40-hour power reserve, and a smooth 28k bph beat rate. This one has a laser engraved, gold PVD rotor. Both the case back and crown screw down but this is not a diver's watch. Water resistance is only 100m, which is still perfectly suitable for daily wear. The site contains no description of the strap, but it is 24mm between the lugs and extends the full width of the lugs, Bell & Ross style.
Pre-order pricing starts at $599, which is a fair deal for such a unique piece. Check it out on Kickstarter until April 30, 2016.