Vesuviate Chronograph

Singapore start-up Vesuviate Watches has readied its first model for a January 20 Kickstarter launch. The plan was to create an elegant tool watch using hardened titanium, ceramic, and a Valjoux 7750 movement. I got to try a blue prototype, and I must say that they have squarely hit their mark. There will be a couple of changes between this unit and final production, but the sample shows every indication of being an attractive, well-executed watch.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph Blue

While the case is a mid-size 41mm wide, a broad dial and comparatively slim bezel make it appear slightly bigger. At 49mm long, it sits neatly within the limits of my 6.75” wrist; however, it is relatively thick for its width - nearly 16mm from the case back to the crystal (15.8mm to be precise). Vesuviate tells me they plan to slim the height of the bezel, but even then, it will still be an imposing piece. I had no issue wearing it - indeed, the light weight and curved lugs went a long way to keep it comfortable - but it does wear large.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph Blue wrist shot

You really can’t go wrong with titanium. It’s strong, light, hypoallergenic, and the fact that it carries a bit of aerospace cachet doesn’t hurt either. Vesuviate fashioned their case, bracelet, and clasp from Grade 2 titanium and then went the extra mile to heat-treat it, bumping up the surface hardness from 145 HV (softer than 316L stainless steel) to about 1100 HV (harder than granite). It dresses up nicely too. The gently rounded sides are polished right up and over the broadly beveled lugs, leaving just a slim section at the topmost surface brushed. This bit flows into the brushed side links on the bracelet and contrasts with the polished center. It’s a sharp look. My only caveat is that it appears more gray than silver, which is to be expected from titanium. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but the brand tells me they are tweaking the hardening process to make it lighter and closer to the silver color of stainless steel.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph blue

The signed, coin-edged crown screws down, as do the knurled collars on the chronograph buttons, which helps protect the Vesuviate’s impressive 300m water resistance. It is not a dive watch, so the high rating may be overkill, but I’m okay with the extra protection. With this, you can free the plungers, time your jet ski races, and secure them again, confident in the knowledge that your watch is watertight once more. It is worth noting that the prototype type has a step in the crown that contacts the case. This will be resolved before production either by recessing the case or eliminating the step.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph blue

Topping the hardened titanium case is a ceramic bezel insert and a flat sapphire crystal – both of which have a Vickers Hardness rating of 2000 HV. Clearly, the folks at Vesuviate hate scratches. I dig glossy ceramic bezel, and this one does not disappoint. The color is vibrant, the engraving is clean, and the tachymeter index is fully lume-filled; after all, you never know when you might need to time those jet skis in the dark. I approve.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph lume

The dial is a rich blue that proved to be great fun to photograph. Black and Panda dials will also be offered. A matching chapter index leads to small, applied and polished markers, textured and sunken sub-dials, and framed day/date windows sandwiched by the brand and specs. Right now, the hands are polished, as are the sub-dial needles and arrow-tipped sweep hand. Production models will have a red sweep hand but will be otherwise unchanged. Along with the bezel, the hands and markers enjoy a healthy dose of BGW9 lume.

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph blue

Production bracelets will look very much the same as this one, except that the end links will fit more snugly, and the "rivet” style pins will be gone. It is a 20mm Oyster style with a signed titanium clasp that is properly finished with no sharp corners or edges. It has a flip-lock, push-button release, folding dive extension, and six micro-adjustments. For those who want to forgo a bracelet, Vesuviate will also offer a leather strap with the same clasp and matching end links for $222 SNG (about $164 US).

Vesuviate Automatic Chronograph bracelet

Behind the currently bare case back is an EloborĂ© grade ETA Valjoux 7750; a sound automatic movement, known for its reliability. As I have found with every 7750, the chronograph buttons activate with a satisfying mechanical click, and the crown extends far beyond the case when pulled out, making it a breeze to find the right positions. Features include hand-winding, hacking seconds, a small seconds at 9 o’clock, 30 minute counter at 12, and a 12 hour counter at 6.

The Vesuviate is an appealing chronograph. I appreciate the quality of the materials and movement, and while its designers have taken a very traditional approach to its aesthetics, it is undeniably handsome. My only qualm is the thickness, which makes is wear large, despite its otherwise mid-sized proportions. I would prefer a slimmer watch, but the Vesuviate could be ideal for those who like the presence of a big watch but prefer something more compact.

Preorder prices start at $1699 SNG, or about $1260 US, which is right on the money for a 7750 powered watch with these specs. Expect that to rise 33% after the campaign ends. You can’t order it until January 20, so in the meantime, check out the Vesuviate Kickstarter preview page and register for notice (if you are reading this after the 20th, just click anyway, it goes to the live page too). ⬩


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