Inside The Vault – The Birth Of Vault swiss

Inside the Vault


Vault Swiss team


Pub talk is great. It’s one of the finest forms of communication out there, a no-holds-barred, blue-sky thinking font of creativity. Yet how often do the ideas that seem perfect over a chilled IPA actually work out? The fact that I’m not the owner of an ice cream delivery service suggests not that often.

You need a perfect storm of a good idea, the perfect circumstances and an immense personal drive to make these kinds of things a reality and I doubt my ice cream idea has any of that. Vault however did and now an idea once envisioned by Mr Mark Schwarz over a pint in Munich is a reality – and that’s good for everyone.


Mark Schwarz of Vault Swiss



Mark was never a watchmaker. He did a little business training, but before that he was a police officer in Switzerland, one of the few careers there that doesn’t involve time or money. It’s also one of the few that’s actually dangerous – dangerous enough to bring him face to face with mortality. After that, I’d very much want a pint myself.

The idea itself came back in 2013; after learning a little too close to home just how precious time is, Mark was looking for some way of showing that. Time and watches go hand-in-hand and so the blueprints of Vault came into being: a watch not about timekeeping, but time itself.

Most of us would leave it at that point, looking back occasionally with a wistful ‘if only I’d…’ but it wasn’t just Mark impressed with the idea. The first was ex-special forces engineer Philippe Schmid, who was looking for a challenge; the second was entrepreneur Laurent Auberson who lent Vault his considerable design expertise; the final horological Avenger was the inimitable Andreas Strehler, he of the world’s most accurate moon phase watches.

It’s a small but formidable team, one more than capable of turning creative vision into reality and, four years on from a summer’s drink in Munich, we have the Vault V1. There’s nothing else quite like it.


Vault Swiss v1 watch made in Switzerland



The big question is how does it actually illustrate Mark’s initial concept? The first thing the V1 suggests is that time is precious. Even without taking the name into account, the dial looks like the reinforced steel door of a bank vault. If time if money, it’s a fitting visual metaphor.

The second is that time is beyond control. This is where things get a little more unusual. Unlike most watches, you never actually interact with the movement of the watch. You move the dial instead, adapting to the whims of time if you will rather than making it work for you.

The third and final facet of the V1 is that everyone perceives time differently. Because you move the dial, not the movement, every Vault watch will display slightly differently from person to person. It’s the only watch that’s ever done that and you can see why; most watchmakers like things to be static and continuous. The V1 is anything but.


Vault Swiss V1 watch



Time will tell whether the V1 will become another independent success story and as we all know time waits for no man. What I know more than anything else right now, however, is that it’s time to go raise a pint of inspiration to Vault.