Vault V2+ Red
New materials are always a big thing in watchmaking, whether it’s a silicon or carbon hairspring, some new metallurgic composite or just a slightly different coloured gold with an awful name *cough* King Gold *cough*.
Generally though, it’s only the big brands – or at least watchmakers with the budgets of big brands – that have the cash to invest in some crazy, cutting-edge, aerospace-grade material.
Then there’s Vault. The independent Swiss brand last year revealed watchmaking’s first carbon-titanium composite and now they’ve upped their game even more with the Vault V2+ Red.
Fatcarbon might sound like a hipster vegan doughnut stand, but they are the mad scientists with whom Vault have created their latest contribution to horology: a carbon-ceramic composite case.
Ceramic isn’t the easiest material to work with; it’s hard, brittle and tough to work in any way. Layering it with carbon doesn’t really help that too much, especially with a multi-curved case like Vaults. It took 40+ hours of milling a block of layered red ceramic and carbon to create.
Was it worth it? Well, practically the half-and-half mix means that the case has incredible hardness from the ceramic but it far, far lighter. The best of both world you might say. More importantly – for me at least – it looks phenomenal.
In a similar vein to Girard-Perregaux’s carboglass (carbon and fibreglass) you can see waves of colour moving through the black, like some piece of ancient rock cut open. The milling ensures you can see every one of those layers working their way through the strata of the case. So far so good, then.
Inside is Vault’s signature movement (I’m not going to explain the watch here; I’ve already done that slog on this post (Introducing the Vault V1 CTI) but upgraded with a lighter, grade 2 titanium hour disc rather than the previous sapphire version, increasing the power reserve to a substantial 55 hours.
The final touch is the dial, which has been designed by Laurent Auberson, and is a good step up from previous models. Laser-cut disc highlights the hour with the Vault logo, partially obscuring the rest of the dial with a honeycomb lattice. Despite being just 0.3mm thick, it’s been nonetheless hand-grained to give it that technical look.
Unfortunately, the V2+ Red stumbles in one area: it’s a one-off. Still, that’s only to be expected from a bespoke commission, and as far as statement pieces go, there are far worse than an industry first. Hopefully, this makes it into Vault’s general collection, though that seems a little unlikely given the time and effort that went into it.
That said, if you are interested in something similar, all you need to do is ask…