March 23, 2019
Valpin is creating extremely limited-run watches, featuring complications such as an annual calendar or a retrograde date. Those who follow the microbrand scene have likely become so familiar with a few of the tropes that come along with these designs and company backstories that they begin to blend together. Valpin has released a catalog of watches that do not follow the typical design language we’ve become used to seeing out of the microbrand universe. Started by Benjamin Lavizzari and Raphael Rapin (great names) in 2014, the two have worked together to create a lineup of four watches: The LR03, LR05, LR05N, and LR06. They all feature the brand’s distinctive case design and sub-dial theme.
The LR03 (above) is Valpin’s GMT model that also features a retrograde date, and it is limited to 50 pieces (25 of the black dial, 25 of the white). This model features a 42mm-diameter titanium case, powered by an automatic movement with 21 jewels, beating at 28,800vph. Ffull movement specifications are unavailable as of publication, but they are using dial-side modules whenever additional functions are added to the base caliber.) The case design on the Lr03, as with the other watches in Valpin’s line-up, is very angular, with a style that I can best describe as “Genta-esque.” The dial design on this model is also quite interesting, with a standard time layout, a red sub-dial in the bottom right for the GMT complication, and the retrograde date displayed on an asymmetrical semi-circle, prominently featured on the dial. The red accents here on the GMT sub-dial are complimented by the red crown. The LR03 is priced at CHF 5,300.
Next, onto the LR05. This is the least complicated of the bunch but is far from just your standard three-hander. Like its other family members, it also features a 42mm-diameter case made out of titanium, with an automatic movement that has 21 jewels and a rate of 28,800. This watch displays the time by using two slightly overlapping circles/subdials in a quasi-Venn diagram layout. Present here, as well, are some bright red accents, this time surrounding the date window, matched by the red crown. This model is also limited to 50 pieces, split evenly between the black- and white-dialed variants. The LR05 is priced at CHF 3,900.
The LR05’s edgy emo cousin, the LR05N, shares nearly all the same specficiations as the LR05 but its titanium case has been PVD-coated, giving it a dark black aesthetic where the red accents pop even further. For the PVD case, the LR05N will set you back CHF 4,500, and it is limited to just 22 pieces total.
Last, but not least, the LR06, the most complicated of the lot. This model features an annual calendar that is displayed in a dial layout similar to Valpin’s other models. Two red subdials display the month and day of the week, while a red crescent moon pointer date runs along the outer track of the dial to dictate the date. These red accents, of course, are complemented by the red crown. And as with the rest of the family, the watch is encased within a titanium case. The LR06 is priced at CHF 3,500 and limited to 50 pieces.
Throughout the microbrand boom, I’ve gotten used to seeing countless new diver designs, all with similar specs, price points, etc. While in a different price range than most of its microbrand brethren, Valpin definitely stands out in terms of its designs & complications. I can safely say that none of the current models are my style, however, I am intrigued by what they are setting off to do. It’s difficult for microbrands to compete at these higher price-points, but so far, I think Valpin has introduced a quality lineup. I’ll be curious to see how the brand continues to evolve and grow throughout the coming years. The Lr03, LR05, LR05N, and LR06 are all extremely limited, so I imagine we’ll see a whole new batch of designs once this current batch is sold out. All four models are currently available on Valpin’s website at valpin.ch.