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Vapaus, the watch brand founded by brothers Rudi and Oliver Laing, focuses on retro styling with a futuristic twist, elegant case diameters, and beautiful sapphire crystals. As Oliver succinctly states, “We try to design beautiful watches that evoke the past, whilst looking to the future.”

The Vapaus Veli delivered on these words with a volley of striking features:

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  • Exquisite 1950s-inspired design, set in a modest 38mm case; the perfect size to gently modernize a vintage-inspired design.
  • High-arched sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
  • Swiss Made – featuring the Swiss Sellita SW215-1 Elaboré movement with bespoke color-matched date wheel.
  • Ultra-Slim at just 9.65mm including apex of crystal.

The Veli was produced in a limited run of just 260 pieces, which sold out quickly. Vapaus recently opened the doors for the second production run. The pre-order requires a 50% deposit and will be delivered in November, with free worldwide express shipping.

The Veli (priced at £699) is offered in four sunburst dials: Deep Blue, Slate Grey, Ice Silver, and Space Black with a choice of either classic alpha hands or the brand’s signature syringe hands.

Launch of the Vorcut

The brand’s newest watch known as the Vorcut is a 38mm chronograph currently live on Kickstarter, where it is priced with an attractive Kickstarter discount at £275 (RRP £365).

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Inspired by the iconic chronographs of the past, the Vorcut collection ranges from the dark, brooding dials of the Atomic and Midnight, to the effortless cool of the Duke, to classic Panda dials.

Rudi states “Making a 38mm chrono was important to us. We wanted to make something sporty, slim, stylish — something that had a slightly dark tone; elegant enough to wear for a meeting, yet robust enough to go to the gym in; then have a weekend drink with friends. Essentially, we’ve made another watch for our own lifestyle, tastes, and wrist sizes! We’re a niche brand that focuses on the customers that we understand. In doing so we’re growing and drawing great pleasure from running the company.”

Movement Deliberations

During the development process, Vapaus reviewed every mechanical chronograph movement on the market, including the ETA Valjoux 7753, Sellita SW500, Eterna Caliber 39, Seiko NE88, Dubois Depraz module fitted to either an ETA 2894-2, 2824-2 or Sellita SW200 or SW300, and the Sea-Gull ST19-1.

Summarizing these movement deliberations, Oliver states: “To us, slim meant ~10mm case depth, excluding the box sapphire. We could not get close to this using any of the above listed movements. The ST19-1, being hand-wound, gets closest, but we were put off by mixed reports of its mechanical reliability.

All the other options left us looking at a total case depth in excess of 16mm. Given our firm commitment to a 38mm, this was simply not acceptable. We did make a case prototype, and the case depth was daunting, and very unattractive.

In the end, the VK64 was the perfect solution for us. We achieved a case depth of 9.55mm, the watch wears beautifully, and the movement handles very nicely – the pushers have a solid, mechanical feel, and the chrono seconds hand snaps back into place crisply.

Notwithstanding this, there is clearly a gap in the market for a slim, hand-wound Swiss chronograph movement – something we have mentioned to a couple of the manufacturers!”

The Vorcut collection’s key features are:

  • Domed box sapphire crystal
  • Drilled lugs for a vintage look and swift hassle-free strap changes
  • Elegantly slim brushed 316L steel case, at just 9.55mm (excluding the sapphire crystal), complimented by a finely polished bezel
  • VK64 meca-quartz movement, with smooth sweeping chronograph seconds hand
  • Built in Switzerland
  • Exquisite layered dials, with applied blade indices and brushed triangular hour markers, complemented by color accents
  • Signature lumed Vapaus syringe hands
  • Ultra-premium French calfskin racing strap

In the Veli and the Vorcut, Vapaus have created a harmonious pairing. The Veli, a casual dress watch in essence, is the working weekday watch. Come the weekend, the slim, sporty Vorcut can expect to see more wrist time.

Veli pre-orders remain open until 31 July 2018 directly from the Vapaus website. The Vorcut is available on Kickstarter until 21 July 2018 and both production runs will be shipped in November. vapaus.co

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