Written by Martin Green
Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting a few people who commissioned a watch, some even asking for my input during the process. I have come to notice that it is a highly personal affair, as one would expect, for which many different approaches are possible. The frame for the customization is determined by the brand that has accepted the commission. In general, the independents are willing to go much further than the brands who are already a century or longer in business. The creation of such a watch usually starts with a source of inspiration. To some, this can be their favorite sports club, while others turn to works of art to base their watch on. As it is always a very intimate and personal project, there is no right or wrong in this.
That doesn’t mean that it is without challenge, especially not with a brand like Vault and a watch like what will be the V2+ RCT. Because Vault has no decades long past, their history is an almost blank sheet of paper, and made in the here and now. The extraordinary way that they express time is the foundation of their DNA, and frankly, the part that captivates most clients to order one of their watches in the first place. While this will not be changed, the rest is pretty much up for grasps. This gives partners, like Albert Zeller, not only the option to create together with Vault a timepiece that is really their watch but also to become part of the brand’s history. I want to start the next sentence with ‘despite,’ but knowing Mark Schwarz, owner, and founder of Vault, I realize this is not the right word. It is because Vault is a relatively small player in the field of Haute Horlogerie, that they live for pushing the envelope.
This enables partners like Albert, even the option to dream up what doesn’t exist yet. Such a vast array of possibilities asks for a steadfast course. The best way to map this out is to start with a concept. For the V2+ RCT, it was clear from the start that it had to become a watch for every day. Its appearance should be modest and timeless, yet at the same time impress with its technical finesses. It also has to become a watch with two faces, as Zeller is the owner of RC Tritec, the company that develops and creates Swiss-made Super-LumiNova® pigments. This instantly sparked the watch’s concept, as the V2+ RCT should become the Bruce Wayne of watches, well-groomed businessman by day, and a masked hero at night who relies on advanced technical gadgets rather than superpowers to fight evil.
With this concept in mind, the color scheme of the watch was easily set. Dark colors would rule the case and the strap, while a touch of gold and steel would highlight the technical finesses of Andreas Strehler’s magnificent movement design. The case would be crafted from a new type of carbon composite from Fatcarbon. This would ensure that it remains light and that it can meet the active lifestyle of Zeller. As an avid snowboarder, his Vault would accompany him even there. As this watch has the night to shine, the highest quality of Swiss Super-LumiNova® pigments would be used. As they want to achieve a technical look, blue will be the color of choice here. With this, the watch was already evolving from concept into something more tangible. The road ahead won’t be without challenges, but that is part of the fun. The V2+ RCT will not become a watch made from ready-made parts that just need installing but will require significant research and development combined with trial and error. However, it will be the Vault team’s determination that will make them persevere and make this dream a reality.