Case & Bracelet

When we designed the first VPC watch, Type 37HW, the aim was to build a platform upon which we could expand. And so we teamed up with one of the most gifted designers in the watch industry: Max Resnick. Our debut watch is very much a statement of intent and the establishment of an enduring design language for VPC.

The case

This is also why we started with a so-called do-it-all-style watch. As the most basic, least embellished style, it forced us to focus on great basic shapes. The perimeters were simple: The watch had to be elegant but muscular. It had to have great wrist presence, even at smaller diameters. It had to be both recognizable and simple, which is extremely hard in such a saturated industry. It had to be slim and ergonomically curved. Lastly, the case and bracelet had to be married in an attractive manner, without a clumsy end link breaking up the flow. 

That final demand resulted in possibly the most characteristic feature of the VPC watch case: the ledge. Max designed a modern, subtle take on the classical hooded lugs that allows for the bracelet to run into the case rather than up against it. Combined with a great end link design and execution, this creates the illusion that the bracelet runs continuously straight through the case.

A sweeping chamfer separates the case flank from the top. It widens towards the lug tips, where it actually becomes the majority of the lug’s visual mass. The case’s oversized diameter, provided by the ledges as compared to the bezel, has the added bonus of providing the width for those chamfers, as well as subtle crown guards. 

The flat, vertically brushed bezel is inspired by chronographs from the 1930s and 1940s. Its vertical brushing is echoed on the mid-case. The flat, brushed surface contrasts hard with the dramatically domed sapphire crystal it embraces. Another subtle chamfer provides it with modern-day sophistication. It is another prime example of our traditional but contemporary approach.

A closed case back is in keeping with the traditional inspiration. We feel that simple, proven ébauche calibers are perfect for intensive daily-wear watches like ours. Their reliability and much easier and more affordable serviceability are in keeping with VPC’s philosophy. However, even in Top Grade, decorated guise, we feel they do not aesthetically warrant display case backs. And so we opt for beautiful, traditional typography and our monogram instead. Again, it is the simpler way that only works when done right.

The case measures a modest 37,5mm across, for a vintage feel. Don’t be fooled, however, it has plenty of wrist presence thanks to its aggressive squat stance and sweeping flanks. We paired a subtle diameter with a relatively long lug-to-lug, which curves down dramatically. This ensures a perfect fit on most wrist sizes, without ever looking either dainty or oversized. Thinness was another major point of focus. Keeping the entire watch, including the dramatically domed sapphire crystal, under 10mm was key. The resulting shape has a uniquely comfortable and elegant stance on the wrist.

The Bracelet

For the bracelet, wearing comfort, integration with the case, and stylistic versatility were key. As with the case, we wanted to be original without trying too hard. It is easy to do something weird, just to be original. That is not what we ever aim for. Our own take on traditional design cues proved to be the perfect way to proceed. 

We took the classical flat link bracelet style as a starting point. From there, we decided to widen the links and add some dimensionality, perhaps reminiscent of a president-style bracelet, but less pronounced. Subtle chamfers along the centerlinks add a touch of contemporary flair. Such details lift the design out of the vintage and into the current. 

Special attention was paid to the end links. So many watches in all segments are let down by poor end link design. We wanted to do better. The aim was to trigger the illusion that the bracelet runs straight through the case. To do this, Max developed the characteristic ledge case. This allows for the end link to tuck under the ledge. This means it does not have to “open up” from a flat bracelet to a tall case, putting the bracelet under a sub-optimal angle. The end link is about as flat as the bracelet itself, making it much less noticeable.

End links are often made of one piece, milled to look like three side-by-side links. Due to low quality machining, this often breaks the illusion of it being three actual pieces. This is why most end links look so bad. We have paid special attention to visually maintaining the three rows of links in the end link. In fact, ours is made up of actual separate parts, so no faux lines here. Paired with the ledge and resulting flatness of the end link, this makes for an altogether invisible end link. And so, the illusion of the continuing bracelet is created.

The bracelet is 20mm wide at its attachment point, tapering to 16mm at the clasp. Technically, that makes it oversized for a 37,5mm case. We specifically chose to do this, as it provides a more assertive aesthetic for both the case and the bracelet. We also specifically encourage VPC owners to experiment with different straps, without being forced to purchase them from us. And so an odd size was out of the question. 

Modern functionality improves the daily joy one can get from a good bracelet. And so we have included a quick-release system to allow for removal and fitting of the bracelet without tools. You can swap your bracelet for a strap in seconds, even if you aren’t blessed with a surgeon’s fine-motor skills. The one-sided clasp is fitted with a similarly tool-free micro-adjust system. If your wrist size varies as a result of, for instance, the weather, you can quickly and easily find the perfect fit. Crucially, we managed to source a clasp (together with the caliber and some seals the only other customized rather than fully tailor-made parts for VPC) that pairs the micro-adjust with a very slender and short housing for maximum wearing comfort. 

As you may have gathered by now, the rest of the bracelet is a completely custom design, specifically drawn for our case by top designer Max Resnick. This is a complicated and very expensive part to design and manufacture, especially at small scale. This is why hardly any microbrand ever ventures into custom bracelet work. We decided to pursue it nonetheless, as we feel a truly great bracelet adds so much to your enjoyment of a great watch.

So what constitutes a good bracelet? For starters, it has to look great. Well-integrated with the case design and finished to a very high standard. Second, it has to be comfortable. Our relatively short links allow for a very smooth drape around the wrist, which just feels better. Lastly, the machining and construction must be top-notch. Extremely tight tolerances ensure a bracelet that feels solid and will remain solid over time. We have made a specific point of using thick inner pins and screws in the sizing links. This provides solidity and reliability over time. Lastly, our bracelet is thinner than most, aiding in both elegance and wearing comfort. 

Oh, and we supply the right screwdriver and we don’t glue our screws in. So you can easily size the bracelet yourself.