Hands-On with the Vario Versa

Vario is a Singapore-based watch brand founded in 2016. Over the years, they have launched several watches with varying aesthetics though mostly drawing on historical watches as inspiration, such as their rugged 1918 Trench model. Their most recent model, the Versa, also pulls from the past, taking its inspirations from the Streamline/Art Deco era, but mixes in a reversible design for a watch that is both dual-time and dual-faced. A first, to our recollection, in the micro-brand space, the Versa is a surprising release that manages to be clever, while also quite affordable. Apart from the functionality, the Versa is also a rare, small-scale rectangular dress offering from a micro brand.

Launched in three versions, the Versa is $428 and powered by not one, but two quartz calibers. For this hands-on, we’ll be taking a look at the blue variety.


Hands-On with the Vario Versa

Stainless Steel
2 x Ronda Slimtech 1062
2 x Flat Sapphire
Black Leather
Water Resistance
26 x 40mm
Lug Width
2 x Push-pull

Notable Specs and Features

The Versa is a watch defined by a novel and enjoyable feature: it’s essentially two watches in one. The watch head consists of two main components, a frame, and a watch module. The module is created with two slim, small quartz watches mounted back to back, dials facing out, and crowns at twelve. The module is attached to the frame via a central axis on which it can spin, locking in place via detents on the inside of the frame and small bearings on the sides of the module. When off the wrist, one can flip the module easily by pressing on one side, thus changing the dial to their preference, and if desired, to a different time as the faces are set independently.

A bonus feature of this design is that the module can be left at an in-between point, as the bearings catch on the bottom edge of the frame before clicking into the detents. As such, the Versa can be used as a side table clock for travel, in a manner akin to a Cartier Basculante.

Combined, the watch head measures a compact 26mm wide x 40mm long x 12mm thick with a 20mm lug span. Though perhaps a touch thick for the overall dimensions and dress style, considering the watch head combines two watches, it is understandable and well-managed. The frame of the case is 9mm thick with a wide, rounded bevel creating a strong visual break line. The module is then essentially a step up from the frame, which acts as a design detail unto itself. The Versa comes mounted to a black leather strap of very nice quality that features a deployant clasp, which feels very appropriate given the dressy design.


Putting on the Versa for the first time was like stepping out into the first fall day after a hot summer – refreshing. A rectangular watch is a bold step into dress territory by any brand at the moment, so worthy of small applause, but going the distance and creating a reversible, two-sided, two-movement watch gets a standing ovation. Only possible with slim quartz movements, another risk, it’s genuinely exciting to see a micro-brand (or any brand for that matter other than JLC) attempt.

And, more importantly, they pulled it off. The case is nicely finished, functional, and well-sized all things considered. Every time I put on smaller rectangular watches, whether it be Tank, a Reverso, the recent Oris Rectangular, or the Versa, I’m always struck by how much I like them, and how much I want to add one to my collection. The flow from the strap into the case, which is more continuous than on a traditional round watch, creates a pleasing line around the wrist. It has an undeniably elegant effect, lending to their generally dressy inclinations.

They also wear totally differently than round watches, so the typical sizing logic doesn’t apply. The Vario is a small watch, but I wouldn’t want it any larger. Given the case mechanism, there’s a lot going on in a little space. Gaps, screws, and lots of edges and lines. They give the Versa an unexpectedly industrial look. The 20mm lug width was also a good choice, as the strap itself adds to the visual presence of the watch.

My only semi-criticism is that the dials aren’t the most exciting. Each watch has two dials (pretty obvious at this point). All versions share a silver dial with 3, 6, 9, and 12 numerals alternating with lines encircling a white rectangle with a minute index. This is, I believe, meant as the sportier dial option. It clearly plays off of a Reverso style, but without copying it.

The other side is rendered in either blue, green, or red depending on the model. Consisting of a simple railroad index with diamonds at the poles on the outer edge of a flat, colored suface, it is meant as a minimal, dress option. Both sides feature small leaf hands, which function better on the sportier side given the inner index as it compensates for the necessarily shorter hands.

Neither side is offensive, but neither really wins me over either, leading me to flip back and forth regularly as I grew tired of them a bit quickly. In theory, I prefer the silver version, but the typeface chosen feels too soft, and almost non-committal. Perhaps a different handset, such as a syringe style with lume, would have added more conceptual contrast to this side as well. Had that been the case, I think the minimal, dress side would have worked better as an occasional side. As is, they feel almost like two concepts for a formal side.


There is a caveat to this hands-on, which is that at the time of publishing, all three versions of the Versa, which were limited to 100 each, are sold out. So, clearly, the concept was a success, which is not surprising. The Versa is novel, while also being a type of watch that is generally uncommon at this point in time. With a price of $428 for what is essentially two watches on one strap, it was also priced really well. For those who bought it, I think they will enjoy it as a clever dressier option that wears very nicely and has a cool trick up its sleeve. For those who didn’t, I do sincerely hope that there are more Versas planned for the future, ideally with more dramatically different dials. Regardless, Vario made something very cool with the Versa and should be quite proud of its success. Vario

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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