The Venice based and independently owned watch brand, Vaer, has been a busy one since the middle of last year. They’ve expanded their catalog by launching a series of new collections and adding a couple of brand new models while still maintaining their foundational ethos of designing well-made, vintage-inspired watches that, price tag wise, are as approachable as you can get. Observing the brand from afar, it feels that they’ve carved a space for themselves into more of a mainstream market, offering up a collection of affordable watches that resemble popular vintage design and appealing to those who just need one good looking watch that’ll get them through a day at the office, as well as a weekend filled with outdoor activity. The R1 USA Chronograph, one of Vaer’s new releases, still feels like, well, a Vaer. It has all the characteristics that’ll make it another popular offering from the brand, but there’s something most certainly refreshing about the R1 Chronograph. It feels like Vaer strayed away from the classic recipe book, experimented with their own selection of ingredients, and the end product is a watch that’s more for the deep cut watch enthusiast.
The R1 USA Chronograph has a lot going on and it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes it distinct. The case is a perfect example. The R1 Chronograph resembles a Monnin style case, which is a favorite of mine that’s seen on the likes of a CWC Royal Navy Diver. There are also hints of the pillow-like case of an Omega Flightmaster. But the R1 separates itself from that design in a couple of ways. The fixed steel bezel is absent from any rotating bezel or tachymeter display. Instead, there’s a fine radial brushing that follows the narrow sides of the bezel and the widening at the top and bottom. The case flares out at its sides and once again towards the lugs. The case finish here trades the brushing on the bezel for a polished finish which adds a dynamic element to the concave architecture of the lugs.