Vault V1 – Pushing the Boundaries

The story of VAULT stretches back only a few years (2013), so thankfully no horologer ancestors nor old photographs to muse about in any write-up, thus giving us a chance to skip the hors d’oeuvre and tuck straight into the main course.

What we have at VAULT, is a small team who share the same vision of creating a watch which is not about timekeeping but time itself – a piece of mechanical art that extends beyond timekeeping.

The founders are Mark Schwarz and Philippe Schmid, drawing on the services of renowned movement specialist Andreas Strehler (Uhr Teil AG) as well as the design talent of Laurent Auberson.

The first timepiece of VAULT bears the same name as the company – who are already recognised for their contribution to the long and rich history of Swiss watchmaking.

The design of the watch face subtly resembles the functions of a bank vault’s time lock device – the classic strong room door. The intrigue continues from there…


In an effort to try avoiding citing the manual or giving away too much, we’ll highlight a couple of quirky and clever aspects of the VAULT 1.

The mechanical cleverness surfaces in the way in which the time is displayed and how it is set is truly unique. Setting the minutes involves rotating the actual movement, whilst the hours are set by rotating the dial – huh?!

Thankfully the indication of minutes is traditional using a minute-hand, however the hours are displayed on gears and gradually revealed though a partially ‘smoked’ sapphire crystal. The hours are not displayed in their traditional position. In some way haute horology is partly to blame for this – doing something simple in a very intricate way – pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This innovative dial displays the time in a very unconventional way. Time is indicated though the implementation of the ground-breaking ‘hour gear transmission’ – because of this, the numbers indicating the hours are moved to a different position whenever the time is reset – forcing the wearer to actually ‘read the time’ every time rather than just glance at the wrist.

The V1 is powered by what the manufacturers refer to as “autonomous movement”. The movement is produced exclusively for the brand by the renowned independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler. This is the fist time this type of a mechanical solution is implemented in a timepiece. The simple explanation is that the watch does not interact directly with a crown, but is set though rotating the complete movement. The power reserve is indicated at 50 hours.

The back on the current range is unfortunately closed, but one can get a glimpse of the depth and complexity of the movement from the front, especially when setting time, but we hope that future models will reveal more.

These marvels are built upon request. Commissioning a new VAULT V1 is a journey in itself. VAULT offer many options when it comes to catering for personal preferences of case material, strap and colour combinations. The team work together the customer from concept to completion of each individual piece of mechanical art. The initial ‘run’ is limited to 8 pieces. Prices start at 50,000CHF.

VAULT have bases in Bassersdorf (office) and Sirnach (worksop) in Switzerland.

For more information about the collection please visit


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