In this article, you'll find everything you need to know about our design inspiration for the Vaer Heritage Watch.
The Vaer Heritage was released in February 2019 as our third watch model. The Heritage builds on the popularity of our Classic and Field collections, leveraging our top-selling V2 Case design (10ATM case, Sapphire Glass, Interchangeable Bands), while introducing a more refined dial composition and improved luminescent paint.
Why should I care about this design?
a) The Best Case Available for Under $200
When we started work on the Heritage model we debated the decision of introducing a re-worked case design. The more that Ryan and I talked about it, the faster we came to the same conclusion: let's not mess with a good thing.
Vaer is a young brand and thus far we've spent the vast majority of our existence working on case designs. We spent the first 8 months of 2016 working on our V1 case model, and then even after we got something we were happy with, we decided to go back to the drawing board in 2018, spending the first 10 months of the year sourcing new manufacturers in the process of re-designing our case from the ground up.
We love our current watch case and we've gotten a lot of positive feedback from customers and industry pros:
"The machining of the screw down crown is buttery smooth... Overall it's a very impressive case at this price point."
- Aron Dunlap, OFD Watches
By using our 10ATM rated Vaer V2 on the Heritage design we not only avoided wasting time and money on tweaking something that is already great, we also are able to maintain incredible agility in our assembly process.
When we released the Vaer Field model in May 2017, we vastly underestimated the popularity of the design and sold out of all the new models by the end of June (leaving us out of stock for most of the summer). This time around, we ordered extra Heritage dials, hands and 715 Ronda movements, allowing us to tweak our assembly schedule to match customer demand, and if necessary, even disassemble other models to avoid a sellout.
Using the same case on our three watch lines also helps us maintain our commitment to sustainability. Unlike large luxury brands, that destroy thousands of their own watches to control exclusivity or fast fashion brands that throw out their watch returns, we recycle everything. Our modular US-based assembly helps us maintain less than 0.5% product waste, which is both good for our business and the environment.
Note: As we increase our US-based production capacity we plan to expand our lineup with new case designs, for automatic and dive watches.
b) A Timeless Dial with Historical Relevance
Once we had settled on using our V2 case for the new design, the next question was determining a dial design that would effectively complement it. While we appreciate the future-facing design philosophy of brands like Klokers and Optic Instruments, we've always tended toward more traditional aesthetics. We use uncoated 316L steel, classical lug and bezel proportions, and simple movements (the Heritage uses the gold Swiss Made Ronda 715 quartz). In our opinion these features fit best with the simple, utilitarian dial designs of the 1940s and 50s.
Inevitably, this preference for time-tested "tool watches" has evolved into a strong passion for military-inspired designs. While our Vaer Field Watch and NATO bands are vaguely referential to the history of military timekeeping, for the Heritage model we wanted to more closely follow the design cues of a specific service watch.
The watch design that immediately stood out was from a set of timepieces commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense during World War II. The group of 12 watches, known in collectors circles today as The Dirty Dozen, were ordered from twelve Swiss companies: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor, and Vertex.
Each brand was tasked with building the best watch possible, based on the parameters of the following brief:
"The watches need to be accurate, reliable and durable. They need to be regulated to chronometer standards, and also be waterproof and shockproof. The watches also have to have a black dial, Arabic numerals, luminous hour and minute hands, luminous hour markers, a railroad minute track, a shatterproof crystal, and a stainless-steel case."
- Arthur Touchot, Hodinkee
The more we read about the Dirty Dozen watches, the more we knew the design would be a perfect fit for our brand. It was readable, functional, attractive, and had a fantastic story that both watch nerds and casual buyers could appreciate.
While the Longines version is apparently the most popular of the twelve, I personally prefer the design of the Cyma and Grana versions, and used those two as the primary inspiration for the Heritage dial.
Given the limitations of the Quartz movement we weren't able to create a direct replica of the Dirty Dozen versions (that's in the works for our first Automatic model). Instead, we've leveraged the key historical design cues (railway outer track, Arabic numerals, raised markers) to create our own contemporary homage.
In addition to the Dirty Dozen themed black dial (painted with a subtle satin finish) we also created a light cream color way. The warm, off-white dial offers a flat paint finish with black markers, and is inspired by the natural patina developed by pure white dials over several decades of use. Both watches have an upgraded BGW9 Super-LumiNova on the sword-shaped hour and minute hands and a bright red arrow-tipped second hand, for increased readability.
c) The World's Best Looking "Beater Watch"
We spend a lot of time tweaking the look and feel of our designs: from testing of Pantone color swatches, to research into raised paint application techniques, to debates on which type of '6' numeral best reflects our brand. Great design is in the details, and we constantly try to challenge ourselves in improving the look and feel of our products.
However at the end of the day, the most important design question we ask is: will it stay on your wrist. Is is tough enough to go on your next camping trip? Is it attractive, and well-made enough to be worn on a first date? Is it reliable enough to warrant years of use, and eventual repair?
Regardless of how much we like our Heritage design (and we like it a lot) the true test for this model will be determined by our customers. If you can take this watch anywhere and be comfortable, confident, and on-time then we've done our job. Given the models strong feature set, compelling design and strong initial customer reviews, we're confident that the Vaer Heritage will deliver on this promise.
Introduced: February 2019
Case Dimensions: 40mm diameter, 9mm thickness
Dial Opening: 33.5 mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Bands - 20mm width, Interchangeable
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Depth Rating - 10 ATM - 100m or 328ft
Watch Movement - Swiss Quartz Ronda 715
Crown - 3mm x 6mm, screw-down, 'Vaer' engraved
Glass - Scratch-resistant Sapphire crystal
Hands - Hour: 9mm, Minute: 11mm, Second - 15mm
Assembly: Los Angeles, California with Foreign Parts (Hong Kong, Switzerland)
Retail Price Range: $165-$199