Valbray - Argentique
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
Valbray - Argentique

Argentique

Valbray

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The diaphragm has fascinated us all in our childhood, now on the wrist, with freedom to play with it .

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

OCULUS SYSTEM

The revolutionary obturator system of Valbray, that recalls the intensity diaphragms of photography, is a pure example of a contemporary micro-mechanical masterpiece, applied in the watchmaking tradition.

The system is composed of 16 extra thin blades, entirely integrated in a rotating bezel measuring only 45 mm in diameter and 7 mm in width. The diaphragm opens and closes by slowly sliding the blades on each other on a constant and regular circular shape. Protected by three layers of ultra technical coating, they maintain their elasticity and color and resist to rubbing.

At the maximum aperture of the bezel, the blades completely disappear, releasing a different underlying dial measuring 30 mm in diameter.

 

This exceptional timepiece presents a fine brushed titanium case, black DLC-treated with polished chamfers. In distinction, pushers and crown are in steel polished. This pretty contrast of black and white is also offered by the dial, where the fine black honeycomb grid is over a steel polished  base. The bezel is decorated by white engravings reminding those present on the camera lenses. In the same spirit, finishing “Clous de Paris”, the red touch of the chronograph hand and the “V” recall the legendary 35mm cameras. Tribute to the world of photography, it is limited to 36 numbered pieces. 

Technical specifications

REFERENCE VR01I LIMITED EDITION 36 ex.
 
CASE :
  • Bezel: 46 mm
  • 
grade 5 titanium 316L stainless steel black DLC treatment
  • Patented waterproof 5 ATM
  • Crystal Sapphire crystal anti-reflective double-sided bezel Sapphire 
 on transparent background
  • Circular diaphragm consisting of 16 strips ultrafine integrated 
 
 in the rotating bezel operated manually by turning 90 °
MOVEMENT :
  • Automatic mechanical 
 Rotor with openwork arms
  • Frequency: 28'800 alt / h (4 Hz)
  • 25 functional jewels
  • 44 hours power reserve
  • Dual display: chronograph / hours, minutes
DIAL :
  • Layered on honeycomb grid
  • Diaphragm: 16 blades with black multilayer coating
STRAP :
  • Black alligator, gray seams 
 deployant buckle patented ultra-thin

Who's who

Two years ago, when Valbray came to show Laurent Picciotto their first watches, his initial reaction was very positive: “A lot of us have been waiting for something like this!” he said delightedly. “This”, for the proprietor of Chronopassion, was a shutter system on the watch face, forging a link between watchmaking and photography. With a completely new and ingenious system of tiny strips laid one on top of the other, Valbray has made it possible for the wearer to cover or expose all or part of the dial by turning the bezel. The appeal of this is quite simply that of having two watches in one – two faces for the same timepiece. Be that as it may, true to form, Laurent Picciotto was keen to go still further. “The shutter was a great idea, but more could be done with it,” he explains. “I liked the idea of a cover being used for something other than just covering. Perhaps, I thought, there could be several levels of telling the time on the same dial. I didn’t want the shutter to be merely an accessory. The entire watch needed to be organised around it.” Valbray duly noted the suggestion, but didn’t act on it straightaway. The brand had just been launched, on the back of a huge amount of R&D investment, and at that early stage, Valbray felt it had to convince the market that its approach was sound. But one day at the Basel fair, as Laurent Picciotto was treading the aisles seeking new talent, the Valbray team called him over and invited him backstage to show him the second generation of the product. Picciotto couldn’t help but smile – the watch featured a partially-opening shutter, revealing multiple levels of information! “Valbray had taken on board my modest contribution and – probably without even remembering where it came from – produced a new prototype very much along the lines of what I’d suggested when we first met,” says Laurent Picciotto. In the end, Valbray’s new design was to include three levels of shutters, each with a different type of covering, atop a tried and tested Dubois-Depraz base movement. Laurent Picciotto liked “the fresh approach and the fun side to the watch” – and welcomed the brand to the Chronopassion store. The adventure has only just begun, and has a promising future, just like its team: “calm, attentive and very determined,” in the words of Laurent Picciotto.

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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