MICRO MONDAYS: The Vario Versa is two-faced in the best possible wayFergus Nash
Let’s not beat around the bush. If you’ve spent any time lusting over releases from Jaeger-LeCoultre, chances are that you’ve fallen in love with a few different versions of the Reverso Duoface. Similarly, if you’ve been following Cartier’s releases, the colourful additions to the Tank Must revival have had watch enthusiasts absolutely smitten from the start. The Vario Versa combines a number of elements from these classics of rectangular watch design in a package that’s distinct in its own right, affordable, and most importantly, flippable.
It’s important to note that by “flippable”, we don’t mean turning a profit. The case of the Vario Versa really does allow you to flip around the case-within-a-case and reveal a completely different dial, which we’ll cover more later. Stylistically, the case takes its cues from Steamline Moderne — an offshoot of Art Deco which softened those rigid motifs with curved edges and gave less focus to decorative ornamentation. The outer case is nicely bevelled and polished, with the inner rotating case acting like a slight stepped bezel with a similar high-polish and bubble-like curves.
The main word that comes to mind with the Vario Versa’s case is smooth, and that’s backed up by incredibly wearable dimensions that perfectly ride between modern and classical tastes. A width of 26mm and a total length of 40mm might seem tiny at first, but it has the dual benefit of evoking a vintage watch as well as being wearable by someone of any gender. Thickness isn’t an issue either, with flat sapphire crystals on both sides of the case measuring 12mm apart. The Vario Versa is also a prime candidate for strap fashion shows with a 20mm lug width opening up the aftermarket possibilities.
The current trend towards colourful dials is absolutely my favourite development in watches since I’ve been interested in them, and Vario have gone the extra mile by using enamel instead of choosing an easy option. The subtle diffusion of light as it scatters across the different colours of enamel is truly hypnotic, and it explains why so much of the dial space has been reserved for pure, untouched colour. The main face of the watch simply displays the printed Vario logo, two silver leaf hands, and a printed minute track with bolded lines at the hour markers and diamonds at the quarters.
Regardless of whether you choose the red, blue, or green dial options of the Vario Versa, your second dial on the reverse will be the silver sector dial. This side has a lot more details you can sink your teeth into, from the Art Deco numerals at the quarters, to the vertically brushed outer section, the blued hands, and the screws in each corner of the inner case. The “V” on the Vario logo is a little bit anachronistic with the vintage style of the rest of the watch, but it summarises the brand’s quirky charm incredibly well and doesn’t feel at odds with the watch.
It’s a bit of an elephant in the room with most GMT watches that you can only adjust your home timezone in single hour increments, so what are you meant to do if you go to or come from a place with a half-hour or 45 minute time zone such as India or the middle third of Australia? The easy answer is to wear two watches, but the Vario Versa has simplified matters by shoving two ultra-thin movements up against each other in the same case to be adjusted individually. The Ronda Slimtech 1062 measures only 1.9mm tall, yet can still supply a watch with 6 years of battery life.
The Vario Versa pricing and availability:
The Vario Versa is limited to just 100 pieces in each colour variant, although we can only hope that there will be future releases in this exciting formula. Price: US$428 RRP
|Case Dimensions||27mm x 40mm x 12mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire with anti-reflective coating|
|Dial||Green, blue, red with silver reverse|
|Strap||Leather with deployant clasp|
|Movement||Ronda Slimtech 1062|
|Power Reserve||6 years|
|Availability||Limited to 100 pieces per colour|