Vaer debuts two new sporty mechaquartz chronographs Vaer debuts two new sporty mechaquartz chronographs

Vaer debuts two new sporty mechaquartz chronographs


Vaer is a brand we have not written up for some time. The last time it appeared on Time+Tide was during the summer of 2022 when Ricardo wrote about the orange dial A3 Atlas. The Los Angeles-based duo running the brand (Reagan and Ryan), however, have been quite busy since. Vaer’s ethos is to create solid, affordable, and sporty tool watches that generally boast good water resistance, robust construction, and legible dials. The same is true of the newest collection released by the brand, the R1 Chronograph. Vaer just added eight new models to the already existing seven, most of the latter being sold out. Let’s therefore take a look at two of the new models.

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The cases

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The two models under review today have the same case dimensions and design but differ in their finish. The R1 USA Rally Chronograph “Cream 40mm” is entirely made of stainless steel while the R1 Tactical Chronograph “40mm USA” is made of PVD-coated stainless steel. The latter endows the R1 with a stealthy, blacked-out look as well as extra resistance to shocks, scratches, and corrosion. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call the steel version the R1 Rally and the PVD variant the R1 Tactical. If you are familiar with Vaer, then you will surely be familiar with the case profile found on these two models: rounded flanks, short and thin lugs that turn down towards the wrist, and an ergonomic wrist presence thanks to their universal dimensions of 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, 13mm height, and 20mm lug width.

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The R1 Rally comes with satin-brushed finishes on the case flanks, the top of the lugs, as well as the upper section of the fixed bezel. Polished accents can be found on the chamfers and the bottom section of the bezel. The R1 Tactical displays the same alternation of finishes even though the case is PVD-coated. In terms of water resistance, both models come with a 100-meter depth rating thanks to a screw-down crown and caseback. Note that the chronograph pushers do not screw-down although they may appear so. Both models are completed with a double-domed sapphire crystal for everyday scratch resistance.

The dials

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Both models also have similar dial layouts where we find three TV-shaped sub-registers at the three, six, and nine positions. The first is a 24-hour indicator, the second is for the running seconds, and the third is a 60-minute totalizer. Where the two models differ is in their color treatments. The R1 Rally has a cream dial and red, yellow, and blue accents on the sub-registers. The R1 Tactical has a black dial with green accents. On both models, the 24-hour sub-register clearly separates the AM hours from the PM hours since each received a contrasting color.

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The R1 Rally, unlike the R1 Tactical, also has a clearer 60-minute totalizer since the minutes 0 to 20 are highlighted in yellow, the minutes from 20 to 30 in orange, and the minutes from 30 to 60 in red. Reading the time is made easy given the clear and efficient juxtaposition of Syringe-style hour and minutes hands with rectangular applied hour markers. The chronograph hands are painted in colors that match those found on the respective dials. In other words, cream on the R1 Rally and green on the R1 Tactical.

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Vaer did not put more emphasis on setting the chronograph hands apart from the dials and hour and minute hands to preserve visual harmony. Although it’s hard to show in photos, the applied hour markers have an interesting construction: the middle section is raised and filled with lume, and lume can also be found outside the markers and on the principal hands. Vaer opted for BGW9 SuperLuminova on both models and the R1 Tactical received a rather generous and funky application of it: all hands and Arabic numerals are lumed, as well as the outer part of the chapter ring.

The straps

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Each model can be had with a variety of rubber, nylon, and steel bracelets. The models reviewed here both came on a black waffle rubber strap where the hardware matches the color of the respective cases.

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The R1 Rally was also provided with the brand’s second-generation steel bracelet that has a three-link construction, screwed links, and an on-the-fly micro-adjust clasp. Note that all straps and bracelets come with quick-release spring bars for easy strap change.

The movement

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As indicated in the title of this review, the R1 Rally and R1 Tactical are meca-quartz chronograph watches. They are powered by the Seiko VK63 caliber assembled in the US (so are the watches), and which comes with a 40-month battery life and a stated accuracy of -10/+20 seconds per month. Being meca-quartz movements it means that the chronograph functionality (the pushers) is actuated with gears which makes them satisfyingly responsive.

Vaer R1 Chronograph pricing & availability

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The Vaer R1 Chronograph is available on the brand website. Price: US$399 (R1 Tactical), US$469 (R1 Rally)

Brand Vaer
Model R1 Chronograph
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 13mm (T) x 48mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel or PVD-coated steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Double-domed sapphire
Dial Cream or black
Bracelet Three-link steel bracelet with folding clasp
Rubber strap with pin buckle
Movement Seiko VK63, mechaquartz
Power Reserve 40 months
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, 24-hour indicator, chronograph
Availability Now
Price US$399 (R1 Tactical)
US$469 (R1 Rally)