The Navi Single Hand is Vario’s ode to the sea and taking it easy The Navi Single Hand is Vario’s ode to the sea and taking it easy

The Navi Single Hand is Vario’s ode to the sea and taking it easy

Borna Bošnjak

Though we often laud microbrands for having the freedom to explore all sorts of stylistic choices, many of them work themselves into their respective niches, executing one style of watch to a tee. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – but if variety from a single brand is what you’re after, then Vario may be the micro for you. WWI-era-inspired pilot’s and trench watches? Check. Reversible, rectangular dress watches? Check. Modern, Art Deco-inspired GMTs? Check again. The Singaporean brand is back with a curious proposition, the Navi Single Hand, inspired by both maritime adventure and, just kinda chilling? I can certainly get on board with that.

The dial

DSC 1184asm

The dial of the Navi Single Hand gets its inspiration from the art of navigation, capturing the essence of the ocean and its many colours. As with those traditional timekeepers, it embraces a single-handed design, with the dial segmented into 15-minute segments that offer somewhat accurate time-telling. Vario themselves admit punctuality wasn’t the primary goal here, saying that the Navi Single Hand “shows you time that generally matters, so you can live in the moment and not sweat the small stuff.” Just to make sure the watch is still running while the Breguet hour hand slowly creeps, you can glance at the compass-like seconds hand that kind of gives off Apple’s Safari logo vibes.

DSC 1198asm

As for the colours, the Single Hand isn’t available in an ocean-themed plethora of appropriate hues. The turquoise and navy blue represent the differing depths of the sea, the beige recalls sandy beaches, while the cloudy white and stormy grey are inspired by meteorological events out on the open water. All of the colourways are adorned with a stamped wave pattern that reinforces the nautical look.

The case

DSC 1209asm

While it may have been inspired by marine navigation instruments, the Navi Single Hand is a great deal more elegant than, say, a large compass or tabletop marine chronometer. Though its dial may be a modern take on the look, the Single Hand’s 38mm steel case is clearly vintage inspired, with twisted lugs, knurled crown and onion(ish) crown. With a height of just 11mm and a 46mm lug-to-lug, it certainly won’t wear overbearingly, either.

The double-domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating on the underside will help with legibility, and the screw-down, solid caseback helps with the 100-metre water resistance. It’s not the most impressive number for a watch so concerned with the sea, but I’m guessing it’ll be plenty for the majority of its customers – this isn’t a dive watch, after all.

The strap

DSC 1189a

Just as the brand doesn’t wax lyrical about them, only a short mention of the straps is in order. Vario states that they’re crafted from “German leather”, and though I’m not certain what that constitutes, I’ll assume it’s a variation of a supple, aged calfskin of some sort. Stylistically, I do like that the brand didn’t go with the usual blue-dial-blue strap thing, rather letting the customer pick whatever colour they think would suit best. Furthermore, the lug width is 20mm which is great news for your drawer-full of extra straps, as are the quick-release spring bars.

The movement

DSC 1241asm

A single-handed watch isn’t a common sigh these days, yet they’re fairly simple to execute, not requiring any fancy movement tomfoolery. The Navi Single Hand is no different, with Vario opting for a Miyota 8s25 automatic. This is the latest in line of Miyota’s budget 8000 line, and while most of them now feature hackable seconds, the unidirectional winding rotor is still here along with its inherent wobble, which may remain a bugbear to some. The movements used by Vario all have hacking seconds, along with a 40-hour power reserve and hand-winding. They’re also all hidden beneath a compass rose-emblazoned caseback – the right choice for this movement, in my opinion.

Vario Navi Single Hand pricing and availability

The Vario Navi Single Hand is available now, with limited availability depending on the dial colour being the following: 40 pieces (Storm Grey), 60 pieces (Sand Beige), 80 pieces (Cloud White, Clear Water Blue), 140 pieces (Deep Water Blue). Price: A$669, US$428

Brand Vario
Model Navi Single Hand
Case Dimensions 38mm (D) x 11mm (T) x 46mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Double-domed sapphire with AR coating
Dial Stamped wave motif in grey, navy, turquoise, white, beige
Lug Width 20mm
Bracelet German leather strap, steel pin buckle
Movement Miyota 82s5, automatic
Power Reserve 40 hours
Functions Hours, small seconds
Availability Limited depending on colourway
Price A$669