The VPC Type 37HW shows that watch reviewers make great watch designers The VPC Type 37HW shows that watch reviewers make great watch designers

The VPC Type 37HW shows that watch reviewers make great watch designers

Buffy Acacia
  • The VPC Type 37HW introduces the new brand of Thomas van Straaten from Fratello.
  • It’s full of features which demonstrate a watch reviewer’s attention to detail and utility.
  • The hand-wound SW216-1 movement is COSC-certified.

Deep down, I think every watch journalist thinks they could start their own watch brand. Not only do we critique new releases every day, but we engage with the watch community in a way that the big brands can’t compete with. Of course, it’s not all as simple as it sounds, but that hasn’t stopped Thomas van Straaten over at Fratello. Having documented his journey thoroughly through articles, we’ve now arrived at his first release under the brand name VPC. The VPC Type 37HW combines the ideals of vintage design with contemporary quality and utility, packed full of features you would only see from a thoughtful creator.

VPC Type 37HW 1

The main concept behind the VPC Type 37HW is to be a GADA watch, standing for “go anywhere, do anything”. That’s a highly subjective area, but Thomas’ personal tastes have played a big role in the overall design, and indeed the brand philosophy. VPC stands for Venustas Per Constantiam, which is Latin for Beauty Through Restraint. This idea of less is more is a prevalent one in watchmaking, especially when it comes to vintage or antique aesthetics. Without incorporating too many distracting complications or over-the-top looks, the Type 37HW can easily be matched with a suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt.

VPC Type 37HW 2

Starting with the shape of the case, it’s clear where a lot of the vintage inspiration has come from. There’s a distinctly 1940s theme, with the thick, flat bezel reminiscent of the Dirty Dozen entrant from Cyma. The lugs carry some Omega flair thanks to their polished flanks and lyre-like twists. The blend of brushed and polished surfaces establishes a look which isn’t too flashy, but also not outrightly utilitarian. One decision which gives me some pause is the hooded lug design, which essentially makes the circular edge of the case enclose the straight ends of the bracelet from above.

VPC Type 37HW 3

On a front angle, this gives the impression that the bracelet has been given fitted end-links, without sacrificing the flexibility of the links or the short 45mm lug-to-lug length. However, at certain angles it can look a bit like the watch is just sitting on top of a bracelet, and that there’s some sort of optical illusion going on for it to be fitted to the lugs. The effect is improved by a leather strap, but it’s also just something which might take time getting used to. It also does make the watch look a little bit taller on the wrist, despite having a pretty slender thickness of 9.8mm including the domed sapphire crystal.

VPC Type 37HW 4

The dial is wonderfully simple and sharp, with baton hour markers in Super-LumiNova and dauphine hands. Rather than a logo, Venustas Per Constantiam has been printed in a custom-designed typeface, aiming to echo the small print of early wristwatch dials. The small seconds sub-dial adds a layer of complexity without breaking away from refinement, and the rough dial texture evokes a sense of age, and almost an aventurine-like sparkle. It’s available in three colours, being a light Dove Grey, a moderate Delft Blue, and a Forest Green so dark it could easily be seen as black in dim lighting.

VPC Type 37HW 5

Powering the watch is a Sellita SW216-1, in its top grade configuration and chronometer-certified with an individual COSC certificate. The power reserve and beat rate are the same as other SW200-family movements, at 42 hours and 4Hz. It’s a hand-winding movement, which I do believe connects owners more closely to mechanical watches. However, the use of a screw-down crown to protect the 120m of water resistance will make it slightly more inconvenient to wind the watch whenever you need. Personally, I would have preferred a push/pull crown, but I understand that the screw-down action may provide a peace of mind for some wearers, even though it may not be crucial to attain this water resistance level.

VPC Type 37HW pricing and availability

The VPC Type 37HW will begin with a limited run of 300 numbered watches as a presale, with delivery estimated in 7-10 months. Price: €2,479 (exc. VAT)

Brand VPC
Model Type 37HW
Case Dimensions 37.5mm (D) x 9.8mm (T) x 45mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 120 metres
Crystal(s) Domed sapphire with AR coating
Dial Grey, blue, and dark green
Lug Width 20mm
Bracelet Stainless steel bracelet, folding clasp
Movement Sellita SW216-1, manual winding, COSC-certified
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds
Availability Limited to 300 numbered pieces (100 per colour)
Price €2,479 (exc. VAT)