One of the most innovative watches I have had the pleasure of handling over the past two years is the Vanguart Black Hole Tourbillon. It features a flying whirlwind acting as a black hole with surrounding time disks forming a “vortex”. Additionally, a “joystick” controls the time setting, winding and functionality, which includes a countdown timer, instead of the usual crown.
Different from any other luxury timepiece currently on the market, it also has true horological pedigree in the form of Axel Leuenberger as one of the company’s four co-founders. Leuenberger’s previous experience includes assisting Giulio Papi in R&D at Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi (APRP), where he worked on product development for Richard Mille, HYT and Chanel, among others.
Jérémy Freléchox, CTO, was a designer of mechanical movements at APRP for 15 years and before that at Girard-Perregaux for 6 years. He masters the most complicated elements of horology, including minute repeaters, tourbillons and perpetual calendars. And the idea for the black hole was born with creative director Thierry Fischer in 2011, long before Vanguart’s idea was on the table. Fischer is a watch designer and CGI specialist.
Joining these three Swiss watch industry insiders is Mehmet Korutürk, co-founder and chairman of Vanguart SA. And then there’s the backing of ultra-famous basketball legend James Harden as a shareholder in addition to being a brand ambassador. Korutürk explains how this happened.
“I met James Lorenzo McCloud’s manager in Palo Alto at Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive’s Christmas party. He was very interested in our project when I told him I was launching a new fine watch brand. in Switzerland. I knew that James was a seasoned watch collector and I was surprised that one of the most elite athletes in the world didn’t have a collaboration with an existing brand. My partner and co-founder Axel Leuenberger and I met James and Lorenzo in Houston a few months later, just before the playoffs, and we talked at length about joining forces. James — the NBA’s most valuable player that year — became one of our very first investors at a time when we only had first model computer designs. We couldn’t find a better person than him to relaunch Vanguart: he’s not only one of the best players in to us the times, but also by far the most stylish and best-dressed name in the NBA. We’ll be launching our first collaboration in his honor during his birthday weekend this summer in Texas.
For more information on this watch, its technical details and its genesis, see Vanguart Black Hole Tourbillon: With a flying tourbillon orbited by “Vortex” display discs and joystick control time.
James Harden, Vanguard and watches
Harden is currently one of the most visible talents in the NBA, not only for his skill and success in the sport, but also for his style choices. Interestingly, he only started getting into watches when he entered the NBA, after borrowing a watch for the draft, “and from there it was something that I knew I wanted to have,” he told me in an exclusive email interview.
A Casio G-Shock was his very first watch. “These were there when I got drafted into the NBA, so I got a couple of them in my rookie year,” he explained, with the rookie year being the one in which he started collecting watches. “I like hard-to-get, exclusive watches that have a strong sense of identity,” Harden continued before adding that he’s looking for quality over quantity.
“Richard Mille is what I’ve been wearing lately,” he told me in response to the question about what types of complications he prefers. “They have a lot of styles and all of them have appreciation value. As an athlete I love the chronograph function to time performance and as a perfectionist a tourbillon is always a great addition for ultimate precision. Vanguard’s Black Hole has a unique countdown complication, which I find extremely interesting.
Harden told me that he always wanted to partner with a watch brand. “Vanguart gave me the autonomy to create, which made it a no-brainer. I have so many ideas, and since everything is designed in-house, I have full creative input,” he said. he explained, “Independent brands are increasingly establishing themselves in the world of luxury watchmaking. The team had been behind some of the most intricate and acclaimed timepieces of the past decade for some of my favorite brands. When they showed me their project, we immediately clicked. They have a unique vision and bring a new style to the world of watchmaking.
And of course, this unique high-end watch goes perfectly with Harden’s personal style. “The watch is a real eye-catcher in a room, the display is so eye-catching. And since I really like my style, the interchangeable strap mechanism makes it easy for me to match my watch to my outfit.
For more information, please visit www.vanguard.com.
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