I’ve been visiting watch fairs for nearly 20 years and made it a habit to ask the watch designers I befriended what their favourite watches were among those displayed by big and small brands. Every time I was surprised by how different their Top Ten list was from the ones suggested by watch media friends and retailers. I often rushed to see the beautiful details of a particular timepiece I had missed or taken for an oddity. These details, explained to me by professional creators, changed the way I viewed these miniature works of art. Like paintings in a museum presented by a knowledgeable curator, they reveal hidden meanings and details. The Beaubleu Vitruve Date Steel is a timepiece about design and details. While it is perfectly capable of telling time – and date – it has to be appreciated for the details and the luxurious execution of the creator’s ideas.
Beaubleu is a brainchild of Nicolas Ducoudert-Pham, who, the Beaubleu’s website claims, worked for the Grande Maisons of Place Vendôme. The influence is easy to spot, and Vitruve Date proves that Ducodert-Pham was a good learner; his creation is packed with design features and finishing options associated with the luxury segment. And it has distinctive characteristics that ultimately shape the brand image. See if you agree; it is amazing how much excitement a steel case can produce when worked on with imagination.
The Vitruve Date is a 39mm watch with a lug-to-lug distance of 45mm (lug width is 20mm) and a height of 9.6mm. As the measurements imply, the watch is slim, relatively small, and should please both sexes; in short, a universal product. The case design is intricate, as if it were constructed from many parts. The “skeletonised” lugs enveloping the central case part create this complex look. The main part is polished, and the lugs are brushed; this combination produces an interesting effect. The outer bezel part is mirror polished to reflect the “environment” – the skin on the right and the clothing on the left, creating a see-through illusion as if holes are cut out on the sides. The dial under the anti-reflective sapphire crystal is brushed, matching the case finishing, and the crystal allows an unobstructed view of the dial, a beauty. The dial is made of two levels (a sandwich dial), with the lower base and top part.
The applied indexes appear in the form of polished steel rings above the round cut-outs; the hours are marked from 2 to 10, forming an inner circle, with the Beaublue logo completing the figure. “Automatique” and “Paris” are the only identification marks found on the dial, with a date appearing through the circular aperture at 6 o’clock. The date is white on a blue background; the font is the same as the numerals for the hours, which underscores the Vitruve Date “designer’s watch” feel.
Now, the epitome of Nicolas Ducoudert-Pham creative side is concentrated in the circular hands – yes, this piece is very much about the circular nature of things. The brand says Galileo Galilei’s teachings inspired this feature. Watch fans may recognise and compare the Beaublue implementation with the one offered a few years back by a Russian-made Raketa Copernicus, inspired by another famous scientist’s legacy.
The Vitruve Date hours and minutes hands have a small indicator dot that makes it easy to read the time once you get used to the format. The seconds circle is blued and perfectly round and moves around the dial with grace – it is hard not to launch into romantic comparisons with stars, moons, and planets.
The caseback is transparent, and the movement inside the Beaubleu Vitruve Date is an automatic Miyota 9015 with some decoration, and a brand name is engraved on the rotor. The caseback also reminds you that the watch comes in a limited edition of 888; I guess the number was chosen for the Chinese numerology’s triple fortune meaning.
The Beaubleu Vitruve Date Steel is offered on a mesh “semi-integrated” bracelet or a strap, with a few colours to choose from; there is also a version with a black dial. The mesh bracelet is the winner and provides the watch with a look one might compare to that of a modern steel and glass building. The strap softens this beautifully brutal image, but grey is the choice. The watch will cost you EUR 820 with a strap and EUR 950 with a stainless steel mesh bracelet with a clasp. A small price for the quality and design this Vitruve Date represents. Well done, Beaubleu.
For more details and orders, please visit www.beaubleu-paris.com.
Sponsored post: This article is sponsored by Beaubleu Paris. However, it reflects the writer’s opinion and has been written according to MONOCHROME’s editorial policy.