Vogard, a relatively obscure Swiss brand, will soon present its new Vogard Datezoner Chronograph Automatic (ref. DZ 6931): the first one that lets you set current date not by turning the crown, but simply using the rotating bezel: just pull the safety lock lever above the place where a setting crown would usually be and you are good to go. This must be a very useful complication if you happen to often travel from Tokyo to Los Angeles and back.
The complication becomes possible thanks to a special synchronization wheel that directly drives the date disk upon activation. A task was not that easy to accomplish since the leverage provided by the rotating bezel is enough to tear the fragile movement apart. Being absolutely honest here, I must say that the design is still new and there is still no information on how the movement will work in the long run: after all, the strain put on the mechanism still seems to be very impressive.
While many brands, both established and young, often turn to third parties when they need a new complication, Vogard prefers to do this (almost) solely in-house. While the strategy probably increases their production costs with all the engineering and labor that goes into mechanisms that are manufactured on a relatively low scale, it also lets the Swiss-based watchmaker charge a healthy premium for their timekeepers noticeably improving their bottom line.
According to the company, the Datezoner 01 self-winding movement itself is also a 90 percent in-house job with the rest being outsourced to those who can do them better. For example, the mechanism’s mainplate, a cornerstone of any mechanical movement that ensures all the structural strength necessary to achieve adequate ability for the movement to keep good time, is claimed to be done by “a leading manufacturer of aviation components.”
The movement is packed inside a huge, brutal-looking case. Made of titanium carbide, the case is whole 48 mm in diameter, which makes it not just large, but clearly gargantuan, even for a sporty watch.
As usual for the brand, the timekeeper’s signature bezel is decorated with different time zones and the carbon-fiber dial is equipped with a rose gold plaque that imitates a dashboard of a sports car (the same decoration was used on their recent Chronozoner GMT watch.)
As you can see on the photos, the setting crown is for some reason transferred from its usual position to a place at 6 o’clock. This makes setting the time with the watch on your wrist a little difficult, I would guess.
At the same time, the chronograph push pieces are placed at 4 and 8 o’clock, which makes operating the function a lot easier for those who actually plan to use the chrono for some real-life applications that I honestly can’t imagine right now.
See also: Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec Calendar
Vogard Datezoner Chronograph Automatic (ref. DZ 6931) specification
Movement: Automatic, Caliber Datezoner 01 (base ETA 7750,) Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, chronograph
Case: Titanium carbide
Bezel: 18-karat rose gold (pictured) / Black steel
Size: 48.00 mm
Dial: Carbon fiber
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective