Vanguart is a new must-know player in the high-end timepiece game

The world of luxury watches is one that remains quite mysterious to many. There is a certain level of allure, glamour, and an enticing exclusivity that draws collectors to its flame. In a realm that is full of heavyweight players, the appearance of a newcomer is brave, risky, and bold.

Enter: Vanguart. Fresh, stunning, elite, and helmed by industry experts. This new brand-on-the-block knows what it brings to the table.

Vanguart is a name that is most likely new to you, but one that you ought to get used to hearing about. The luxury horology brand based out of the Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland was founded by Thierry Fisher, Jeremy Frelechox, Axel Leuenberger and Mehmet Koruturk.

“As a new brand, we have the opportunity to create without the historical constraints established brands encounter. This allows us to freely use our creativity, surpassing our usual limits whether in aesthetics or mechanical design,” says chairman Mehmet Koruturk.

See also: 5 Things Every Watch Collector Should Know This 2021

The Founders

With a background in finance, Koruturk discovered the watchmaking world through his work with a private equity fund that owned an F1 Team. His newfound passion pushed him to found a creative agency specialising in collaborations between watch brands, artists, and athletes.

Axel Leuenberger (CEO) and Jeremy Frelechox (CTO), on the other hand, worked for Audemars Piguet Renaud and Papi (the training ground for watchmaking’s finest), plus were behind some of the most acclaimed watches of the past decade.

Meanwhile, Thierry Fischer (creative director) worked for Etude de Style, as a senior watch designer and head of CGI. Koruturk shares that his partners “wanted to transition from ghost designers to having their own brand,” and thus Vanguart was born.

See more: 4 Ultra-Rare Philippe Dufour Watches Are Heading to Auction This November

The Black Hole

As the brainchild of these luxury watch industry’s leaders, Vanguart’s first-ever timepiece (released September 20th), The Black Hole, is a creation with four complications and one simplification, and 635 components fitting in an only 8mm thick movement. With five years of design work, three years of engineering & four partial prototypes, The Black Hole enters the market, ready to impress.

In creating their inaugural watch, the team assessed the product from the perspective of the wearer, but also from the point of view of the environment it may be in, from apparel to materials. Vanguart kept the vision of an ergonomic and comfortable horological creation in mind, in terms of size, weight, and shape throughout the entire design process.

“Our first model features four complications; a flying tourbillon, a jumping minute automaton, a countdown mode, and a power reserve. Additionally, we have created a world-first “simplification”: a mechanical joystick allowing you to play with the time,” Koruturk expounds.

The brand launched The Black Hole with a bang, even joining forces with their most famous investor, basketball megastar James Harden. He has been named NBA MVP, and has been appointed as Vanguart’s creative advisor and brand ambassador too. Following The Black Hole launch, a limited-edition series of watches designed by James Harden will also be released in the near future.

Read more: Why Should Women Invest in Watches? 

Philippine Investment

Why should you pay close attention to this brand out of all others? Well, not only for their expert team or celebrity partner but because it has Asian ties too, thanks to Filipino Dr Hayden Kho’s investment.

The businessman and doctor serendipitously met co-founder Leuenberger during the Salon International de l’Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. During one fateful breakfast chat Leuenberger noticed Kho’s watch. As chance would have it, what was one of Kho’s favourite timepieces happened to be co-designed by Leuenberger himself. As the conversation blossomed, plans for what would become Vanguart were shared, whetting Kho’s entrepreneurial appetite. Long story short, he ended up being one of the first investors to jump on board and has become a valued consultant.

“To have a well-known collector like Hayden on our cap table from the very beginning has been great in many ways,” shares Koruturk.

“I remember when Axel first presented the concept I immediately appreciated how unique it was. The idea to combine several complications with a “simplification” is just so out-of-the-box. The design is not a derivative of any timepiece I’ve ever seen. Then, of course, there’s the [brilliant] team behind it. I invested without a second thought,” Kho enthuses.

See also: 7 Of The Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold At Auction

Asian Market

“Whether on the creative or business side, Hayden’s input is very important for us not only because of his knowledge of watches but also because of his status and network in the region,” Koruturk shares.

The Asian market is one that has intrigued and captivated brands from all sectors. Vanguart naturally wanted to be sure they could make their entry felt and voice heard in the territory. When it comes to Kho’s involvement in the brand’s development, he plays a key role in marketing, public relations, and sales.

“The next challenge is to get connoisseurs to take notice and be blown away by how special this timepiece is. This is the part I am most involved with. Since I’ve been a watch collector for 20 years, I’ve built a network of key opinion leaders in the world of watches. I meet with the team regularly to discuss marketing and PR strategies specially for the Asian market,” outlines Kho.  

Related: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, John F Kennedy, And More: 6 US Presidents And Their Most Important Watches

Why The Philippines?

“The Philippines is a very interesting market for us,” Koruturk exclaims. “There is a strong potential for independent brands in Manila with a base of experienced collectors. With a friend like Hayden in town, Manila will be a natural location choice for us to start our Asian activities,” he adds.

“This piece will please both new collectors and seasoned ones because behind the simplicity offered to its wearer, there’s a hidden world behind the dial that can be visible from the sapphire glass on the back of the case. It’s a complexity offered to connoisseurs to discover the mechanical universe of The Black Hole while enjoying the handmade finishing of haute watchmaking,” Koruturk elaborates.

Kho chimes in to say that “the Philippines has never been part of the development and design of high-calibre timepieces like Vanguart”. This new frontier opens the country up to a plethora of opportunities – an experience that he and the whole team are looking forward to.

See more: Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur Spider Pirelli Has Straps Made from Race Tyres

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.