VOGARD is a Swiss watch brand founded by Michael Vogt. The brand is known for creating the first mechanical watch in the world that enables the wearer to easily change time-zones by simply rotating the bezel either backwards or forwards.
When Michael set-out to establish his own watch making atelier in 2003, he had a sole ambition: to make his VOGARD brand the number one reference in traveller’s watches. More than six years later and his unique design remains the only wristwatch to offer instant time zone adjustment with a simple twist of the bezel.
When Vogard founder Michael Vogt worked in senior marketing roles for some of Switzerland’s best-known watch brands he travelled between more than 100 countries – and that is when he discovered a gaping hole in the market for a stylish, dependable, mechanically-powered GMT watch that didn’t demand complex and laborious adjustments every time its wearer arrived in a new time zone.
It was this that inspired him, back in 1997, to explore the possibility of creating a wristwatch that could be ‘toggled’ between time zones – no matter how many hours apart – by the simplest, most convenient method possible.
Extensive research into the history of horology during the past 200 years revealed that the watch makers of old were only interested in accounting for astronomical phenomena with their timepieces, whereas what Vogt wanted to do was to find a simple answer to the political phenomenon applied during the 1884 International Meridian Conference at which the world was divided into 24 time zones, with Greenwich in the U.K. as Zero Meridian and further Meridians at every 15 degrees.
Vogt’s vision was to create a watch in which the bezel would form part of the movement and, when turned in either direction, would enable instant adjustment of the hour hand. It sounds simple, but the logistics of perfecting such a mechanism presented major mathematical and mechanical challenges which took six years to overcome.
When the concept for the original Vogard watch was unveiled at the Baselworld show in 2003, it was immediately recognised as offering a unique solution to the time zone problem thanks to its ingenious mechanism that was perfected and engineered by Switzerland’s most talented independent watchmakers.
The patented system links the watch movement with both the case and the bezel, so that when the latter is turned it engages a crown wheel which, through a miniature clutch and a sophisticated gearing system, adjusts the position to the 12 and 24 hour hands of the watch. Depending on the model, the bezel is engraved with 24 or 36 different time zone locations which are pre-synchronized with the mechanism during assembly as well as ‘s’ positions that account for areas using DST – Daylight Saving Time.
In order to switch from one time zone to another, all the wearer has to do is open a hinged lever at the side of the case, rotate the bezel in either direction until the relevant city is aligned with the 12 o’clock position and then re-close the lever. The watch is now set to the local time, and the locking lever prevents the bezel from being accidentally adjusted.
The operation takes as little as three seconds from start to finish, making the system as useful for the busy executive who simply wants to check the time on the other side of the world before calling a colleague as it is for the international traveller landing in a totally different timezone from the one he or she took off from. And regardless of the number of times the watch is adjusted, the movement continues to run as normal, ensuring no loss of accuracy between time zone changes.
VOGARD has crafted the first mechanical watch in the world which enables the wearer to easily change time zones with a simple rotation of the bezel. At the heart of this mechanical marvel is a new watch making vision which integrates bezel, case and movement engineering into one smoothly-functioning unit. The result is a traveler’s watch with previously unattainable practicality for the wearer. The VOGARD Timezoner® system also is the first ever to allow, at a turn of the bezel, for the indication of Daylight Savings Time in a given location.
In accordance with the internationally approved time zone system the bezel is marked with 24 destinations, one per time zone. The watch has been developed for frequent travelers who are overseas and who eventually need to reset their watch to the local time at their destination. With VOGARD, the travelers no longer need to know the time difference to GMT or to their home time, but only need to dial the desired destination on the bezel. Thanks to a sophisticated system of transmission wheels, the watch automatically sets the correct local time at the selected destination.
The Timezoner® system is a breakthrough development in the engineering of mechanical Swiss traveler’s watches. It is patent-pending and consists of 3 interacting parts:-
1. The Turning bezel is activated or deactivated by a lever hinged onto the case.
2. The crown wheel in the watch case transfers the turning of the bezel mechanically to the movement.
3. The heart is the mechanical Caliber ‘Timezoner 01’ (see image). A sophisticated system of wheels transmits the movement of the crown wheel accurately to the hour hands.
This complication is exclusively engineered and manufactured by VOGARD. VOGARD assembles all timepieces in its own ateliers in Nidau, Switzerland. Every single timepiece is subject to a severe control of precision. The average tolerance is between 0 sec. and +10 seconds per day.
The watch case
– Antimagnetic stainless steel 316L, titanium or 18 karat gold 5N, polished or brushed by hand.
– Engraved case back with 4 screws and a see-through mineral glass.
– Inside and outside curved sapphire crystal.
– Dials with applied indexes or Superluminova C1.
– Extra large and faceted hands with Superluminova C1 for easy reading and extra-strong luminescence at night.
– Diameter: 43 mm or 48 mm
– Water resistant to 100 meters (330 feet).
The turning bezel
– Brushed or polished ring in stainless steel 316L or 18kt gold 5N with invisible gearing underneath.
– Exchangeable bezel inlay in brushed steel or polished alloy.
VOGARD’s starting vision is that the real luxury for people is to have time and to have the freedom of decision where to go and when. This is why VOGARD is primarily addressing travelers who are able to plan their own agenda. Entrepreneurs of any kind, pilots, sports professionals or modern adventurers share this philosophy. The company wants to serve watch enthusiasts who travel the world. The essence of the brand is expressed with the slogan ‘The Time of your World’. Truly respecting this philosophy, VOGARD adapts the destinations on the bezel to the specific needs of its target groups.
♦ Business Officers: Bezel with 24 major cities and capitals
♦ Licensed Pilots: Bezel with 24 Airport codes
♦ Bogey Golfers: Bezel with the world’s 24 most exciting golf courses.
♦ Motor sport fans: Bezel with Formula 1 racing courses
In addition, a very special model to all discerning travelers is the PERSONAL EDITION, in which owners may select a customized bezel with up to 24 of their favorite destinations. The owner will receive a certificate which guarantees that it will be registered as a single piece and that it will never again be produced in the identical execution unless written consent is given by that owner.
The watch collection features models in steel, titanium or 18 karat gold retailing in a range between US $ 7’000 to $ 35’000 (ca Euro 5’000 to 25’000). The brand is distributed through selected high-quality jewelers at prestigious resorts and in major cities.
VOGARD founder Michael ‘Mike’ Vogt started in the watch industry at the age of 20 when he joined Swatch Group in 1983. After studying for an MBA in economics and marketing at Switzerland’s prestigious University of St Gallen he became European brand manager for Unilever in London before joining TAG Heuer in 1991 as international marketing manager, a post in which he worked directly with the sponsored athletes such as Michael Schumacher and the late Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna to create high performance chronographs.
He then moved to Ebel as world-wide marketing director, a role in which he gained huge experience from the legendary watch industry guru Pierre-Alain Blum. Next he went to Gucci where he launched with Tom Ford two of the brand’s most significant collections.
It was during these high-pressure roles that took him to more than 120 countries around the world that he realised there was a gap in the market for a good-looking, simple-to-use, highly functional time zone watch that could be re-set without all the usual button-pushing and crown-spinning that was required of current models.
His conviction that such a watch should be available was so great that he spent more than five years researching, developing and perfecting his own patented ‘Timezoner’ mechanism which would allow his unique ‘VOGARD’ watches to be adjusted from one time zone to another by simply opening a lever and rotating the bezel.
The VOGARD name is formed from a contraction of Vogt’s family name and the term ‘avant garde,’ an expression used to describe a creation that is ahead of its time.
When the prototype VOGARD watches were unveiled at the Baselworld show in 2003, the concept proved to be highly appropriate – no one had seen anything like it before, and the mechanism attracted huge enthusiasm from watch industry experts, retailers, enthusiasts and, above all, the globe-trotting individuals whom Vogt first had in mind when he set out on his quest to create a truly unique time zone watch.
The first VOGARD watches went on sale in 2004, since when the brand has developed a following from thousands of satisfied clients around the world. In addition to the standard Business Officer model, versions with specially engraved bezels have been produced for golfing enthusiasts, licensed aircraft pilots and stockbrokers. In addition Vogt’s love of sport, and of motor racing in particular, has led him to create editions marked with the names of the world’s most important race circuits.
Official website: http://www.vogard.com