We recently spent some hands on time with the Design 1 from Alexander Venacci, a micro-brand watchmaker making some serious steps towards creating a watch that embodies what the brand represents and the direction it seems the brand is headed in.
Alexander Venacci's Design 1 took a full year to develop. From the initial draft drawings to the creation of the final prototype, the end to end process involved operations not that dissimilar to an established and well known watchmaking manufacturer, including the use of 3D models, technical drawings and analytics as well as countless hours of redevelopment and fine tuning. The end result is evident in the product, which I can say full of confidence, is exquisite.
The Design 1 is available in a variety of dial, metal and strap variations, but we went with the tried and true black dial paired with a stainless steel case. From the outset, we found the Design 1 to have drawn inspiration from a variety of iconic watches, including the Nautilus, the Laureato and to an extent the Overseas. But as a whole, the watch was in its own right unique.
The stainless steel case features multiple levels each based on an octagon, with each level featuring subtle yet distinguishable brushings and bevellings on the surface. The step down from each level is sharp yet clean, and the angular aspect of the lugs round off what is a very flowing look. The crown features a similar octagonal shape with an insert that is like the proverbial cherry on top.
The black dial has had a matte finish applied to it, and in doing so Alexander Venacci has added an element of depth and personality to a rather large expanse of space. The Design 1 lacks a date window, but I feel that its inclusion would have been at the expense of an uninterrupted flow. The dial also features some subtle features, including the hour marker at 12 o'clock depicting the letters 'A & V', the first letters of the watchmaker's name, along with a triangle marker at 6 o'clock, symbolising the brand's ethos of always looking up and never giving up.
Powering the Design 1 is the automatic STP1-11 movement, boasting a power reserve of just under 2-days and a beating frequency of a silky smooth 4Hz. The movement, while sourced externally, does feature some very fine finishing techniques, including circular graining and Côtes de Genève. Additionally, the Design 1 has a very easy to use quick-release strap changing function which does away with the use of tools.
I was fairly impressed with the Design 1. I felt that Alexander Venacci had spent an enormous amount of time and effort in designing and creating what is the best possible watch that it can produce at this moment in time. High quality, very beautiful and super accessible, the Design 1 ticks a lot of my boxes as being one of the better watches to purchase in this ever-expanding market niche of micro-brands.
The Alexander Venacci Design 1 is priced from $695USD.