The Vilhelm Elemental is not the type of watch I would choose to wear or buy. That is about as honest as I can get. Then why am I reviewing it you ask? Well, I review many watches that I would not normally wear, I mean it only makes sense that I don’t love every watch I review. It would be complete B.S. if I said that. We all have different tastes and styles, and of course that is okay. The Vilhelm Elemental greatly intrigued me though, so I had to see if I could get one for review. One of the men behind Vilhelm is Elshan Tang, who is the owner of Zelos and part owner of Ventus as well. Elshan has proved he knows what he is doing when it comes to producing unique, affordable watches. I had to get one of these in hand though to see what it was all about. Comprised of marbled carbon fiber, titanium and ceramic that houses an ETA 2824 automatic movement for $749, I knew it was a value right away.
Vilhelm Elemental Specifications:
- Case Material: Titanium, Ceramic and Carbon Fiber
- 43mm case
- 24mm lug width
- 14.5m thick
- 50mm lug to lug
- 96.9 grams
- ETA 2824 Automatic Movement
- Rubber Strap with Titanium Buckle
Price $749.00 USD
There is a simple reason I deem the Vilhelm Elemental a value. I have never seen a watch with this complex construction, out of these materials, for less than $10,000. The design is very much Avant Garde, much like Linde Werdelin or Sarpaneva Watches. And that is one of the main reasons that it would not be my go to choice, as I prefer a watch that is a little more toolish. This is more art, more look what we can do, yet I still think it is quite an attractive piece. The Vilhelm Elemental comes in 3 dial choices, the rose gold shown, a striking blue dial and a steel/grey dial.
Speaking of dials, the two piece dial is really quite nice. Even with the same rose gold hands and bottom dial, telling time is easy because of the black top dial which gives a nice contrast. The dial is essentially “clean” as well, no date, no numbers, no markers. When doing a dial like this though, you lose some functionality. It is the epitome of fashion over function, as timing things or measuring accuracy become a little complicated. Let’s face it though, this is not one of those watches you are going to strap on and go hiking with or wearing to do manual labor. It is a fashion piece, an eye catcher. We all have watches that we can use for those aforementioned purposes, this is about style and fun. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about accuracy as the Vilhelm Elemental houses the tried and true ETA 2824 automatic movement, seen through the sapphire case back.
The main case is comprised of the marbled carbon fiber, titanium lugs are attached as well as a ceramic bezel. It really is bad-ass to see all these materials being used for one watch and in an eye catching way, at least to me. The titanium lugs fit securely into notched out pockets of the carbon fiber, and the titanium case back is attached via flat head screws. The titanium is also bead blasted, keeping a matte look to the Vilhelm Elemental. While this watch is anything but subtle, having polished and brushed parts would have made it too blingy. All the edges are smooth, though due to the case construction itself, you can find yourself snagging the lugs on your pockets or jacket, as I did.
The Vilhelm Elemental wears smaller on the wrist than I thought it would. Square style cases tend to wear larger, and I thought it would look huge. A 50mm lug to lug helps to make it wearable for most. The wide strap does make it look bigger, at least from the sides of your wrist. The lug width is 24mm but the rubber strap is fitted to the case and flares outward, and then tapers to 22mm at the buckle. Natural rubber is used to make the strap and as such it is very comfortable, as is the CNC machined titanium buckle. When this model was on Kickstarter I believe one of the stretch goals was a fitted Kevlar strap. This strap is the one currently shown on the Vilhelm website. I don’t know if these straps will be available to the rest of the public or if they only made enough for their backers. It does look nice though from what I can see on the website. If fitted rubber straps are not your thing, you can put this on any 24mm strap you have, trust me it looks just fine, if not better depending on your perspective.
There is a great cool factor to the Vilhelm Elemental. While it is not for my collection or daily wear, I still think it is a strikingly beautiful watch. The electric blue model probably even more so, as admittedly rose gold is not my cup of joe either. Our tag line here at Watchreport is real, honest reviews, so I am just not going to lie and say I love to wear this piece. It was fun during the review process, and I did receive quite a few compliments and people asking to look at it. The great thing is that that I know I am not the demographic. I also know there are many watch enthusiasts out there that are. If you are looking for something different, for a watch using 3 high tech materials (elements) all together in a lightweight package, this is it. If you have always admired Linde Werdelin but could never fathom spending $12,000, you might want to give this one a closer look. It is without a doubt not for everyone, but it is funky, unique, beautiful and one hell of a watch for the price.