Votum Watches Heritage
Another hibernating brand has been brought back to life, this time Votum. I have had the Votum Watches Heritage model in hand for a few weeks and I must say there is a lot I like about it, and a few things I do not. But first, who were Votum Watches and who brought them back out of deep sleep? Well, two Swiss Designers, François Zahnd – Owner and CEO of watch manufacturing company Fashiontime ltd. and Rolf Bodmer – graphic designer from Zürich are at the helm of the current Votum. Doing a little research, they bought the rights to the name in 2015, and in 2016 ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to help with funding. What is interesting and easily searchable is there was another Votum Watches campaign on Kickstarter, but in 2015. These Votum Watches were MUCH different and under $100, and pretty much cheap fashion watches. They had a different logo and reminded me of MVMT Watches in terms of aesthetic. They were made in Hong Kong, not Switzerland, and they were unsuccessful in getting funded. I am guessing this was before the current owners got rights to the Votum name. I do find it weird that two Votum brand ran a Kickstarter campaign within a year of each other. With all that said, let’s take a look a the inspiration for the Heritage model, a classic Votum.
Votum Watches Heritage Specifications:
If you take a look at the vintage model and then the modern version, you can see where they got the inspiration for the Votum Watches Heritage model. There are a few other models from Votum as well, with different dials and features, but all share the same case design. Since I only have the Heritage in hand and it is the closest to one of the classic models, I will focus on just this one, but if you like what you see, check out the Votum website for the others. One thing that stands out immediately is that there are not the same amount of lines on the dial on the new vs. the old. While I am usually a fan of less is more, I feel the vintage model looked better, more cohesive if you will. Also, for some reason they chose to double brand the dial, with a logo and the brand spelled out. If you look at the classic model, it was much classier in my opinion with the brand name on the dial. I wish the new owners went with a modern take on that instead of the current face.
Now, I know it is difficult to resurrect a brand, even a brand that might not have been very well known in its heyday. When I first saw this new Votum, the name sounded familiar, but I do not remember them being discussed as a vintage brand to own either. Granted, there were so many brands from the 60’s and 70’s that are no more, that is hard to keep track. If you are a vintage collector or were buying watches back then, leave a comment under the review and let me know if you remember the original Votum. The brand produced watches from 1962 to the mid 70’s the best I can tell, and then disappeared, most likely due to the quartz crisis, as it is referred to often. But I get it, if you just create the model almost right down to its original specs, people will say you did not do anything to change it. If you just slap the name on something completely different, people will say you are ruining the brand. I would say Votum, as far as design and aesthetic are somewhere in the middle.
So where does the Votum Watches Heritage land on quality? Well, I would give them a B+ overall. Case finish and crown action are very nice, as well as a wonderful buttery soft leather strap. Even though not exactly the same, the dial is attractive, (minus the double branding) and every aspect of it is beautifully machined and finished. For some reason though, the look of the case feels a little generic to me. I do not mean cheap, but just generic, it just does not stand out. Maybe part of that is just how many watches I see and handle all the time, so maybe I am a bit jaded and need a pair of rose colored glasses, but I feel the design could have been dressed up a bit.
On the bright side, they have kept the Votum Watches Heritage on the smaller side, coming in at 41.5mm, which is most likely a good few mm larger than its vintage counterpart, but they did not go and make it 45mm either. To keep that classic feel but still modern, 40mm would have probably been a better bet, but that is subjective and nothing more. Keeping with a positive vibe, how bout that movement?! No, seriously though, Votum has went with the tried and true ETA 2824 to run the Heritage and still keep the price at under $800 USD. No decorations to the movement, but they did sign the rotor, which you can see through the display case back.
7 1/2 inch wrist for reference
While it may seem like I am being a little harsh, I am not, and I do like the Votum Watches Heritage model. It is a Swiss Made watch with a great dependable movement for well under $1000. It has a somewhat unique dial and a sapphire crystal (needs a much better AR coating though) and a fantastic leather strap. They also have other versions with alligator leather, metal bracelets, different dial colors, etc, so the choices are there. I think I was just wanting a little something more to the case. As is, the Votum Heritage has a classic look and feel and is an attractive watch that would blend in with almost any type of wardrobe. Does it rock my world? No. That is okay though. They all do not have to. I can definitely see the appeal and do appreciate it for what it is. Hopefully this is not the only case design we see from Votum, who knows, maybe they are working on something as I type.
Does the Votum Heritage rock your world? Let us know in the comments below.