Lonville Virage Fuel Tank
A while ago, I met with Mr. Joost Vreeswijk in an Amsterdam restaurant. The man behind the reincarnation of ‘Lonville’, a brand that might ring some bells here and there. We sat down and spoke about his passion and the ‘why’ as in why he did decide to reincarnate such a brand. Since Mr. Vreeswijk brought some of his watches to the meeting, I had the privilege to try them all and come to the conclusion that he created some very nice, high-quality and luxurious timepieces. To be honest, up until then, I never had the chance to see a Lonville timepiece in reality, so it was a first for me.
Experiencing an enthusiastic evening, Mr. Vreeswijk told me I could take one of his timepieces with me to do a review about it. It would be the Lonville Virage Fuel Tank that accompanied me on the road to home.
The love for classic cars
What really struck me was the design elements of the watch – right from the get go. Of course when I talked to Mr. Vreeswijk, it immediately became evident that classic cars are one of his beloved passions. So, it is not really strange that the Lonville Virage Fuel Tank is called ‘Fuel Tank’, after all, a fuel tank is something often seen in cars. Yes, also in classic cars – you didn’t know that did you? I was surprised too, but now I am used to the name. Alright, all the jokes aside, I really like the Fuel Tank.
I’ve seen the Lonville watches up close and I have to admit: they are all attractive in their own way. However, the designs have one thing in common; the dials are a pleasure to look at. It’s a kind of sunburst, but then a few levels higher. A detail that’s very visible in the Fuel Tank watch, because of the ‘bronze’ colour. Very cool and very classy. The power reserve indicator is not measured in hours, amount of days or plus/minus; it reads ‘full’ and ‘empty’. Yet another association with cars and of course, a fuel tank.
Beauty is seen with thorough inspection
Of course a watch can not be judged by a quick scoop. One has to pick it up, cuddle it, give it sweet kisses and rub the crown with slow and controlled finger movement. Only that way, you’ll understand the watch as good as possible. So I did.. I wore it, put it to rest, picked it up again and stared at it. Inspecting the ‘dauphine’ hands, the concave dial and the beautiful indexes applied on top of the dial. A design aspect that perfectly flows within the motion created by the dial. Pointing inwards, the indexes make you follow the dial lines towards the centre of this beautiful piece.
Sweet piece of technique
I have to admit, I really wore the watch with pleasure. It felt good and fitted my wrist very well. At a certain moment I wished Mr. Vreeswijk would forget that he gave me the Fuel Tank, but how stupid would it be if I actually believed it. The Lonville Virage Fuel Tank is – other than you would think – not powered by a loud and bulky V8. No, this piece of art is powered by a LV1 double barrel hand-wound movement. Lonville developed this movement together with a small watch atelier in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the heart of the watchmaking area. This COSC certified movement having a power reserve of 80 hours, you can survive a few days or a ‘grand weekend’ of enormous gas prices. The aesthetic part of the movement is great. You can see were the inspiration came form. The blued screws, individual bridges. Elements that we know from former pocket watches. The finishing is beautiful; ‘Côtes de Genève’ decoration and the by hand chamfering bridges are in total balance with the amount of blued screws that are used.
All of this is safely stored inside a white gold case with a sapphire case back. Strap it around your wrist with a black or brown alligator strap, closed with a white gold folding clasp. To be honest, I have to admit a thing that played around in my mind since the first contact. I really, really like the design of this watch, but it does remind me of another brand. In my opinion there are a few Jaeger LeCoultre influences here and there, if that’s good or bad.. I’ll leave that up to you. I can imagine a few people would choose a Jaeger above a Lonville, but then again.. with a Virage around your wrist the chance of meeting your equal will be very rare. Making the Lonville the more exclusive choice. Besides that, I don’t think that the two brands outrun each other in terms of quality at this model range.
Hours, Minutes, small Seconds and Power Reserve indicator
Glorious bronze coloured ‘soleil’ dial
Brown or black alligator strap
LV1 double barrel manual movement
80 hours power reserve
White gold case and closure
Sapphire case back
18 pieces – named and numbered
Wearing the Lonville Virage Fuel Tank was a great pleasure. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Vreeswijk did a very good job on reincarnating this brand. There’s a clear vision and definitely a statement created with these timepieces. Of course, there will still be people who choose heritage and popularity above something ‘new’. I don’t think that should be a problem, after all, who do you want to attract with your brand? One should want to buy a Lonville because of all its aspects, not even considering other timepieces. I think these timepieces are fair and square something to respect, however, I also think it will be a very hard nut to crack, in this price range.
All of the elements are there: high-quality material, great finishing, luxurious design, a respectable movement and only one out of 18. Will it be enough? Only time will tell, I will definitely keep myself up to date with Lonville news and all of the things surrounding the brand. Until we meet again Mr. Vreeswijk!