Vault V2+RCT: When an Industry Insider Orders a Bespoke Watch

As its name suggests, the watch industry is an industry. It means we all depend on it to put bread on the table. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s fueled by passion, a passion that runs deep at Quill & Pad. And with Albert Zeller too.

That last name might not ring a bell to you, but if you’re looking at your own watch right now, chances are you’re spying on a product made by its company., RC-Tritec. As a manufacturer of Super-LumiNova, this company plays an important role in the Swiss watch industry. And like many of us working in watches, RC Tritec is more than a nine-to-five job for Zeller. His passion for watchmaking also led him to partner with Mark Schwarz, founder of To jumpto create a unique timepiece.

Vault V2+RCT

Vault: the independent “secret”

In the world of high-end watchmaking, Vault remains a hidden gem. The brand was founded in 2013 by Schwarz, whose unique vision of design, materials and market positioning could count on the support of renowned independent watchmakers Andreas Strehler and Marc Jenni. Schwarz likes to push the boundaries in terms of technology and materials and does so with bespoke parts. He has no desire for volume, but rather to capture the passage of time in the way most suited to his clients.

The majority of his clients are very experienced collectors, people who have seen it all and have a clear idea of ​​what they like and want. Like Schwarz, Zeller also likes to push boundaries – both commercially with his business, but also in his personal time when he’s hitting the slopes with his snowboard.

These two men guarantee a watch that can only be interesting – and all the more so since they wanted the Safe V2+ RCTas the watch is named, to fulfill three clear purposes.

  1. He cannot repeat things done in the past. They wanted to challenge the status quo, innovate and explore new directions.
  2. As Zeller is the CEO of RC Tritec, the watch had to be inconspicuous by day and a showstopper by night. As the gentlemen put it, “A watch that Bruce Wayne could wear to an afternoon business meeting while hunting the Joker as Batman at night.”
  3. They wanted to have fun in the process, valuing the journey and not just the destination.

Vault V2+RCT

Major innovation

When we think of brands that innovate in terms of materials, we think of Hublot and Richard Mille. Despite its small size, Vault packs quite a punch in this area as well.

With the V1+CTI, Vault introduced the very first watch with a carbon titanium case. For the V2+White CC, the boutique brand was the first to use carbon fibers mixed with white ceramic. Vault’s partner in this modern case manufacturing is the well-known fatcarbonwho Vault also partnered with to create the Dark-Matter carbon composite case of the V2+ RCT.

Many tests were necessary to ensure that the composite had the right properties to make a case. This is a tedious, time-consuming and expensive process, but innovation often is. What sets Dark-Matter composite apart is that it is made of recycled carbon fiber strands held together by a 35% vegetable-based organic epoxy resin that is processed using renewable energy. Cutting the composite block into the right shape takes more than 40 hours on a five-axis CNC machine, but the challenge doesn’t stop there.

Zeller and Schwarz wanted to laser engrave the composite with the brand and model name. As the composite is a mixture of different elements and derives its strength from their layering, achieving a clean laser engraving without rough edges has almost proven to be mission impossible. Finally, it was Gabriel Dumitru of Boegli Gravures SA who took up the challenge and was able to happily deliver the expected result.

It’s very interesting to see that within the watch industry, a lot of people enjoy a good challenge. Ask them to do the impossible and you’re pretty much bound to find someone who’s up for the challenge and puts their skills and expertise to the test to reach the next level.

Vault V2+RCT and its fabulous lume

light up the movement

As CEO of RC Tritec, one would expect Zeller to also want to infuse his Vault with his passion for luminous materials. To give the watch enormous depth, the duo laser-cut the hour disc from grade 5 titanium, giving it an understated matte finish that complements the work that independent watchmaker Marc Jenni has done on the rest of the movement. It also gives the V2+ RCT an understated yet sophisticated look that’s pretty hard to adequately describe.

The Vault V2 + RCT is a very modern creation, but steeped in old school craftsmanship and the desire to take it to a higher, more contemporary level. It’s the latest technology combined with the oldest skills – discreet by day and outgoing by night.

The latter is achieved by hand filling the honeycomb structure with Super-LumiNova in such a way as to make the upcoming hour the brightest. Achieving this goal is quite difficult and requires expertise and a very steady hand as there is no machine capable of doing this. Fortunately, Zeller has this expertise present in his own company, where Marcus Schnetzer has successfully taken on this challenge.

Zeller and Schwarz also wanted to improve the illumination of the minute hand to make the hours shine. This proved to be quite a challenge as the sandwich structure that Vault developed for this watch, including the movement, hour gear transmission and hour disc, is packed into a very small space. It had to be completely redesigned, right down to the materials used.

To achieve this, they teamed up with Stefano Nassisi of The Cadraniers of Geneva. Nassisi invented a system in which highly concentrated Super-LumiNova pigments are molded into silicone form and then transferred to the watch component.

And they wanted to have as much light pigment volume as possible to ensure optimal performance. For this, the hour discs were made of PEEK (polyetheretherketone), a high-performance thermoplastic, which they engraved with high-concentration Lumicast blocks directly mounted in them. The same technique was then used for the minute hand.

Being light where you need something heavy

In order to make the V2+RCT the lightest Vault to date, there was also a big challenge with the oscillating weight. They ultimately opted for a “superleggera” approach from Vault designer Laurent Auberson.

Rotor Vault V2+RCT

This freshly designed rotor, which mirrors the honeycomb design of the front hour disc, has been carved from brass to give it enough weight for efficient winding of the movement and comes with an exceptional finish applied by Marc Jenni of sandblasted and brushed surfaces displaying both understatement and sophistication.

Back of Vault V2+RCT

RC Tritec’s Marcus Schnetzer also used Super-LumiNova to fill in some segments of the honeycomb structure on the rear, just like he did on the front. Although it doesn’t make much sense on the back of the watch, it’s a lot of fun. For example, when the watch is placed on a bedside table, it emits a subtle glow, which makes owning this watch even more special.

Vault V2+RCT

golden salmon

Zeller and Schwarz didn’t go the obvious route for the strap either, opting for salmon skin with 18k rose gold stitching complemented by ostrich leather lining starting at the leg. Although these materials look and feel quite exotic, they are by-products of the meat industry and are more durable than many other types of leather.

The bracelet is handcrafted by master bracelet maker Mirea Marian as a bespoke product designed to fit Zeller’s wrist perfectly. It’s the finishing touch to a watch that honors craftsmanship in a wide variety of different fields by elevating and challenging them to reach new heights.

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Quick Facts Vault V2+RCT
Case: 39 x 46.7 x 15mm, Dark-Matter carbon composite
Movement: automatic caliber V01, manufactured exclusively for Vault by Andreas Strehler’s Uhrteil AG, frequency 21,600 vibrations/hour/3 Hz, power reserve 55 hours
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: single piece
Price on request

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