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Introducing: Vario Empire Art Deco

he Vario Empire Art Deco

Some trends are just that, trends that stick around for a few years at best before disappearing back into the grand cycle of fashion and design, never to be heard from again. Art Deco is not like that; in fact, Art Deco is one of the most enduring movements in design history.

First exhibited in Paris, 1925, it crossed the Atlantic to become synonymous with roaring 20s America; to this day, it epitomises vintage New York glamour. Case in point, the superlative Empire Art Deco watch from Vario.

he Vario Empire Art Deco

Vario began as founder Ivan Chua’s search for the perfect watch strap to suit his style; since then the Singapoean Studio has expanded into watches proper. The latest result, the Empire, illustrates a cool, clean approach to design and most importantly, making aesthetically appealing timepieces affordable.

he Vario Empire Art Deco

At 38mm, the Empire is very much vintage in its proportions, emphasised by the lovely minimalism of its silhouette, including the pared-back lugs. Rather than Art Deco’s hallmark geometric proportions reflecting in the case, the main action is on the dial, which is divided into two distinct section.

On the outer edge is bold, distinct lettering taken straight from the 20s; at the centre you have beautiful barleycorn guilloché. Finished with a bespoke handset and a charmingly fluted crown, the Vario Empire Art Deco is pure period glamour. That’s especially true of the Tuxedo version, with its black outer ring and silvered central dial, a classic in the making.

he Vario Empire Art Deco

Vintage lovers would likely be tempted by the nostalgia and tactile ritualism of a manual-wind movement; most of us prefer the ease of an automatic. The Vario Empire Art Deco offers both. You can opt for either a Miyota 6T33 Hand Wound Movement or Seiko NH38A Automatic Movement.

The Vario Empire Art Deco

By opting for an accessible third party movement, it allows Vario to maintain quality across the board, while making the watch surprisingly accessible. The handwound model comes in at just £276, while the automatic is slightly less at £261.

The Vario Empire Art Deco

The price difference is in good part down to the fact that the particular hand-wound Miyota used is in short supply; they’ve been discontinued by the manufacturer, making these true collectibles. It also helps that the hand-wound Empires come with a sapphire caseback so that you can see the rarity.

Finished on an Italian leather strap, the Vario Empire Art Deco not only illustrates why the design language of the 20s is as evocative as ever, but makes it accessible, too.

Price & Specs:

Model Name: Vario Empire Art Deco
Case/Dial: 38mm diameter x 11mm height (automatic version) or 11.5mm (hand-wound version), 316L stainless steel
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre Seiko NH38A automatic or Calibre Miyota 6T33 hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3Hz)
Power Reserve: 41h
Functions: Central hours, minutes, hacking seconds
Strap: Vintage style Italian leather strap
Price: £261 (automatic version) and £276 (hand-wound version)

More details at Vario’s website.

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