Austria is one of those countries in the watch world that don’t get mentioned very often, brands like Carl Suchy & Söhne or Habring² are the ones that usually come to mind, but there is one that really caught my eye in the last year and that is Viribus Unitis (which translates to with united forces). The brand is named after and Austro-Hungarian battleship from 1908 who was one the most impressive fleets in World War I, its whole history was unique from its building to its last days,
I really couldn’t think of a better name to describe a tool maritime watch, something proposed built, crafted to specifications and imposing, very imposing. In my book a great design is always welcome, strong lines and angular edges always makes me think of non-traditional watches and the IR27 in bronze is the best example for this. The IR27 is part of the Land Bound series, the case made entirely of bronze and it is the brands take on a field watch, no date (as many of us love) and so many details that is hard not to fall for this piece. The watch is big there is no denying of that but it fits with the whole military aesthetic, Viribus Unitis offers an array of different configurations on their Land Bound series, from steel to exotic materials like carbon fibre or dials with different patterns, the catalogue has something for everyone, but we are here for the bronze fume dial IR27 beauty, let's begin.
The case is 44mm in a torneau shape, very short lug to lug so it wears similar to a Panerai Radiomir and that is a good thing. As I mentioned earlier the watch is full of details, this to me speaks to the
dedication and attention that it has been put on the design, for example a fixed bezel 8 hexagonal screws which are not just for show and they do look the part, the fume dial from black to light brown makes the watch look like it has age with you for the past 50 years, the sandwich dial is a torch at night and the side plaques with the name and number of the limited edition make you feel that you are indeed wearing something special. At 6 o clock you can find the sub-dial with the seconds hand and crosshair pattern, the hand has an anchor as a counter weight of similar design as the one on the crown keeping up with the maritime theme, looks amazing in yellow which is not a coincidence, the IR27 was a Styrian regiment and its main colour was (you guess it) gambodge-yellow, also the ring on the crown received this little cool detail.
The overall dial is clean with minimum writing, just the name and the words ''automatisches uhrwerk'' (automatic movement) at the bottom, there is another subtle detail on the arrow hands which has a flat tip, to me it works well and looks even more precise.
Speaking of precision the watch has a very reliable Sellita SW360 with a decorated rotor and regulated, no nonsense and performing impeccably which can also be seen on the back.
On the wrist:
With almost no lugs and a case that contours nicely making the watch wear really well. It is a large piece but it is supposed to be this way, it doesn’t feel cumbersome at any point but rather imposing, I really enjoy the presence on my 6.25 inch wrist and by having a Luminor in my collection I am very used on using this type of watches, they look amazing on a casual day out, yes it makes an statement but is no fashion watch, it's a real tool. The 22mm lug width works perfect with the case shape and of course it gives us more variety on strap options, the vintage leather strap supplied with the watch is comfortable and makes the whole brown theme stand out even more, the watch is a warm as you can imagine, the buckle is made of bronze too and it's a great touch which is a appreciate it. The curved double domed sapphire crystal distorts slightly giving that plexiglass vintage look, all of this matches with the color of the Superluminova, it's a very harmonious dial/package.
You can already tell that this watch is something different and that I enjoyed it very much, the history and inspiration trough the piece is
something that I was very fond of, I don’t think there is a watch out there which includes so many nods to the past as the IR27, the bronze case with the color palette makes it one of the most interesting pieces I've review this year. It is also refreshing to have a watch from Austria, the design language and the approach are completely different than their Swiss or Japanese counter parts. The IR27 is a watch that can coexist inside any collection and is one that I might contemplate to add in the future. I hope to see more from Viribus Unitis and I know that they are working on their Seaborne collection, if they take a similar approach as they did on the Land Bound series, I am sure they will have a hit on their hands with the true enthusiast of this amazing hobby.
More information at www.viribusunitis-watches.com
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