The totally unconventional watch: Ventura SPARC MGS

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I don’t even know where to start. It sort of sounds like ‘spark’ but it’s not. And it sort of looks like a miniature disc-player but it’s clearly not. And the logo reminds me of Corvette which I kind of like. Actually, it does look like the sort of watch I would buy if I drove a Stingray.

Let’s agree that besides any cool functions and fantastic technical achievements, it simply looks awesome. That’s a good modern word. Ventura, the company behind this watch, started the new millennium by perfecting (or, in their words, inventing) the automatic digital watch. And one of their best pieces of design yet is the Ventura SPARC MGS – I would describe it as minimalist but in no way simplistic.

The unique curvature of the case is split into two sections: the regular dial below a preview window of the mechanism. That allows you a little glimpse into the inner workings of the timepiece, much like an exposed tourbillon (but maybe less spectacular and whimsical). Then again, they’re not selling a fairy tale, but an attitude.

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The rebel in you will enjoy watching the micro-generator-system (MGS) while it’s being driven by the rotary mass and the movements of the wrist. The larger oscillating mass develops better performance, feeds the power station and assures a power reserve of approximately 45 days. This powers a state-of-the-art micro-processor and the liquid-crystal display made out of 250 segments. The digital module works with a new operating system, EasySkroll v.2.0, which can be updated with future improvements, while all the commands can be programmed through a single scroller. These functions include 2 settings for time and date, a chronograph, countdown, 100 years perpetual calendar with 3 date formats and 5 languages available.

This is all good and well, but it’s the power management system that has some swanky features too. Namely a manual power off option and an automatic sleep mode that saves energy by adjusting the LC display. Even when it’s not “sleeping”, the automatic backlight control works to prevent over-use. I should mention it’s water resistant (3 bar) too.

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If you’re willing to take almost €2,000 out of your pocket for this gadget, you should know that there are four models available, designed by Simon Husslein: two with a Durinox bracelet, two with black caoutchouc strap, two cases in “Nero assoluto” (all back) and two in classic Durinox grey. Now mix and match to your liking. My personal favourite is the W 56 S, mainly because it looks like C-3PO dipped in testosterone.

So, would I buy it? Well, automatic watches have a history panning over centuries and the digital era polished them to the point of making them almost faultless. Yet, they are rarely a collector’s dream. Isn’t it funny in a way how the search for progress made us move to automatization, while pieces like Vacheron Constantin’s original Patrimony with manual-winding is still valued beyond any diamond-clad automatic rival?

We love the past and the challenges it posed, but we shouldn’t take anything away from timepieces like this one. Much like Richard Mille, it shuns tradition and offers us something different. And we love different, don’t we? I really do, so yes, I’d definitely buy it.

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