Sad news to report on the loss of an innovator...
I received a query in my email early this morning asking about dealers for Ventura watches. I immediately went to Ventura's watch site and found it was no longer active. So I sent an email to recent Ventura V-Matic Loga purchaser David Alstott to see if he had heard of anything.
Sadly what he reported back to me, while not a complete surprise was saddening and very disappointing to me:
Note: Both the above passage and the passage below seem to be at the very least a couple of weeks to several months old. Perhaps this is not "news" in the freshest sense, but it was certainly news to me and something I had not seen in my travels.
David also sent me this link to a thread on PuristPro which I will excerpt here:
Concerns about mechanical driven capacitor watches. Seiko, Citizen, Ventura. Jan 19, 2008,16:43 PM
The fellow who contacted me initially replyed to me [after I forwarded David's response] that Princton Watches, an authorized dealer of Ventura, currently has closeout deals on it's remaining stock of Ventura's. People who are interested can visit their site, although considering the fact that most of the mechanical Ventura's had a "snapback" caseback which was pressed on with a force of at least a ton, service is up in the air for these watches currenty.
I've long said that of all the watch firms in operation that Ventura and Ventura along had a product line that I at least liked every model it produced. Some models I was much more enthusiastic about than others, but until they started "Icing" some models and producing some gold cased white dialed watches, they stayed true to their coredesign roots and produced elegant Bauhaus styled watches.
While other firms routinely issued Valjoux 7750 based chronographs with 25 Jewels, Ventura's models sported 38 Jewels. All of their mechanicals were elegantly finished and on display via a sapphire back and all had a minimum W/R of 100m dispite the snap on displayback. Their watches were typically available in both Stainless Steel and Titanium, and their Titanium models were nitrogen hardened to the extent that their hardness were only rivaled in hardness by IWC's Titanium process.
If they made a mistake it was trying to compete in the savagely contested $1000-$6000 price range where the bulk of Swiss watch manufacturers compete. It's tough for a small firm of recent vintage to compete with the Omega's, TAG-Heuer's, Breitling's and similar brands with long established reputations and consumer awareness.
I had hoped that a firm operating from a fresh sheet with refined and focused product line could survive the competition. Ventura's ceasing production of mechanical watches several years ago to re-focus it's energies on the high end quartz powered niche. Unfortunately, it would seem that this effort to remain solvent wasn't successful and this move could be seen by history as the beginning of the end.
I for one am very saddened by Ventura's demise. I own a pair of V-Matics, the V-Matic Master [pictured immediately above] and a V-Matic Loga both in Titanium both on bracelet. I only hope that other firms will look to create models which capture some of the style and elegant beauty of these fine fine timepieces.
I am a big fan of Bauhaus design, these watches, which epitomize Bauhaus so well will likely age very gracefully, their modernistic lines and styling cues seeming just as fresh 50 and 100 years from now as they did the day they rolled off the production line.