FRANC VILA FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido

Limited Edition 88 pieces each

A pair of new pieces from Franc Vila, model name “FVi17 Chrono Bicompax Intrepido.”   If you are thinking these watches look somewhat different from prior Franc Vila pieces, you are correct.  That is because these chronographs are done in the style of Vila’s new collection, the Intrepido, which quietly debuted in 2011.   Though I may be mistaken (possible, but unlikely), I believe that these are the first new models with the Intrepido line that have been introduced since the 2011 Intrepido Tourbillon and FVi9 Chrono Intrepido debuted.  While I am very much a fan of the new style, and Franc Vila in general, there are a couple aspects of these new pieces that I do not like.  I’ll give you the full rundown, below.


So what I like here are the overall look of the Intrepido case — the elliptical shape, the nicely integrated chrono pushers and the sculpted crown.  And I also think Vila does an excellent job with his straps, both leather and the rubber — they are always integral to the overall looks of his watches.  However, I am having a little trouble appreciating the dials.  I know that Vila likes complex, busy dials, but here I think there’s too much geometry involved here — there are triangle hour markers (two of them rectangular, cut off by the chronograph subdials), stripes in the middle, and either circular grained or carbon fiber chronograph counters.  On top of this there is the tri-date window at the bottom of the dial, a feature which I think would look much better just showing one number.  Put it all to together and, well, it really kinda clashes for me.


Now, back to the watch case.  Since inception, Vila has used his “espirit unique”  case design which is marked by its elliptical case and not-entirely circular dial (you can see exactly how this design works in my video review of the Franc Vila A8 big Date Chronograph).  The Intrepido marks a departure from this highly unique “espirit unique” style, though not a significant one; while respecting the original Vila philosophy, the “Intrepido” watch case incorporates new nanotechnology materials, making it while being lighter and slimmer and “more resistant.”

Nanotechnology, you ask?  Well, I think the important thing to keep in mind here is that there is a significant amount of materials innovation in these watches.  The problem is that Vila’s descriptions of the his materials technology come across as very technical (likely a reflection of his background in chemistry).  To the point that I start to question whether the indecipherable and labored descriptions of these features are marketing hype or meaningful performance attributes.  Please, Franc Vila, translate this stuff into something that means something to the customer.

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In short, I like that Vila is expanding his new Intrepido line — but I will take a pass on these, waiting for a more cohesive dial design.