It is hard to believe, but it has been three years since we brought you our hands-on review of the Visitor Watch Co Duneshore. In the intervening time, we had a slate of updates and some newer watches, that were more or less iterations on the existing watch. Well, that brings us to today. I had noticed a new Visitor Watch Co watch popping up on Instagram, and a quick visit to their site showed, yes, there is a new model that is currently up for pre-order. A quick chat with Phil Rodenbeck then netted us some time with a loaner of the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer.
For the brand, the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer is opening up a new line (named Officer). The calling card for this lineup will be hinged caseback. In other applications, I’ve considered them as Hunter Cases, but the terminology isn’t important. What this is is a hinged cover for the sapphire display caseback. Once you unscrew the crown about a half-turn, you can open up the cover, and get a good look at the custom rotor that lives on the Miyota 9015 movement. You also get an eyeful of perlage on the inside of the cover, which is a nice touch. To me, that blank space on the caseback cover looks ripe for some engraving, so you have some customization options that wouldn’t be otherwise available. And hey, how many of your watch buddies can pull a trick like that with their watches?
Up front, the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer carries forth some of the same design DNA that we saw on the original Duneshore. You’ve got snoopy curves (though, here, they’re just around the bezel, and don’t actually lend a curve to the caseback), and you’ve got the pen nib indices showing up. While not quite the same as on the prior Duneshore, it brings a hint of that lineage into play. The case also features a unique shape – though it’s mostly rounded, it really gives the feel of being set into a hexagon or octagon. AKA, not like anything you’ve had before.
With the dial of the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer, we have a very dark, very matte black finish. This makes the cutouts on the sandwich dial stand out crisply, as well as the lumed handset. I want to give a special bit of attention here to the seconds hand. Finished as it is, it all but blends in, except for that tiny lumed arrow right at the very tip. As an added bonus, when it hits the compass points on the dial, it nestles right into the triangle made by the three pips that show up there. A nice touch, and great attention to detail.
For the main hands, these are definitely a changeup. I’m going to call them paddle style, for lack of a better definition. They do give nice, broad surfaces for the lume application, and they are instantly distinguishable from each other, even though they are the same width. And hey, the hour hand hits the inside of the indices, and the minute hand extends out the railroad track at the edge of the dial, so no complaints there. And again, with the black finishing there, I really like how they just sort of float up in space there, giving a unique look to things.
Now, back to the case of the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer. With the need for the hinged back (again, super fun, super awesome), you’re setup with needing a straight edge on the side of the case. This could be hidden, but Rodenbeck ran with it, and put a straight edge right down the side of the case. To keep it balanced, then, that curve to straight edge is repeated on the other side, becoming crown guards. While I do enjoy the uniqueness, I did find myself wishing they were a little less pronounced (or, that they had gone with a full-on geometric shape surrounding the round bezel). Then again, that’s just me, and I’ve a feeling that it would grown on me over time. Just something for you to think about as a future buyer.
And, if you are going to be a buyer? You’ll be putting yourself on the wait list, with pricing coming in at $800 for the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer. A bit higher than you might expect for a Miyota-powered piece, sure, but here it’s coming out in the design of that case. I’ve got some pals over on Instagram that have this watch, and do love it – so it’s not just my word, you’ve got other random strangers to tell you about it as well. For me, I do like the different paths that Rodenbeck takes with his designs, and enjoy seeing the new stuff pop out. The clear winner on the Visitor Watch Co Vale Park Officer – for me – is that case back, with the dial and handset coming in a close second. If you jump in on the pre-order, please do pop on over to our Slack channel, and let’s talk watches. Shoot, let’s do that even if you aren’t pre-ordering – we’re building a nice community over there, and would love to have some more voices in the discussion. visitorwatchco.com
- Brand & Model: Visitor Watch Company Vale Park Officer
- Price: $800 (on pre-order)
- Who’s it for? You want something that isn’t just another diver – you want a design that’s different
- Would I wear it? Yeah, I would. It’s definitely more compact than my memory of prior models, and I can’t get enough of the dial
- What I’d change: The straight edges – either make them less-pronounced, or go full on with a hexagon or pentagon surrounding the bezel
- The best thing about it: The caseback and that deep, dark, sandwich dial offsetting all the lovely lume.
- 39.5 mm x 41 mm (44.2 mm to the crown);11.6 mm thick; 47 mm lug to lug
- Finishes: most horizontal surfaces are brushed, most vertical surfaces are polished, the crown is partially bead-blasted, and the interior of the officer’s caseback is finished with perlage.
- Case back: The officer’s back employs a unique release with a catch-lip that nests in the screw-down crown.
- Matte black sandwich dial with cross-hairs and hour markers cut out, exposing a lower layer of C3 SuperLuminova
- C3 SuperLuminova used for remainder of printing on hial
- Handset: C3 SuperLuminova-filled; otherwise black
- Lugs: rolled at the end and drilled through, and the case is treated to a variety of
- Movement: Miyota 9015 with custom rotor
- WR: 50m
- Strap: “wingtip” leather strap.