Just recently, Sky wrote about her favourite of the Dirty Dozen: The Vertex. Of course, the Vertex that was part of the Dirty Dozen resulted in the M100. But what about the Vertex MP45?
The Vertex MP45 is a (military) monopusher that has been based on a Vertex watch from 1945. At the time, Vertex was commissioned to make an ordnance timing watch. Together with Lémania, they worked on such a piece. It never was delivered to the British MoD though. Due to import restrictions, they couldn’t create the monopusher they had developed. Instead, they shifted their focus from military watches to the civilian market. World War II had ended and with that, it made no sense for Vertex to put a lot of energy in military watches, let alone a monopusher chronograph that faced issues due to the import restrictions they had to deal with.
So, based on a watch that was never released, Vertex is now offering their MP45. Available with an automatic movement and with a hand-wound movement. We received the hand-wound version and will talk about that one.
The Vertex M100 being the first watch that Vertex owner (and a direct descendant of the original founder) Don Cochrane introduced in 2017, a year after he brought back the company to life, the Vertex MP45 is basically their second model. Sure, there’s also the dlc’ed M100B (here), but I see that as part of the M100 collection/model. The business model on the 2017 M100 was that you needed to be invited to order this watch from Vertex (directly). Talking about luxury. An interesting way to create a demand for a certain watch, and although not appreciated by each and everyone, it is perhaps a method to keep out the flippers from limited editions and to prevent the watches from ending up in the grey market. It also enables Vertex to closely monitor where these watches are going to and to control the actual selling price. Whatever the reasons were, the Vertex MP45 is available for everyone.
Although the introduction mentions initial cooperation in 1945 with Lémania, that ship sailed when Swatch Group incorporated Lémania in the Breguet company. They only provide certain brands with specific Lémania movements, and you can safely assume that small independent brands are not one of them. So Vertex’ CEO Cochrane and his staff had to source another chronograph movement. The Vertex MP45 is now powered by a mechanical chronograph from Sellita (read our Sellita factory visit report here), and the cool thing is that you can choose between an automatic version and a hand-wound version. Now, Vertex sent us their hand-wound version, but in fact, I would have picked a hand-wound movement myself as well.
Not because a hand-wound movement is better than an automatic movement, but since there’s a transparent case back on the Vertex MP45 monopusher chronograph, it is nice to see as much as possible. With an automatic version, half of the view is blocked by a rotor, and now you can at least see everything in a glance.
Normally I do not start talking about the movement, but in this case, it plays a role as the watch will be available in two variations. Also, the monopusher complication is, of course, an important role for this Vertex MP45, it is even in the name. The movements are based on Sellita’s caliber SW510MP, which is the same for the hand-wound as for the self-winding version. Vertex does limit their MP45 monopusher chronograph to 400 pieces in total, 200 for each movement version.
Before I forget, if you don’t know what a monopusher exactly does, it is a chronograph that is being operated by just one pusher. You have to use the same pusher to start, stop and reset the chronograph mechanism. The large seconds hand is the chronograph seconds hand and the counter on 3 o’clock is the minute recorder for the chronograph.
The 40mm case of this Vertex MP45 is asymmetrical and it took me some time to get used to it. Not that the asymmetrical shape is confusing or bothering me, but the case shape is a bit deceiving. It feels a bit larger than 40mm on the wrist, which might have to do with the right side being ‘extended’ for the crown and pusher operation. The thickness of the watch is 14mm, which is approx. 2mm thinner than the automatic version. Mind you, add a NATO strap to the automatic watch and it is even thicker! Perhaps another reason to go for the hand-wound version instead. If it doesn’t matter to you, or you’re not NATO strap guy anyway (like me), then the self-winding version can do the trick as well.
The finished of the Vertex watches, including this MP45, is pretty nice! To me, this is what sets a lot of brands apart and although not always easy to capture on a picture (or video), this Vertex has a properly finished case. With a lot of (cheap) microbrands, here’s where they tend to stay ‘cheap’, not enough attention to the finishing of the case parts and/or bracelet. Vertex has done well here though, it looks awesome with its brushed surfaces.
Although the Vertex MP45 is not a watch with military specifications, the dial could definitely be one of a military watch nevertheless. Very legible and clean. Just like the M100 models, the dial has applied Super-LumiNova numerals that do their job well (see below). The watch has a monochrome theme to it, so much so, that it might appear as if we took black & white pictures. They’re not, of course, as there’s some red at the top marking and the gold and blue tones used on the movement are also still there. At first, I had to get used to the raised markers, but it is actually pretty awesome. The military broad arrow is also printed on the dial. Something not necessary in my opinion, but for those who like the history that Vertex has with the Dirty Dozen watches, it’s a nice detail.
As you can see below, the Super-LumiNova works pretty well on this watch. The blue colour is very visible in low-light conditions and I like how not only the Arabic numerals are lumed, also the dots and squares on the minute track will glow in the dark. The hour and minutes hand are also richly filled with Super-LumiNova. The two registers on the dial do overlap the numerals at 2 and 4 o’clock on the right side and 8 and 10 o’clock on the left side (and leaving out 3 and 9 as a whole). So be it. It looks very nice and I am pretty sure that this is no issue from a functionality standpoint.
There’s not much I would have done differently with this Vertex MP45. Not saying I am a watch designer, not at all, but it all feels very solid and it is clear that they’ve put a lot of thought and effort into this watch. It is certainly not for everyone, but neither does it have to be. The limited number of 400 pieces in total also gives away that sentiment. This watch is delivered with a variety of straps, including leather, rubber and nylon NATO straps. The leather and rubber strap are used with the quick-release pins and the NATO straps with regular pins. I prefer it on the leather strap but can imagine people like to wear it on rubber or a NATO. Vertex delivers its watches in this nice Pelican case, where you can find everything you need.
This is a watch you buy if you like what you’re seeing. Not to impress others, but it will definitely be a conversation-maker when you’re surrounded by watch people. It is a well designed and developed watch, done with a great eye for detail and finishing. The story with the original never-released Lémania powered monopusher is nice, but in the end, it is about the watch you will be wearing on the wrist. The story only comes to the surface when talking to like-minded and passionate watch enthusiasts.
Retail price for this watch (regardless of which movement) is 3480GBP (that includes 580GBP VAT).
More information and ordering via Vertex online.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more