R1 USA Racing Chronograph - Product Details and Operation Guide

R1 USA Racing Chronograph - Product Details and Operation Guide

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the Vaer R1 wristwatch and instructions for its operation and use.

I) Product Summary

We've always seen Vaer as a design company first and foremost. Ever since we launched our first watch, we've always centered the task of building something new around three principles:

1) Simplicity - What functions elevate an object to the realm of "essential"?

2) Timelessness - How can history inform an aesthetic that will never go out of style?

3) Durability - If we can design an essential object, how do we also ensure it will last?  

The R1 Racing Chronograph embodies these design traditions, and in our humble opinion is the perfect everyday chronograph. Starting at $399 and rated to 10ATM it's affordable and ocean-friendly enough to be used as a daily tool watch. Yet also has enough character to stand out from the crowd, thanks to an elegant vintage design, Seiko VK-63 meca-quartz movement, and full USA assembly.

 "At the start of 2022, a chronograph watch was the biggest missing piece in the Vaer lineup. It’s something that we always intended to make, it was just a matter of when, and what kind? In 2021, we learned a lot through the release of the D4 Solar Diver and the G7 GMT. While both projects were a success - we found that the accessible price point and everyday accuracy of a non-conventional quartz was a winning combination. Swiss mechanical chronographs, like GMTs are very expensive movements, which would translate into a $1100+ retail price point and a smaller initial batch. In our view, the hybrid meca-quartz of the R1 was a superior option for a first release because we could keep the price around $400, order far more pieces (in more sizes), and ultimately deliver a watch that still made sense for everyday ocean wear, which is a core ethos for our brand.”

- Reagan Cook, Vaer Co-Founder

II) Value Proposition

The R1 is powered by a Japanese Seiko VK-63 meca-quartz movement. Meca-quartz is exactly what it sounds like, a combination of quartz battery, and mechanical modules.

The primary timekeeping on the R1 is a quartz module for great accuracy and reliability. The sweeping chronograph second hand is a mechanical module, with a small motor powering a gear train to give you a sweeping hand action similar to what a mechanical chronograph would have. The R1's movement sweeps at 1/5th seconds to provide greater timing precision, and also offers "instant reset", which means it doesn’t go all the way around like a quartz chrono - you can reset and start again quickly.

In addition to it’s unique movement functionality, and impressive water-resistance the R1 boasts one of the best executed stainless steel cases available for under $1000. Available in both 38mm and 42mm diameter cases sizes the R1 boasts attractive curvature and refined finishing details through-out including highlight polished sections on the lugs and bezel. Like all Vaer watches the R1 uses an AR-coated scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to protect the dial, and a deep stamped screwdown case-back.

To further enhance the functionality and value of the watch, every R1 comes standard with two interchangeable 20mm straps. Our standard R1 strap is a comfortable and waterproof FKM rubber quick-release strap, and it’s complemented by a range of secondary strap options from our USA-Made Horween leather strap, our premium stainless steel bracelet, and several rugged and affordable nylon options.

III) Care and Handling

The Vaer R1 is a durable, dependable and highly accurate meca-quartz watch designed to last for decades with proper care. We’ve written this guide to explain the basics of the watch, and how to maximize its longevity.

What are the functions on the R1 chronograph?

Like all watches, the goal of a chronograph is to help measure the passage of time. What makes this particular design unique relative to other timepieces, is that the chronograph offers the opportunity to accurately track two distinct intervals of time. It will measure: 1) International Atomic Time (or True Time), in addition to 2) a timed period of your choosing (up to 60 minutes in length). In basic terms, you can think of a chronograph as field watch built on top of a stop watch.

Unlike a standard field or dive watch, where the longest hand on the dial (stacked on top of the hour and minute hands) measures the passage of seconds in True Time, on a R1 this large hand is actually the chrongraph hand and it will remain static, in the 12 o'clock position until it is started with one of the pushers. The R1 Chronograph's True Seconds (which aligns with the hour and minute hand) is instead displayed in the center subdial at 6 o'clock (it's the circle with the 60, 15, 30, 45 markings).

In addition to the second counter being positioned in the center 6 o'clock subdial, the R1 also features two other subdials. The right hand subdial at 3 o'clock is linked to True Time, and simply measures the 24 hour (or military time). If it's 8PM at night, the right hand subdial will display at 20:00HRS. The left hand subdial at 9 o'clocl, which on the R1 is painted in a two-toned color, is linked to the watches chronograph/stop-watch function. This subdial measure total minutes elapsed from the main chronograph timer up to 60 minutes, at which point it will reset to zero.

Using the Chronograph Pushers
In addition to the standard center locking screw-down crown, the R1 Chronograph features two "pusher" buttons on the right side of the case. These pushers are used to operate the chronograph functions of the watch. The top pusher offers a start/stop function on the large center chronograph hand, and the bottom pusher serves as a RESET button, taking both the chronograph hand and the 60-minute subdial counter back to zero.

Installing Vaer Quick Release Straps
The Vaer R1 watch comes standard with a pre-installed quick release strap. As our most comfortable and adaptable strap, we believe it is a great introduction to our strap lineup. To remove the standard strap, pull in the small metal knob to disengage the springbar. To attach a quick-release strap, position the end of the bar into the notch on the watch lugs and pull in the metal knob on the other end. Align the loose end of the bar into the second notch, and release the tension of the spring to lock the strap into place. Make sure the strap piece with the buckle is attached to the top of the watch case.

Integrating Vaer Single Pass Straps
While this watch ships standard with our easiliy interchangeable quick release straps, it can also be worn with our nylon single pass straps. Unlike a traditional watch strap, which is made of two pieces and attached to the watch with removable springbars, our nylon single pass straps are made of a single piece that can be removed or installed in seconds. All single pass straps are sold with a glass vial containing heavy duty 20mm springbars, and a stainless steel springbar tool.

Installing the Vaer Single Pass Strap
If you’ve opted to purchase an optional single pass strap with your watch, or already own a 20mm nylon strap, you will need to remove the standard quick release straps and in- stall springbars between the lugs of your watch. Once the bars are in place, simply feed the tail end of the single pass strap through each of the two springbars starting from the top of the watch. Depending on the size of your wrist you may have extra length of nylon extending beyond the last keeper loop. Simply fold back the tag end of the strap through the keeper. To secure the extra length, feed the strap back toward the buckle until it is tightly secured.

Using Your Watch in the Water
This watch is perfectly suited for underwater activity. The caseback and crown use a threaded screw-down design to maintain an airtight seal. We recommend rinsing the straps and watch case in freshwater after ocean use to remove any build-ups of salt. Though our leather is water resistant, we do not recommend submersion in water - switch to your included ocean-ready strap for this type of activity.

IMPORTANT! Do not expose your watch to water or steam if the crown is not secure. Our waterproof warranty does not cover flooding from misuse if the crown is unlocked.

Operating the Watch's Movement
In order to set the time on the watch, unscrew the crown counterclock-wise. Once the crown is disengaged from the threading, pull out until you feel a gentle click (Position 1). The current version of the R1 doesn't have a date function, so you can ignore Position 2, and extend the crown fully into Position 3 to adjust the true time. The gasket sealed crown ensures water resistance, and it must be screwed and sealed during water exposure to maintain warranty. 

Additional Resources

Click here to view all product manuals.
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