In my opinion, the Nikon Monarch is more comparable to the Vari-X III of old. I would absolutely say the Monarch over the VX-1. Better light transmission, good clear optics, lot of scope for the money, lifetime warranty.
VX-1 is entry level. It comes with a good warranty and name, but not much else.
Drury, I've got 3 of the Nikon Monarchs and they are doing great. I sold off my Leupolds and have not looked back. Great light transmission on the Nikons and I really like the fast focus eyepiece and finger click adjustments on them. Only wish they offered a Boone and Crockett or ballisticplex reticle of some sort.
I would I have used The nikon monarch and the leupold vari-X II and vari-x III, and i would say the nikon is more comparable to the vari-x II than the III. Just a personal opinionl, but between the variX I and the monarch i would go with the monarch.