Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Ophion is Back With The OPH 411 Vesper Micro-Rotor Watch

An architectural dial inside a Voutilainen-made case and powered by a Schwarz Etienne micro-rotor movement.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |

Ophion is a brand that immediately caught our attention, right away after its inception in 2015. Not only because it is one of the rare watch projects to come from Spain, but mostly it’s the dedication to details that made an impression on us. The idea, bringing the charm of high-end indie watchmaking, without the price tag that often comes along. From the initial project, the OPH 960, we’ve seen Ophion growing and maturing in the right direction, design-wise first, with the elegant OPH 786, but also in terms of quality with the Velos collection, housed in a Voutilainen-Cattin case, with impressively detailed dials. 2023 marks the debut of a brand new watch, the OPH 411 Vesper, and this time not only the design becomes even more complex, but the mechanics are moving up drastically too.

Behind the brand Ophion is Miguel, a watch enthusiast who dreamed of watches such as Journe, Voutilainen or Dufour, without being able to afford them. His idea was simple; trying to bring a bit of that flair, with elegantly designed watches, lots of details and mechanics that would feel higher-end than you’d expect, but also clever ideas to avoid prices that would have made his watches unattainable to him, or to many potential watch fans. Gradually, we’ve seen Ophion moving up, with the introduction of the OPH 786 and its multi-layer frosted dials, the launch of Velos with teardrop cases made by Voutilainen-Cattin, dials with guilloche-like patterns, applied Breguet numerals and a Soprod-sourced movement so much modified that it appeared to come from an indie manufacture…

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What about the new OPH 411 Vesper…? Well, it feels like a natural evolution once again, with even more details to discover, even more attention to manufacturing on the dial and, the main upgrade, a movement sourced from a renowned Swiss maker, Schwarz Etienne. As you’d expect, the prices have changed too, and not just a bit. But still in a way that makes these watches competitively priced.

Behind the design of the OPH 411 Vesper are the works of Etienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799), a visionary French neoclassical architect whose work greatly influenced contemporary architects and modern designers. His work was characterised by the removal of all unnecessary ornamentation, inflating geometric forms to a huge scale and repeating elements such as columns. One of his most important pieces of work was a monument to Isaac Newton, a Cenotaph (a funerary monument), expressed as a 150m tall sphere encompassed by two large barriers circled by hundreds of cypress trees. Though the structure was never built, Boullée had many ink and wash drawings engraved, and the inside showed a small sarcophagus for Newton, placed at the lower pole of the sphere, under a starry sky.

It’s mostly the top view of Newton’s Cenotaph by Boullée that has inspired the design of the Ophion OPH 411 Vesper’s dial. Successive circles, framed by dozens of small squares… How does that materialize? Starting from the base, the background is, as often with Ophion, a matte-grained texture available in a variety of colours – silver, black, blue, salmon and turquoise (the latter being a 50-piece launch edition). Then, there’s a juxtaposition of repetitive and concentric elements. Three rings, for the seconds, minutes and hours take place on the dial and are raised, polished and chamfered to create sectors.

Mirroring the top view from Newton’s Cenotaph, a multitude of micro indexes indicating the minutes and seconds have been applied to the dial, all 3D laser-cut and polished on top to create the effect of a starry night. The two main rings are connected by raised and polished bridge-like hour markers, resulting a highly geometric scenography. The time is indicated by faceted diamond-cut hands and, together with the hour markers, these are available either rhodium-plated or blue PVD coated. The name of the watch itself, Vesper, translated from Latin to “evening star” (no, it’s not a reference to the equally stunning James Bond girl in Casino Royale…)

The case, which measures a reasonable 39mm diameter x 11.4mm height, is made of steel, entirely polished by hand and equipped with extremely elegant, independently made and welded teardrop lugs. The resemblance with a Kari Voutilainen case is obvious, and justified since it’s his company Voutilainen-Cattin SA making it. Sapphire crystals are seen front and bottom, revealing a new movement.

Inside the OPH 411 Vesper is a micro-rotor movement made by Schwarz Etienne. While the technical base is well-known, the present version of the ASE 200 has been developed together with Ophion with multiple unique features, including a custom design for the main bridge, the balance wheel bridge and the escapement bridge. The decoration is also unique to the brand and connects the Vesper with previous models. The main plate is grey sand-blasted while the top bridges are chamfered and finished in grey with a grenaille surface. Otherwise, it retains the same specifications; 3Hz frequency, micro-rotor winding, 86h power reserve, HMS with stop seconds.

Worn on an alligator leather strap and presented in 6 different editions, including a 50-piece launch version with a turquoise dial, the Ophion OPH 411 Vesper will be available at EUR 7,950 (excl. taxes), which marks a rather large step up compared to previous models. But the Vesper is also far more advanced on all sides. For more details, please visit

5 responses

  1. The only thing I’d change is the number of micro-indexes in the inner ring. If they had put 3 instead of 4 they would serve to mark the quarters of hour. Everything else is perfect.

  2. Interesting observation ! On the outer they mark the minutes; likely if they did that on the inner ring the radial alignment would have been messed up, plus that it’s not that useful in fact.
    The article doesn’t include a photo of the back of the watch and thus we don’t know if it’s Swiss made, made in Spain, etc …

  3. To Chris J.: in the specs you have the manufacturers of the case (Voutilainen-Cattin), dial (Estima), and movement (Schwarz Etienne), which are all from Switzerland. Maybe the leather strap was made in Spain, and final assembly too?

  4. For the pleasure of discussing. Yes, the radial alignment it’d be compromised but not the radial symmetry so I suppose that the aesthetic result it’d not be bad. Anyway a minor quibble. I think the watch it’s a great and original 3D interpretation of a sector dial. 😀😀


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