The story of the brand Ophion shouldn’t be new to you, in case you’re a frequent reader of Monochrome. Indeed, we introduced it to you, and we even gave away one of their first watches, the OPH 960. However, don’t be fooled by the youngness of the brand, as less than 2 years after their first iteration, a new watch is coming – and we have it for you here, quite exclusively. Here is the Ophion OPH 786. It’s cool, it’s superbly done, the content is simply impressive for the price, there’s a new movement… Everything to fall in love.
Throwback to Ophion’s story
What is Ophion? Well, it is part of these multiple watch brands that create these days. However, no Kickstarter here, no Miyota movement, no crazy design. Instead, there’s a passion. When he started the brand, Miguel had a simple idea: bringing a bit of the haute horlogerie taste in an affordable, yet elegant watch, with nice execution and a different movement (no ETA, no Seiko, no basic automatic 3-hander in fact). Of course, many of us dream of Laurent Ferrier, Patek Philippe or F.P. Journe and so was Miguel. Of course, there are no magical recipe and Ophion couldn’t bring the quality of these watches in a price 10 to 50 times lower. However, Ophion wanted to share a part of the pleasure, with clever tricks.
Their first watch, the Ophion OPH 960, wanted to set apart from all the young / Kickstarter brand by bringing a subtle design, some elegance, a certain classism as well as something that we love here at Monochrome, a rather nice 5-day power reserve, manual wound movement. And not only this movement was good on paper, technically speaking, but it was also very pleasant to look, with nicely curved bridges and large (machine-made of course) chamfers. In short, the OPH 960 allowed to enjoy a different mechanical approach, far more pleasant than a Miyota / ETA powered watch, for a price of EUR 1,600.
Now that the first watch (in 42mm and 38mm versions) is sold-out, it is now time to move forward… and they’ve been working hard at Ophion, believe us.
The new Ophion OPH 786
As good as the first watch was, it was not perfect though – and we forgive them, don’t forget that it was their first attempt in the watchmaking industry. It was probably a bit shy in terms of look, it was probably a bit too large on the wrist (corrected later with a smaller version) and it was certainly lacking a bit of ‘soul‘. The new Ophion OPH 786 definitely improves all these aspects.
The new OPH 786 stays true to what the base idea of the brand was when created: offering a bit of the pleasure of haute horlogerie for a very decent price. For that, it keeps the positive elements of the first watch and improves drastically some others and even brings some features that would usually be reserved to much higher priced watches… really, you’ll see, it’s impressive.
The inspiration for the Ophion OPH 786 is clear and not hidden: Breguet and its first watches from the 1780s. Of course, we talk details here and not the entire Breguet watches. The main point is of course the dial and its guilloche pattern and multi-layer construction. The base of dial is a guilloche plate. Because of the price positioning, this pattern is done by a CNC-machine and not by hand, as for Breguet for instance (this would simply multiply the price of the watch by 3 or 4…) Yet, the result seems to be a nice, classical design. Plus, on the contrary of many brands, this dial is not stamped, but machined, meaning more depth and a more “chased” result. On top of this plate are affixed two metal rings, with circular brushing finish, for the hours and minutes. The indications are hollowed to create a nice depth effect. This guilloche dial is available in silver or blue.
Another option is possible for the dial, this time with a frosted effect (granular pattern), replacing the guilloche plate. This goes along a different color, in that case dark grey (and a lower price too). The hands, as the rest of the dial, use a classical yet modernized shape. Depending on the color of the dial, they can be thermally blued or nickel plated. Overall, the result on this Ophion OPH 786 is stylish, elegant and brings a sensation of a impressive work done.
Learning from the previous watch, the team at Ophion has sized-down the case on this new OPH 786. Instead of a 42mm case with long lugs and overall rather generic design, we now have a 39mm steel case, entirely polished, with a more inspired design. This can be felt on the bezel, now bombé, as well as on the casebands, also bombé, or on the lugs, with a cabochon on the end, or with the crown, now with a nice onion design. Overall, the new Ophion OPH 786 simply has more personality.
The final touch comes from the movement… with a personalized and unique decoration (and in such a price level, that’s something you don’t get often). While the base remain the same – a Technotime TT 718, with double barrel and 5-day power reserve, soon to be manufactured by Soprod, after Technotime stopped activities – every single visual aspect has been re-thought, to perfectly match with the 1780s Breguet watches inspiration. Thus, the bridges have been redesigned with symmetrical and triangular design and the balance cock is now using the same kind of stepped shape as British pocket watches from the end of the 18th century.
What really stands out though is the decoration. The bridges indeed feature a “grenaillage” or hand-hammered finish, which again echoes with antique pocket watches. The edges of the bridges are chamfered and the main plate is sandblasted to bring contrast. In all honesty, we can hardly imagine another watch with the same kind of movement and that level of finishing, priced below 2K Euros. The attention to detail is impressive throughout the entire watch and perfectly consistent.
With this complete new geometry and hand-hammered decoration, the aesthetic language of the watch and the movement were designed with the same idea in mind, where the movement and the watch have been created as a whole, and not as two different elements that are later assembled. This was just a first look to present the watch to you, but we’ll soon have it at the Monochrome HQ in order to share with you our hands-on thoughts.
The pre-orders for the Ophion OPH 786 will soon be available. The Granular Grey version will be priced at EUR 1,650 (before taxes) and the Guilloche Silver or Blue versions at EUR 1,990 (before taxes). The pre-order/deposit will be EUR 950 for the Granular Grey version and EUR 1,150 for the Guilloche versions. More details on www.ophion-watches.com or by contacting [email protected].
Technical Specifications – Ophion OPH 786
- Case: 39mm diameter x 10.35mm thickness – 20mm lug width – stainless steel case, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Dial: multi-layered – CNC-machine guilloche or granular finish
- Movement: TT 718 – hand-wound – 5-day power reserve with 2 barrels – 28,800vph – hours, minutes, central seconds
- Strap: leather strap with pin buckle