This Elegant Dress Watch Has Features of High-End Horology for Approachable Prices


September 20, 2019 Watches By
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A small company headquartered in Spain but with mostly Swiss and German watch production, Ophion is offering a different kind of value from most microbrands — that is, with traits and features usually associated with high-end independent watchmakers, but for a significantly lower price. The brand’s third model, the new OPH 786 Vélos features an uncommon movement with a custom design and finishing, as well as interesting features like CNC guilloche dials. Stylistically in line with the previous OPH 786, the Vélos has a sportier feel with a distinct Art-Deco influence most evident the bold numerals and “vélos-style” hour hand.

In steel with a 39mm wide case that’s 10.45mm thick including the domed sapphire crystal (8.85mm thick without it), the Ophion OPH 786 Vélos has a formal profile. The brand provides a welcome level of disclosure about the companies they work with for every component, and this suggests pride in their product. The cases are produced by Voutilainen-Cattin S.A. in Switzerland, the dials are made by Cador GmbH in Germany, and so on (more info on the Ophion site). CNC-machined guilloche dials like Ophion is using are a definitive step above stamped ones, but those produced on rose engine lathes like those of the highest-end watchmakers are much more expensive.

The OPH 786 Velos is powered by a hand-wound Swiss Soprod movement with five days of power reserve, and it’s visible through a sapphire crystal case back display window. The movement bridges have been redesigned by Ophion to resemble 18th-century pocket watch movements with a cool grained texture meant to further mimic the look. From the case to the movement, no component of the watch is off-the-shelf, and rather designed specifically for Ophion, giving the final product an overall remarkably cohesive feel.

The dial itself, however, is what will get your attention first. It’s textured as well as multi-layered for a three-dimensional effect, and it’s available in brushed and guilloche versions in several different colors. The “salmon” guilloche dial, which is popular recently, stands out in particular with its contrasting blue hands and indices. Ophion is best for those who will look closely enough to appreciate the host of thoughtful touches and details. The Ophion OPH 786 Vélos has a price of around $3,160 with guilloche dials and $2,840 with brushed dials.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Melbourne Portsea Watch (~$422)
Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRPB77 Watch ($450 $360)
Anordain Model 1 Enamel Dial Watch ($1,363)
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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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