A visually stunning and beautifully executed timepiece, which blends avant-garde manufacturing techniques with traditional styling, the Ophion OPH 786 Vélos Salmon Guilloché watch is an intriguing proposition. Featuring a multi-layered dial abound with subtleties, and housed within a gracefully elegant case, the piece captures the essence of the dress watch aesthetic while also demonstrating the contemporary design acumen of this exciting independent watchmaking company.
Although a relatively youthful company, Ophion, who were founded in 2015, have already caught the eye of enthusiasts of horology throughout the world. From their Madrid-based atelier, the company have developed a fresh take on Haute Horlogerie finishing, engendering a unique portfolio of watches crafted by blending old-school techniques with state-of-the-art machining methods. Characterised by fine detailing and superb styling, the Ophion OPH 786 Vélos Salmon Guilloché model also enjoys the advantage of a custom Swiss mechanical movement boasting a resolutely vintage pocketwatch arrangement.
The watch carries a stainless steel case sized at 39mm across and 10.4mm tall. Evocative of a gently rounded pebble, it has been given a polished finish which showcases its curves, contours and its curvaceous tear drop lugs, which have each been individually welded into position. Expertly manufactured by independent legend Kari Voutilainen’s Cattin company, the case exhibits perfect proportions throughout and is set with a flattened and fluted crown.
Beneath the gently domed sapphire crystal which features anti-reflective coating on both sides, lies a salmon-coloured dial onto which a finely detailed cross-weave guilloché motif has been rendered by CNC. No less detailed than hand-crafted examples, its deeply textured surface and the mesmerising pattern adds instant refinement to this alluring façade. Complementing the warmth of the dial tone, thermal blued Breguet style arabic numerals, each individually applied add further interest, while an applied minute track and inner dial ring, add a sense of depth to the display. From the centre, the trio of hands are also thermal blued, and are exquisite. Featuring a petite hammer tip, the slender seconds hand is elongated and is paired with an equally refined minutes hand. Joining them, the sleek, open-worked form of the hour hand is not simply delightful, it also gives the collection its name - Vélos, the Classical Greek name for arrow.
Through the sapphire caseback, one can view the manual winding movement which has been manufactured by MHVJ and Soprod in Switzerland. Ophion have disassembled the base calibre, replacing the original main plate with custom made bridges. Leaning towards the finishing found on fine old pocket watch movements, the bridges have surfaces which are finished with a hammered effect, providing contrast to the machine polished chamfering around their edges. The pared back bridge design reveals the balance wheel which oscillates at a brisk 28,800 vib/h (4hz), and the two barrels, which deliver an impressive five day (120 hour) power reserve.
A compelling timepiece, and one which represents the confidence and design finesse of this youthful independent watchmaking company, the Ophion OPH 786 Vélos Salmon Guilloché watch is presented on a brown leather strap secured to the wrist with a steel pin buckle.