Introducing the OPH 786—Ophion’s Second Take on Accessible Luxury

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Very few men have left their mark on watchmaking history like Abraham-Louis Breguet. Over the course of his life, the French innovator built timepieces for most of Europe’s royalty, invented the tourbillon, and established one of the oldest marques still in existence (the Breguet brand has been around since 1775—one year older than the Declaration of Independence). His work still stands today as a hallmark of fine horology, and it has been the inspiration for countless extremely fine timepieces. However, most of these pieces (from Breguet themselves or otherwise) have been priced at the very top of the market and out of the hands of the vast majority of enthusiasts.

Enter Ophion. After their debut with the handsome (and now sold out) OPH 960–which we reviewed here–in 2015, the brand is back to bring an injection of Breguet DNA into a surprisingly affordable, modern package with the OPH 786.

Introducing the Ophion 786, a Breguet-inspired series with a cool, contemporary take.

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The Ophion OPH 786 is a brilliant blend of classical and more modern cues, starting with the case design. Overall, it’s simple and elegant, with a narrow polished bezel, straight sides and long, gently curving lugs at an extremely wearable 39mm. On the more modern side, the OPH 786 offers a wide sapphire window into the movement, while the large ornate cushion crown undoubtedly feels more classically Breguet in its execution.

The dial is where this modern take on Breguet really comes into its own, however. A major part of the mission statement for the OPH 786 was to bring the classical brand’s guilloche dial work to the masses, and the entire design hinges on this dynamic surface. Rather than taking the more common low-cost approach and stamping the dial with a guilloche effect, the team at Ophion have chosen to go all out: the silver and brilliant blue-dialed OPH 786 variants feature a true milled guilloche pattern.

The execution, however, is cutting-edge. Rather than using a traditional hand-operated lathe, the woven pattern on the OPH 786’s dial is created entirely in a CNC machine. For those less inclined to intricate patterns, Ophion also offers the OPH 786 with a pebbled gray dial base.

This base layer is accentuated by a pair of applied brushed stainless outer tracks, the outer for minutes and the inner displaying the attractive Roman numeral hour indices. By cutting through the applied track to the textured dial below, each maker adds depth and dynamism to an already active dial. The Ophion nameplate at 12 receives a similar steel plate treatment as well.

The intricate, woven pattern on the OPH 786’s dial is created entirely in a CNC machine.

 

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As for the handset, the OPH 786 pays yet another nod to Abraham-Louis Breguet with an ultra-modern, deconstructed take on the Breguet hand. The hours hand here eschews the slight organic bulge of the original for a slim, simple taper, leading to an oversized ring. The minutes hand, meanwhile, gets rid of the Breguet ring entirely but instead features the leaf-style bulge. Separating the two definitive elements of Breguet hands into two entirely separate designs is a clever touch, one that helps to simplify a dial that could easily become overcomplicated. Keeping this trend of elementality alive is a long stick seconds hand featuring an unusual T-shaped counterweight.

Silver

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Blue
Granular Grey

Choosing the right movement to power the OPH 786 was a more difficult decision than one would imagine. Originally powered by a highly modified Technotime 718, Ophion was only able to acquire 40 movements before Technotime went under. Fortunately, Soprod acquired Technotime and all of its assests, so future movements will be manufactured by Soprod and will feature the same stunning level of modification.

The bridges have been completely reshaped to better match the look of a 1780s Breguet pocket watch, and painstakingly hand-hammered to achieve a beautiful, classically-inspired finish. Those bridges are then machine chamfered to add a polished edge all-round. In addition, the balance wheel moves to a brand new independent and symmetrical bridge, offering a clear and attractive view of the “beating heart” of the movement. While a signature on one of the new plates might be a perfect finishing touch, it’s hard not to be impressed with the amount of effort and craftsmanship put into the redesign here.

Ophion’s redesign (unique to them) of the 718, an impressive Caliber with a five-day power reserve.
The two large barrels.
The bridges have been completely reshaped to better match the look of a 1780s Breguet pocket watch.
The original.

Ophion is offering the OPH 786 on a choice of calf leather or alligator in a rich tobacco brown, vibrant blue, or classic black. Alligator feels like the perfect strap choice here—refined, classical, and luxurious. It’s difficult to imagine a need to change off of this one. That said, the formality of alligator might be the only limiting factor for the OPH 786 in terms of wearability. At 39 millimeters across and only 10.3 thick, the watch hits a perfect sweet spot in size, and the overall design weaves together dressy and casual elements deftly. On calf leather, this might be as close as it gets to One-Watch-For All-Occasions territory.

Overall, the OPH 786 is a striking sophomore effort for Ophion, with the team inventively re-imagining centuries-old Breguet cues for a 21st-century design language. What’s more, it manages to accomplish this impressive feat of design and quality at a reasonable price—starting at just over $1,850. We’re certainly excited to see more of this one when it hits the streets in November.

Starting today, The OPH 786 will be available for pre-order with the first 40 units slated for delivery November 2017. Ophion

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection.
seanpaullorentzen
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  • Churlish

    I really really like the look of these and appreciate the information on how the guilloche is cut. Great size for me too. I may very well order one!

    • Churlish

      Ordered a silver-dial version!

  • SVK

    I don’t typically like Roman numerals or Breguet hands, but somehow, I absolutely love the OPH 786. It might be hard not to bite on the blue one if the lug-to-lug is less than 48mm.

  • Mikita

    The movement is unbelievably attractive considering the price. Can’t imagine any competitor at $1850

  • Akshay Kumar

    hi guys! tried to pre-order mine today but their website is so user-UNfriendly that im unable to contact their sales team for the minor customizations i need, they need to work on that first i feel.

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