Last year at around this time (almost to the day, in fact) we brought you a story that turned out to be one of my personal favorites of the entire year. The Zelos Mirage was completely unexpected: a tourbillon (Swiss, no less) from a brand that specializes in ultra affordable, design forward tool watches. The Mirage was very much a passion project for brand founder Elshan Tang, and as we detailed last year, he made it in large part because of a personal fascination with tourbillons that he’s harbored from the beginning. While the Mirage is unlike any other watch in the collection, it shares an aesthetic with Zelos’s affordable watches, and to fans of the brand would provide plenty of clear links to earlier projects. Even with a starting price of around $11,000 (a lot for a Zelos, but very affordable for a tourb), the run sold out in a flash. Now a follow up is available – but where do you go after starting with a tourbillon?
The answer comes in the form of the Mirage 2, a watch with a skeletonized movement boasting an 8 day power reserve, in a variety of unusual case materials (a Zelos hallmark at this point). Like the original Mirage, the sequel seeks to make the exotic a bit more approachable without compromising Zelos’s signature style.
For the movement of the Mirage 2, Zelos is once again working with La Joux-Perret. The caliber features twin barrels that provide a total of 8 days of reserve, and have been given a customized turbine skeletonization effect, visible from the dial side. The decoration is industrial, but elaborate, and even though there’s quite a bit going on on the dial side, it remains balanced with a small seconds register at 6:00 and a power reserve indicator at 12:00.
To make the most of the skeletonization effect, the Mirage 2 uses an “invisible” sapphire crystal dial, which is intended to make the hands and hour markers appear as if they are floating in midair. This has become something of a trend as of late, perhaps most notably seen in the Christopher Ward C60, which uses a colored sapphire dial to impart a completely different effect. Here, a total of three pieces of sapphire are used (both the front and back crystals are sapphire as well) to draw your attention to the exotic nature of the movement and its relationship to the case.
You’ll have lots of case material options if you choose to purchase a Mirage 2, and they exist over a broad spectrum of price points. The titanium, seen here, is the simplest option, and retails for $3,900. The case and bracelet have both been hardened to guard against scratches, and finishing alternates between sandblasted and brushed. This is easily the most tool-like variant, and has been designed to be straightforward and somewhat inconspicuous, at least compared to the more exotic choices.
You can also have the Mirage 2 Zirconium-Ti Damascus, which combines Titanium and Zirconium through a welding and forging process that results in a case with a distinctive wave-like pattern. Zelos is offering the Zirconium-Ti Damascus watches in variants that feature both blue and yellow highlights. Additionally, Zelos will produce the Mirage 2 in tantalum, a material that is extremely uncommon in watchmaking due to the difficulty involved in machining it. Tantalum is a very dense metal that’s known for its resistance to corrosion and a distinctive blue-gray color. The Zirconium-Ti and Tantalum watches all carry retail prices of $4,900.
Finally, Zelos is also offering the Mirage 2 in a full sapphire case, which promises to provide maximum exposure of the 8 day movement. Zelos tells us that this case requires special machinery to produce, and hours of polishing to achieve the desired effect. Sapphire cases have seen an uptick in popularity at the highest of high end over the last few years, and a sapphire cased watch at this price point (it will sell for $8,900) is unheard of. All cases measure 42mm in diameter, with a thickness of 13mm, and a lug to lug span of 48.5mm
The Mirage 2 is available today via the Zelos website. Each variant is a limited edition of 25 watches.