PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 12 Sep, 2016.
Epos aren’t a new brand; they’ve been around since 1925. However, I wasn’t too aware of them until they reached out for a review. They aren’t under the same familial ownership as when it was founded, but a good open history of the make can be found on their website.
Epos’ motto is “Artistry in Watchmaking”: they want perfection, passion and precision in all their timepieces. The watch we’re looking at is the Originale 3408, which retails at RRP €1160 / £960. At first glance, it does seem a bit steep. But is it as stunning as a piece of fine art? Let’s take a closer look to see.
- Dimensions: 40mm diameter x 5.9mm height x 45.5mm lug to lug
- Lug width: 20mm
- Weight: 43g
- Movement: Peseux (ETA) 7001
- Water resistance: 3ATM / 30m
- Crystal: sapphire
The case is incredibly thin at less than 6mm. This is the thinnest mechanical watch I’ve ever seen so it’s made quite an impression on me. From the moment I took it out of the presentation case, I knew from its feeling and appearance that this was a luxurious timepiece.
Not only is it pretty thin at its thickest point, but it also has highly angled sides of the case to make it look and feel even thinner.
The case is highly polished and beautifully machined. it truly is a superb case in terms of manufacture. The angles, lugs and lines throughout are sensational and look extremely stylish and Bauhaus.
We have a mini onion shaped push-pull crown, an unexpected shape but it works really well and looks perfect to me. Most importantly, it’s really easy to use as you’d be winding it up every two days.
The caseback is secured in place by means of 4 screws, and looks wafer-thin; resulting in a great view of the movement: it looks like it’s literally right there. The exhibition window is surrounded by engraved watch specifics.
The case is ultimately a triumph. Of course, at just shy of £1000 I’d expect nothing more. But the feel, fit and finish of the it is quite sublime.
The dial is simplicity in motion; only what is needed. I’d like to avoid using the word “minimalist”, but the Epos is true to the word.
The main complication / feature of the dial is the blue sunray effect base, with another sunray within the small seconds hand. The colour is a classy dark blue, and these two separate entities work in tandem when the light hits it right.
The applied indexes / hour markers are simple enough but done perfectly: polished batons that are appear good quality thanks to their thickness. What you don’t initially notice is that these have a very gentle arc to them, demonstrating to me close attention to detail. These vary – a double at 12 whilst all others are single, and longer indexes at 12, 3, 6 and 9.
The hands are pitched a tiny amount, and whilst you can’t really tell by looking at them, it does make a difference to the reflections they produce. Straight batons with a small pointed tip; the hands are elegant, suitably sized and provide a good reading experience.
The running seconds hand is located at 6, within it’s own subdial that’s inset within the main dial. For a watch so thin, I think it’s an impressive feat to introduce some depth to the dial. The seconds hand is of similar style to the main hands. What’s also doubly impressive is how the subdial has an incredibly gentle concentric circular pattern to it: I’m talking one so subtle it’s hard to see with the naked eye. Interesting level of attention to detail.
The printing across the dial truly is minimal; limited to just the logo in the top half, Swiss Made at the foot of the dial, and subtle 5 second interval markers within the subdial.
The dial as a whole is graceful and charming; extremely simple and well put together.
The strap on the Epos Originale 3408 is genuine leather and is a lovely matte black. I’m not too keen on a polished patent leather, so I’m happy to see the finish used here.
The leather is beautifully supple and soft. It is very streamlined to match the thin profile case, but at the same time it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. The strap rocks a crocodile print pattern embossed on the top which I feel matches the appearance of the watch well.
The tang buckle is fully polished, with the logo engraved on the top bar. Personally I think this engraving could have been a little deeper.
The strap does an excellent job of maintaining a comfortable wear, and it is a main reason why the Epos feels so good on the wrist.
The movement powering the Epos Originale 3408 is stated to be the Peseux 7001 in the specs. Peseux were bought by ETA so is now technically the ETA 7001 – and the ETA logo proves that.
This is a very well known and often-used movement. It can be found in highly regarded watches by Stowa, Junghans, Baume & Mercier, Tissot and Blancpain to name a few. It’s hand wind only, hence the epic thinness of a mere 2.5mm. It runs at 21.6k bph (or 6 ticks per second) and is classed as a “top grade” movement; that being slightly higher quality than usual with extra decoration.
It really does look lovely too – the Geneva stripes and pearlage on the bridges are very pleasing to the eye, as are the blued screws. There’s one small thing that I’ve noticed, however – and that is that fact that the logo is upside down when the watch is held upright.
There’s no need to look beyond the Christopher Ward C5 Slimline as the main competitor here. Also available in blue, it’s a hand wind timepiece that has a thin profile as the main selling point. However, it’s height of 8.7mm feels like a skyscraper in comparison to the Epos. It is cheaper at £399, but to me doesn’t quite feel as special; nor does it have quite the same level of prestige.
A watch this thin and light could easily feel flimsy and cheap. The Epos Originale, however, does not. It’s made in such a way it exudes quality – much like a luxury watch should. The case manufacture is superb; it makes the difference and justifies the price tag.
The design is simple and inoffensive, gentle and classy.
The main question is whether just shy of £1000 is too much for a Swiss Made watch with a stock ETA movement? Personally I think they can get away with it as there’s many other manufacturers who demand similar, if not more.