Opifex Venture (Review) + Interview with founders

Today we are gonna take a look at Opifex Venture watch. A rather different take on a microbrand. It isn’t a diver or minimal/Bauhaus dress watch. It is something different, with its own design and style. I like when brands step out of the classic design and do something different. But first I had a chance to talk with the creators of the brand a little.

1.  Introduce yourself

OPIFEX, artisan, maker in Latin. We are a team of watchmakers who worked for Swiss watch manufacturing for years. We were in development and manufacturing team of watch caliber and watch components. With our experience and craftsmanship, OPIFEX team is the brand owner and also the manufacturer of OPIFEX watches. We are also the member of from development to the after sales service.

2. What started your watch passion?

It is our dream to create a timepiece that completely belongs to us. We started working on our calibre and watch design a year ago. When we finished our first prototype and shared with our friends. Their feedback started our passion to step even further. We left the workshop and stepped outside to the world. That’s how Venture born and why it named Venture.

3. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

We would consider it is design and craftsmanship. The watch needs to be essentially and cosmetically good and fit for daily use. We would also interest on its engineering design such as the composition of different components, the use of materials, the clearance between hands etc. In order to achieve its engineering design, good craftsmanship is required. We would focus on its detail such as the polishing, the fitting, the chamfers on indexes, hands alignment etc.

4. Who is your ideal customer?

We prefer to call them “friends”. Yes. We hope our watches goes to the users who wear our watch with appreciation and knows where we put our effort. They need to love innovation and something special like the way we select our watch.

5. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Besides watchmaking, we like to go workout in the gym. Exercise keeps us energetic to work more. But you know, the main concern is after arms day 😀

6. How do you see Opifex watch brand in future?

We certainly want OPIFEX to be successful and that people appreciated our work. That is the reason our social media page shared a lot of “How it’s made”. We do hope audiences will be influenced and treat mechanical watches as an art piece but not only as a product.

7. Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?

We are focusing on the multifunctional watch with our skeleton date signature to deliver even more value to our friends in coming months.

The interview is done, let’s take a look at the watch. So the Opifex watch company is still live on Kickstarter (10 days to go from the date this article will be published). Their goal was HK$ 200,000 goal, but already have HK$ 233,014 with 10 days to go. The company itself is based in Hong Kong and they want to deliver luxury watch designs at affordable prices. And they really deliver that. The automatic movement, power reserve, sapphire crystal, skeleton dial with a non-skeleton movement and of course the titanium case. The watch really looks super cool. They sent me a watch for review without the box so you won’t see any box here, it is because the Venture isn’t in production still. We are purely here for the watch. I opened the package, took the watch out and first impressions were that it is rather large, but also pretty light for the size. I have a couple of smaller watches that probably weigh more than this.

So the case is made fully from titanium. The case shape is round with these nice lugs. Finishing is done in this black PVD coating, with a satin brushed finishing and the only part that has polished finishing is top of the lugs. The diameter is 44mm, the thickness is 13mm, lug to lug tip is 52mm and the lug width is 22mm. The watch is large, but due to titanium case Venture wears really light on the wrist. Another interesting thing to the case is the addition of modular, screwed-in lugs that have a nice and clean transition from the case to lugs and to strap. There is also the element of interchangeability and material combination, which is evident in the black PVD model with rose gold accents.  There are six watches in the Venture collection and two limited editions for Kickstarter. Titanium band is also available. Retail Edition: Charcoal (Black), Flamingo (Red), Navy (Blue), Champagne (Gold), Rose Gold, Parisian (Blue + Rose Gold Index and Sub Dials). Kickstarter Limited Edition: Atom (Raw Titanium Color, Based on the first prototype). My personal favourite I guess would be the raw titanium finish. I think it looks the best. I’m not a big fan of PVD coatings or rose gold/yellow gold platings. The case back is see-through with sapphire crystal. The case back’s titanium ring is also PVD coated. On the case back you will find specifications and other info. The crown is large and has nice winding action and setting time. One problem, at least for me is that when you have short nails it is hard to pull the crown out to time/date or winding position. The crown sits very snug with the case and doesn’t poke out so I could grab it. But after some time you get used to it.

The dial is something cool. The dial is what they call “skeleton dial” The dial had many layers, that I even can’t count them. It has black colours, gold accents and some dark grey colour too. The dial has really much going on. There are two subdials, the upper one is power reserve and the one under it is seconds dial. On four o clock, we have a date window. With precision being their primary goal, OPIFEX set out to produce something with quality that can be found in higher priced brands. Of course, one of the best ways to do that is to incorporate a certain degree of hand-finishing and in-house production. That’s why each OPIFEX Venture features a skeleton date disc and hour wheel guard that’s produced in-house. The result is a complex and open look that is legible and unique to the brand. OPIFEX Venture delivers a three-dimensional look that looks like taken from a 5 figure priced watch. The watch actually a bit reminded me Hublot, AP, Richard Mille in some way or another. Plus, the hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova for low-light visibility. And the lume is pretty cool looking with that blue glow and strong too. It shines for good 5-6 hours. On top of the dial sits a flat sapphire crystal with the logo printed on it from inside. That is I think pretty interesting touch.

Now we came to the part where we take a look at their movement. Inside is the OPIFEX FE01M automatic movement. It beats at 21,600vph, has 22 jewels, delivers around 40 hours of power reserve, and performs within the range of -20/+40 seconds a day. They cooperate with Hangzhou Watch Co. The structure is similar to their 2BA0 movement. Which is in some way an ETA clone. But the decoration on the movement is really good. I have a couple of watches with higher grade ETA movements and they look as good as this one in the decoration part. So you really can see that they care about the quality and look of every detail, even the smallest.

The strap is a canvas one. I’m not a fan of canvas straps as they tend to be very stiff and the break in period is long. But the strap on this is a little better than on other watches I reviewed in past with these types of straps. This strap is a bit softer and the underline is soft rubbery material so it was comfortable enough. The buckle is a regular one also with the black PVD finishing and signed. The only thing that I think is wrong is that the holes for the strap isn’t heat sealed or any way finished as they are threading.

Overall the OPIFEX Venture is pretty cool. I like that there are micro brands that offer something different from the regular divers, bauhaus, classic watches we usually get. Also, the main goals to make quality watches with design, finishing that can be comparable to high-end watches. I also like the part that they also make some stuff in-house. I think everyone needs something different, that stands out of the crowd in their collection. So grab one, while the price is low.

To get one, go to their Kickstarter Project

 

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