When I started this blog, I never thought that I would ever review a Tourbillon watches, not even Chinese as this blog was created to write about affordable and attainable watches. You probably remember that some time ago I reviewed the ERA Prometheus which was ERA Timepieces first Tourbillon watch and since then the company has been getting bigger with a lot of new watches in their collection. But about a year ago they announced the Hyperion which is their craziest and most complicated watch yet. It is a world’s first Wandering Hour Tourbillon watch, at least that’s what they are stating, but after some research, it seems that it is the world’s first. Maybe there is a small company somewhere deep in the Swiss mountains that are making these complications in one watch, but the internet hasn’t reached them, but I also may be wrong.
The company is called ERA Timepieces. From what I understand they are from the United States. At the end of 2018, they launched their Kickstarter project for the Prometheus where they got 722 backers who pledged whopping $766,968 to help bring this project to life. Right along with the Kickstarter they also launched IndieGoGo project where they got even more funding, record-breaking $1076606!
But about a year ago they announced the Hyperion and also launched it through Kickstarter and it got 77 backers who pledged $123,225 to help bring this project to life. It wasn’t as much as for the Prometheus, but still enough to bring the project forward. The wait was long for this model as Michael (founder) reserved me one of the first batch watches and the shipping was scheduled for March, but due to Covid-19 Pandemic everything was moved forward and at the end of the June I got my example in for review.
So let’s dive into the review! The watch arrived in a pretty big box. You take off the cardboard outer and you will find a box wrapped in ERA logo signed paper with wax seal stamp with ERA logo. You really can see that they take a lot of attention to the unboxing experience. Outside the box is signed with star logo which I guess is for the name Hyperion. Inside piano finish wooden box you will find a brochure with all the idea behind the company, how to operate the Tourbillon movement, how to read the wandering hours complication and etc. Also, inside the box, you will find the spring bar tool, link pin removal tool and a metal authenticity card. The first impressions were just wow! I was waiting to review this one for a long time since I saw the renders! And ERA has really gone crazy with this watch! It is probably the craziest watch I have reviewed so far, hahaha!
The case of the Hyperion is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is pretty well manufactured with pretty good lines and corners. Although when changing the bracelet for a strap I noticed that inside of the lugs and case that is hidden by the bracelet end link is very poorly machined (circled in red on the photo below). I know that you can’t see that part when the watch is on the bracelet, but I think a watch that costs 1899$ shouldn’t have these problems. But I’m not bothered by that, as I can’t see that part + I like it more on the bracelet. The case sides and part of the bezel are satin-brushed, but the rest is polished. The finishing is done pretty good. The case diameter is 44m, the length is 53mm, the thickness is 18mm and the lug width is 22mm. The side on the paper seems big, but in reality, it actually wears a bit smaller due to how the crown is positioned. The push-pull crown on this watch is at 12 o’clock and it has almost a valve-like shape that you can usually find on water pipes in your home or for gas pipes. The crown is very well machined and is actually pretty easy to manipulate. The fixed bezel on top is very interesting with small rivets and it looks like a porthole frame. The exhibition case back has some specifications written around the frame and the crystal is a flat mineral. I just wish they put a sapphire on the case back as I’ve seen 5 times cheaper watch with sapphire crystal on the case back. On the top, we have a highly domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. The water resistance in 50m (5ATM) which is plenty enough for this style of watch and it can easily handle rain or hand-wash.
The dial is really something, it is a pure black Aventurine glass dial. It has sparkles and kind of purple haze in the sunlight. At 3 o’clock we can see the Tourbillon cage going in 360 degrees. At 9 o’clock we have the ERA logo which in my opinion looks very bad and I wish they stopped putting it on the dial as it kind of ruins it. Around the dial, we have white hour markers which are lumed. The most interesting part is how it shows time, it is called a wandering hours complications, so the rocket-shaped hand is for minutes and the wheel shows the hours in the round portion of the rocket. In my personal opinion, the rocket also was unnecessary detail as it kind of cheapens the watch. The dial actually has a lot of movement happening with the tourbillon going round and round and the big rocket hand moving and the disc too. It takes some time to get used to how to tell time, but it for sure is an interesting complication which is getting quite popular in the microbrand scene. But I saw some mistakes on the hour wheel, on their promotional photos and renders it hows much bolder font for the numbers and also there is a strange line under 6 an 9 which has no actual meaning, so it looks like a typo that QC of the factory missed.
The movement is ERA-002, but in reality, it is an Hangzhou made calibre, just turned sideways and with some custom work done to the Tourbillon cage, finishing, rotor and of course the added wandering hours module on top of the movement. In all honesty, the movement is done really well. I and my watchmaker took it apart to see the module and it has a pretty good finishing also the reworked Tourbillon cage is pretty well made and finished so kudos to ERA for upgrading the movement. As we talked before on the last ERA Prometheus review, everybody asks the same old question on forums and everywhere about what happens when the servicing is needed or some parts need to be replaced, well, for service you can basically take it to any of the watchmakers in your area, or if it needs a part to b replaced, then you can send it to ERA or to the Hangzhou. The movement has 45-hour power reserve, 5 jewels and it beats at 28800vph plus it has an automatic winding. My sample runs at about +4 to +5 seconds a day, which is not so bad for Chinese Tourbillon, but my last ERA Prometheus runs at +1 second a day. The Chinese Tourbillons are pretty precise actually and have heard only good things about them.
The bracelet on the watch is pretty good looking, but the quality is a bit questionable. As we know this watch had many delay problems as it needed to be shipped I think in March or even in January of 2020, but due to Covid 19 it got delayed and ERA changed the factory for certain parts so I guess this heavily reflected on the QC. And It looks like one of these things was the bracelet and case. The bracelet has solid end-links and links, the links are held on together with push pins. The finishing is satin brushed with polished links. It has a butterfly folding clasp that is hidden under the bracelet by the wrist. The problem is that some links aren’t wrapping the wrist properly and are to tight, that means the machine work isn’t very well done. But on the wrist it wears quite comfortable due to how the lugs slope down. It also doesn’t pull hairs like some other bracelets do sometimes. The clasp is pretty well made actually as it feels safe and looks like won’t open on it’s own like some Chinese ones do. ERA also included a crocodile print black leather strap with cutout for the crown at 12 o’clock. The strap comes with butterfly double fold clasp which is signed with ERA logo. While the strap is decent I wish they made a real alligator or crocodile strap as there are watches that cost two times less and have a real alligator leather strap.
Overall the watch is pretty stunning, I really like the idea and especially love the movement and how well it is built and finished. Also I like the crown at 12 o’clock. But as every watch, there are some things that aren’t perfect like the CNC and finishing between the lugs on the case, the bracelet machine work and the typo on the hour wheel. I kind of understand that due to Covid 19 outbreak around the world they had to delay the start of production, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of good QC. If I would get this first batch I would send the watch back as this isn’t the quality I was expecting for 1899$ watch. The previous ERA Prometheus was really well made an finished and they nailed the watch, yes it had some problems too, but I was nitpicking there, but here we have some problems. I just hope that ERA will listen into this and fix the issues for the net batches! Would I buy the watch? Well, kind of yes, but only if all the problems it have would be resolved!
CASE MATERIAL – Surgical Grade Polished 316L Stainless Steel
THICKNESS – 18 mm
WEIGHT – 220 grams with 316L Stainless Steel Strap
DIAMETER – 44 mm
WINDING CROWN – Manual Airlock Wheel
CRYSTAL – Ultra Scratch-resistant DOMED Sapphire Glass With Anti-Reflective Coating
WATER RESISTANCE – 5 ATM / 50 meters
MOVEMENT – Automatic In-House Hybrid Tourbillon And Wandering Hour Movement
CALIBRE – In-House ERA-002
FUNCTIONS – Wandering Rocket Hands, Pure Black Aventurine Glass Dial, Black Hole Themed Hour Sub-Dial, Simulated Spaceship Porthole Riveted Bezel, Ultra Premium Sapphire Glass With Anti-Reflective Coating
FREQUENCY – 28,800 vph
JEWELS – 35
POWER RESERVE – 45 hours
BRACELET – 316L Stainless Steel Straps With Quick Release Bars
STRAP DIMENSIONS – 24 mm
BRACELET MATERIAL Surgical Grade Premium Polished And Brushed 316L Stainless Steel
CLASP – ERA Stainless Steel Deployment Clasp
WATCH BOX – Custom Crafted Wooden Box
WARRANTY – 2 Year International Warranty Anodized Jet Black Steel Warranty Card & Certificate of Authenticity, Laser cut and laser etched