Luxury watches insider tipp: Interview with EPOS


by Nils Rau

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August 10. 2018 - by Nils Rau

EPOS is an insider tip for many watch lovers. The company from the Swiss Vallée de Joux has long been considered one of the most underestimated manufacturers in the mid-price segment which is reason enough to take a closer look at EPOS. Read and discover the history of the company and the luxury watches from EPOS!


Almost 100 years of company history

The roots of EPOS go back to the early 20th century. In 1925, James Aubert founded his company, James Aubert SA. Aubert strived to advance the art of watchmaking and to develop new horological complications. In cooperation with James Aubert's son-in-law, Jean Fillon, the company EPOS was finally founded in 1983 together with the then owner of the company, Mr. Peter Hofer. Many epic innovations are based on Fillon's inventive spirit, including the jumping hour and the regulator modification.

In 2002, the Chonge-Forster family took over the Swiss watch manufacturer. Singi Chonge is the second generation to lead the company. We spoke to him to give us the details about this luxury brand.


What is behind the EPOS brand? (Philosophy/Image/Concept)

Epos Uhren AG is a family-owned company based in Lengnau, Switzerland, which specialises in mechanical Swiss Made watches. As an independent, smaller brand, it is important to really come through with the product. Epos produces with Swiss quality standards and offers many complications at attractive prices that watch lovers otherwise only get from the big brands in much higher price segments. Epos is also known for its finely skeletonised movements and innovative design approaches.

At the end of the 1970s, production at EPOS - as with many other manufacturers - came to a complete standstill as a result of the quartz crisis. During this time, most manufacturers tried to jump on the quartz wave by selling battery-powered timepieces to secure their existence. Swiss watch expert Peter Hofer, however, firmly believed in the continued existence of manual and automatic timepieces. In 1983, he revived Montres EPOS SA and continued to work on the production of mechanical watches. In the early 2000s, Hofer finally handed over the fate of the manufactory to the Chonge-Forster family. Since then, this new management has focused on a well-dosed expansion and a development of the brand. They have also aimed to produce sophisticated mechanical watches at fair prices. This seems to be a success because the experience with EPOS watches remains consistently good.


Classic or modern - what is the future of EPOS and what innovations can EPOS buyers expect from CHRONEXT in the coming years?

Epos is basically a classically positioned, rather masculine brand. With the generation change in management at the beginning of this year, however, Epos has set out to move the collection in a somewhat younger direction. The first result is the new, fully equipped diving watch Epos 3441 with ceramic bezel, 500m water resistance, helium valve and cambered sapphire crystal, which will be available in the second half of this year. In the future, Epos will continue to create contemporary collector's items that will definitely surprise us with fresh design approaches while remaining true to their roots, the traditional Swiss watchmaking art.

An excerpt of the EPOS collection in detail:

EPOS Originals

The original EPOS collection consists of 17 different timepieces with a classic appearance. Depending on personal taste, some models are traditional and others a little more modern. The retro look is not neglected either: the EPOS Originale 3437, for example, is in the charming Bauhaus style. Three of the watches have a skeleton dial. In traditional models, traditional design elements such as Roman numerals or a railway minutetery ("chemin de fer") can be found. The design of the cases and materials are as varied as the diameters of the watches (from 32.5 to 41 millimetres), so the original collection should have the right watch for almost every taste. Reliable ETA or Peseux movements are used in the watches.

EPOS Sportive

As the name suggests, the Sportive collection contains 18 different sports watches. In addition to classic diving and pilot watches, watches can also be found that do not fit into a certain category, but nevertheless appear sporty. The EPOS Sportive 3411 is water resistant up to 200 meters, the 43 millimeter EPOS Sportive 3441 Diver is even up to 500 meters water resistant and equipped with a helium valve, which allows a faster pressure equalisation and is especially advantageous for professional dives. The Sportive series is equipped with ETA, Sellita and Unitas movements. The chronographs are equipped with the famous ETA Valjoux 7750 movement.

 

EPOS Sportive

As the name suggests, the Sportive collection contains 18 different sports watches. In addition to classic diving and pilot watches, watches can also be found that do not fit into a certain category, but nevertheless appear sporty. The EPOS Sportive 3411 is water resistant up to 200 meters, the 43 millimeter EPOS Sportive 3441 Diver is even up to 500 meters water resistant and equipped with a helium valve, which allows a faster pressure equalisation and is especially advantageous for professional dives. The Sportive series is equipped with ETA, Sellita and Unitas movements. The chronographs are equipped with the famous ETA Valjoux 7750 movement.

What are EPOS’s specific corporate goals for the next five years? 


The main goal is to make the brand known to a wider public without leaving the niche of a quality manufacturer of affordable, complex, mechanical watches. Epos is already a well-known brand in Asia - we also want to achieve this in Western Europe and the rest of the world.

EPOS Oeuvre D'Art

Those who love more unusual watches will find what they are looking for in the Oevre D'Art collection. The seven watches in the series have an extraordinary appearance - four of the seven models alone are (partially) skeletonised. The EPOS Oeuvre D'Art 3400LE features a GMT complication in the EPOS Oeuvre D'Art 3400LE and a five-minute repetition in the EPOS Oeuvre D'Art 3373LE, as well as the EPOS Oeuvre D'Art 3440 Big Moon. The watch is equipped with a date display, a day and weekday calendar and a luminous moon-phase display. These complications are implemented via an appropriate module on the ETA 2892.

EPOS Perfection

The EPOS Perfection watches are two square timepieces, both with a 38.5 x 32mm stainless steel case. The basic model - the EPOS Perfection 3399 - has a silver dial and a date display at six o'clock. The EPOS Perfection 3399OH (OH stands for Open Heart) does without the date complication and has a partially skeletonised black dial, through which the balance wheel can also be viewed from the front. In contrast to conventional skeletons, the opening is at twelve o'clock. The watches are equipped with an ETA 2824 or a Sellita SW200.

EPOS Sophistiquée

The nine models from the Sophistiquée collection are a little more modern than the original models. Four specimens are partially skeletonised. Sophistiquée watches also have watchmaking complications to offer: In addition to a moon phase and power reserve display in the EPOS Sophistiquée 3378 and a large vertical date in the EPOS Sophistiquée 3383, the EPOS Sophistiquée 3379 has a retrograde minute display, which is arranged horizontally according to traditional design. The Sophistiquée collection includes ETA, Sellita and Unitas works. The diameters of the watches also show the modern character: the models are between 40.5 and 42 millimetres in size. 

A rather personal question to conclude: which watch is your favourite model and why?

My personal favourite model is the Epos 3435 Verso. The innovative power of the brand can be beautifully demonstrated in this piece. Based on a proven Unitas 6497 manual winding movement, our engineers have created an absolute gem. Because the backside of this movement is spectacular, the movement was turned upside down and installed upside down in the case. The hands are now mounted on the actual back of the semi-skeleton movement and thus reveal the tenderly decorated interior of the mechanism.

Nils Rau

by Nils Rau

Nils is a guest author for the CHRONEXT Journal. He currently dedicates most of his free time to wristwatches – be that talking with friends, browsing through blogs and online magazines, or keeping an eye on the timepiece stock exchange. When he is not contributing to the CHRONEXT Journal, he works as a junior lawyer in Northern Germany. His articles focus on brands, trends, as well as the philosophical questions within the world of fine watches.

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