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Sphaera EPOCH Sport Monochrome

The Epitome of Authentic Horology

I agree—this subtitle is a big statement to begin with, but I know for a fact that, by the end of this article, you and I will be seeing eye-to-eye. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you how many watch brands exist right now. Hundreds, if not thousands? But I can confidently tell you this: 90% of what we see everyday looks like something else. And that’s not to say that repurposing design elements from previous watches is wrong—I actually think that it’s alright to do so and unavoidable for the most part—however, I do relish seeing a brand create something different, new, and which is fully loaded with character. (To the point where you can identify the brand that made the watch at a distance.) That’s rare and this is why today I’m particularly thrilled to tell you about this nugget of independent watchmaking. 

We’ve looked at Sphaera’s first collection a while back. I was already enamored with their bold creativity and bespoke design language. So I was ecstatic, not to say giggly like a kid waiting for Santa to drop off gifts under the Christmas tree, when the brand announced their new collection, the EPOCH. The latter comprises two models, both revisiting the first collection (the Desk Diver,) but in two different ways. The Rusty is a Desk Diver that was endowed with a rusty/vintage treatment (to the point where the brand aged the bezel screws) while the Sport Monochrome is a Desk Diver on steroids. As you probably know, I’m quite boring and I unsurprisingly fell in love with the latter. 


At first glance, the Sport Monochrome (which I will refer to as “Sport” throughout the article) looks very similar to the Desk Diver, because as we already know, Sphaera developed the new collection from the first one. Dimensions wise, the Sport is almost identical to the Desk Diver with a case diameter of 40.5mm, a lug-to-lug of 48mm, a thickness of 12mm (including the boxed sapphire crystal,) and a lug width of 20mm. The Sport is therefore .5mm thinner than the Desk Diver, making the OG already quite thin. Within this compact case Sphaera put a Swiss Made and in-house regulated STP 1-21 caliber that beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 40 hours of power reserve. Another massive upgrade of the new compared to the old is the 200 meters of water resistance (up from 100m.) 

The Sport, as we know, has a boxed sapphire crystal from which emanate subtle vintage vibes, which gives the wearer a clear view of the matte velvet black dial and its glorious sandwich-lume construction. There is so much lume down there that nighttime legibility will never be an issue, neither would it be in a low-lit cave, 40 meters below the sea surface, or while sipping on a glass of rosé on a white sand beach during the Golden Hour, right before your dinner reservation. The lume that glows is SuperLuminova BGW9 which seems to flow—endlessly—throughout the incised hour markers. Given the matte dial texture, Sphaera opted to bead-blast the hands too as to prevent any light reflections which would have made them difficult to see in broad daylight. (The latter also aids in making the Sport fly under the radar.) 

Although, by its surface treatment, the case appears to be made of titanium, it’s actually made of bead-blasted 316L stainless steel. The entire case was finished by hand by the brand’s watchmaker and craftsman, which guarantees both a unique and flawless appearance. While the Desk Diver had a darker, more utilitarian sandblasted finish, the Sport comes with a finer and more versatile case treatment. And versatility is the word of the day here as the Sphaera EPOCH does come with specs that make it appropriate for anything, anywhere, and at any time. In other words, it’s the equivalent of a modern Rolex Explorer 1 but made for those who don’t work in luxury retail or finance and who prefer to support independent horological creativity. 

In short, the Sport has great lume, a solid and accurate movement, a robust case construction and finish, 200 meters of water resistance (thanks to a screw-down crown and case-back,) and it doubles as a strap monster. (Thanks for the drilled lugs!) 


As you’ve often read me say (that’s more accurate than writing “heard me say”), specs do not make a watch and this couldn’t be more true looking at the Sphaera EPOCH Sport Monochrome. By the way, I just realized that I already talked about some of its design aspects in the “Specifications”' section above which indicates something key here: this model is cohesive, both from a technical and visual perspective. The specs align with the design and the design follows the specs. The brand’s philosophy is, after all, that “form follows function” so you kind of get my point here. For example, the bead-blasted finish on the case highlights its muscular profile and sportive attitude, where we find what seems to be a three-part case construction and massive lugs. (The lugs appear more prominent here than they were on the Desk Diver.) 

The case on the Sport also comes with a perfect symmetry as Sphaera elongated it at the nine o’clock position to match the crown-guards at the three. This also makes the case sit more firmly and confidently on the wrist, as if the Sport was a four-wheel drive Audi Quattro. (If you don’t get the automotive reference, I suggest you Google it.) This, combined with the bead-blasted finish and the eight screws recessed within the two-step fixed bezel, endows the EPOCH Sport with a distinctive and badass appearance. Yes, I tend to become less eloquent the more enthusiastic I become about a watch. And I am utterly over the moon and deep into space with this one. (Perhaps you’ve noticed? I’m not sure.) Moreover, did you see that the case-back also has eight screws which perfectly align with the ones found on top? 


What about the dial, you may ask? And what about the crown? Well, the crown is just as delicious as the case. It’s perfectly proportioned in relation to the case and dial, and also comes with the delicate bead-blasted finish we can find on the former. If you look closely at both, you can see the fine application of the finish as if we could see the artist’ signature. The dial, for its part, remains a piece of horological design artistry: the bespoke and large Arabic numerals at the cardinal points create a perfect symmetry and make reading the time a breeze. The hour markers everywhere else are in the shape of bullets (rectangular base and rounded tip) and the minute track is fully graduated. The hands, I may add, look like massive swords which assertively indicate the time. (Note the triangular lumed element on the seconds hand.) 

All in all, the Sphaera EPOCH Sport Monochrome just makes sense. Both mechanically and visually. 

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of the matter is the fact that the trio behind the brand—Danny, Martin, and Michael—created a second opus that’s much better than the already award-winning first one. (And keep it mind that the new EPOCH collection comes with a second model which I did not talk about here.) Design-wise, the Sport is balanced, symmetrical, and legible. Mechanically, it’s robust, well-manufactured, and accurate. The STP 1-21 has been running consistently at -1 second/day for the past week which is impressive. The bead-blasted finish on the case and crown is both soft to the touch and practical as it adds supplemental protection against bumps, scratches, and tarnishing. (Because I do indeed intend to put the Sport to the test and to take it everywhere I go whether there is sand, concrete, salty water, or rocks.) 

And Sphaera covered all aspects of this watch and engineered each square micron of it with intent and precision. And this goes as far as choosing the right strap for it: the Hirsch Hybrid Strap with Caoutchouc core and black recycled PET ocean sailcloth*. (I took the description straight from their website.) In other words, a black strap that looks fancy and that is perfectly adapted to all situations. (Look at the tire-track texture on the back of it.) This strap itself retails for $150 USD which is a small and additional indicator of how good this watch is. Because yes, good and bespoke horology comes with a higher price tag which I believe is utterly justified here: about $1,655 USD tax excluded ($2,018 USD if you live in the European Union.) 

*By the way, I never cared for straps made of up-cycled ocean plastic before as they tend to be horribly stiff and to never break in. Here, the strap is superb. 


I came out recently as a strong proponent for smaller—much smaller—watches. So “small” that my new standard for case diameters oscillates between 32 and 36mm. What used to be a normal size for men many decades ago is now unfairly seen as being best “suited for ladies.” (Urgh.) So I had a short and intense identity crisis when I saw that the Sphaera EPOCH Sport Monochrome had a case diameter of 40.5mm. But rest assured, my friends and fellow watch enthusiasts, the Sport wears superbly on my 6.50”/16.5cm wrist thanks to a compact lug-to-lug, a flat case-back, and a well thought out case architecture. 

For the latter I refer to the thin mid-case portion and the short lugs that turn down to perfectly espouse the contour of the wrist. And again, rejoice in the case’s industrial and utilitarian design which seamlessly integrates with the bold and legible dial. The Sport’s appearance and quality is a direct result of Sphaera’s ethos and creative processes as the brand finishes the cases in their mountainous workshop outside Salzburg and assembles and regulates each watch themselves. 

Last week I was in Geneva to look at all sorts of watches at various price brackets. While many enthusiasts delighted (and rightfully so) looking at a $50,000 Tourbillon paired with a hand-finished lapis lazuli dials and precious metal cases, I for one was enamored by the Sport’s unique design, excellent construction, and more importantly, by the friendliness, authenticity, and generosity of Danny, Martin, and Mike. 

You can learn more about the new EPOCH models here

Thanks for reading. 


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