At once elegant and mysteriously absent of text or logo, the Ochs and Junior selene tinta is a very different watch indeed. Hours, minutes, seconds, date and of course the most accurate moon phase you get in a mechanical watch, all done with the elegant minimalism of Ludwig Oechslin:
Those five parts, including the dial, comprise the moon phase complication. This is a factor of four or five less than usually used, and triple the accuracy anywhere else: one day in 3,478.27 years, all built on a base ETA 2824.
But let’s back up a bit and put this watch in context. ochs and junior is basically Ludwig Oechslin and Beat Weinemann. Ludwig is a senior and famous watchmaker, with headline experience at Ulysse Nardin, MIH and others; this company is basically him making whatever he wants.
You’re looking at the packaging. The watch is strapped (pun intended) to a recycled cardboard piece with instructions printed on it, and shipped in a recycled cardboard box filled with wood shavings. Vegetable-tanned leather, of course. It would not be much of an exaggeration to call ochs and junior revolutionary.
List price for the selene tinta (ochs and junior use lower case) is 8,000 CHF or about 8,700 USD. For that, I expect superb finish work and flawless polishing. Instead, the watches, machined by Peter Cantieni, are left with tooling marks intact:
(More on the buckle below)
It’s a different aesthetic. As they put it, “Ludwig wants the life lived by the watch’s owner to create a patina on the soft metal. We are proud of the accurate machining of our cases that we decided we wanted to leave them unpolished as a mark of respect to the craftsmanship.”
So what you have is a smooth, cylindrical shaped case, with screwed case back and unique lugs.
This seems like a good time for some measurements – you’re looking at a 7.0mm crown on a 42mm watch, coming in at a featherweight 65g on the leather strap. Titanium is wonderful that way. 22mm lugs, 29 by 28mm buckle. The case is 9.8mm thick, and 10.9 to the top of the double-domed sapphire crystal. Despite having a non-screwdown crown, it’s rated to 50m of water resistance and has actually been torture tested. Normally I’d assume that ’50m’ means “Don’t get me wet!” but in this case it’s safe for swimming.
It’s striking at night. Instead of orange, the lume is yellow:
Lume is pretty good, though the lack of minute markers make readings a bit approximate.
You can get the tinta series in any Pantone color you want, the orange on black works quite well with good contrast and a bit of flair. This could easily be a nearly unnoticed watch with, say, light grey or white hands.
One note on comfort: I found that the square-cut crown bit my wrist a bit, and have confirmed with Beat that you have but to ask them when ordering, and they’ll round it off for you. The straps are also available in three different lengths.
At 10mm or so, it’s very slim and comfortable on the wrist. The rounded bezel glides under cuffs. Let’s talk buckles, because this is another option you have when buying. Normally, a thorn buckle as they’re called leaves the tail end of the strap on the outside, to be held in place by ‘keepers.’ The buckle here is a different design, where the strap tucks inside:
Clever, eh? At first glance, it looks normal. A bit of practice required, but I like the result, sleek and finished in appearance. If you don’t like it, you can get a conventional buckle instead.
I had the watch for about a month, and thus got to watch a full cycle of the moonphase. It’s tremendously cool, and the crescent-shaped window with contrasting titanium plate is just neat to look at. Timekeeping was, as you’d expect, well within chronometer specifications.
Overall this is a watch for the devoted connoisseur. The lack of branding or bling combined with the steep cost add up to something that only a few will appreciate. It’s a realization of a singular vision of timekeeping, done with unique aesthetics and cost-is-no-problem construction. I will be sorry to see it go.