Editor’s Note: The watch pictured here is a pre-production media sample and carries several minor visual differences from the production model. These differences are noted throughout the article.

In the uppermost echelons of haute horlogerie, there’s been something of an astronomical arms race in recent years. Swoopy futuristic forms, unorthodox layouts, and esoteric, space-inspired complications have become a common sight in six-figure boutique brand catalogs, but this spacefaring adventurousness rarely makes its way into the more entry-level side of the market. Young Franco-Swiss brand SpaceOne aims to change this with its latest release, combining an exotic tellurion complication to track the relative motions of the Earth, the moon, and the sun with a curvaceous, asymmetrical form that wouldn’t look out of place in “Star Trek.” The SpaceOne Tellurium promises unique, intriguing movement-making in its price range, along with a sense of visual drama and spectacle that few watches try to match.

The SpaceOne Tellurium’s Grade 5 titanium case sets the tone for the design. The brand’s chief designer, Olivier Gamiette, came to watchmaking through automotive design (he concurrently serves as head of exterior design for Peugeot), and there’s a certain flowing, concept-car-esque flair to the rounded, streamlined asymmetrical form here. Take, for example, the broad mirror-polished surfaces running from lug tip to lug tip up and around the 12 o’clock case side. There’s a sharply defined set of creased “hips” at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock that give this almost pebble-like shape a more sculpted, muscular quality on the wrist and make the watch feel more like a deliberately formed “spacecraft for the wrist” rather than a purely organic design. The broad, vertically brushed panel between the lugs at 6 o’clock, and the more conventional, sloping matte-blasted lugs at 12 o’clock help to visually break up the broad, predominantly polished surfaces during wear, but this is still a highly reflective, almost mirror-like watch. Much of this reflective character comes from the stylized “high dome” sapphire crystal, which tends to work almost like a fisheye lens to showcase the world around it. It’s worth noting, however, that this should theoretically be an issue restricted to prototype Tellurium models. With mainline production underway, SpaceOne has reported it is experimenting with industry leading anti-reflective coatings for the Tellurium’s crystal, but as it sits, the prototype is something of a crystal ball on the wrist. That said, it’s still an undeniably striking form in its current state and one that wears remarkably well. While it’s not a small watch at 42mm wide, 16mm thick, and 50mm lug to lug, the Tellurium wraps around the wrist comfortably and the proportions are far more balanced and manageable than many of the avant-garde high-end designs this aims to emulate. The 12 o’clock crown elevates the Tellurium’s offbeat, stylized silhouette, but the long, tapering gear-toothed shape also serves as an effective “thruster” to visually complete the spaceship-like case design. A highly contoured, matte-finished engraved caseback conforms to the shape of the wrist organically, but this unorthodox construction does come with drawbacks — the Tellurium is a far cry from a traditional sports watch, but the watch’s 30-meter water resistance rating feels downright fragile by modern standards.

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As wild and stylized as the SpaceOne Tellurium’s case is, the dial is where this watch’s spectacle truly lies. The glossy midnight blue aventurine base surface sets the tone strongly here, with a glittering galaxy of flecks that echo the look of the night sky. Of course, the real star of the show here is the dramatic, sculptural tellurion complication. For those unfamiliar, a tellurion is essentially a simplified orrery, tracking the relative movements of the sun, the moon, and the Earth. Represented by a trio of polished titanium spheres, this otherworldly three-dimensional display is connected to the date and month complication, with the sphere representing the Earth making a full circuit of the dial once a year and the moon sphere advancing one position each day to make an orbit around the “Earth” once every 29.5 days (unfortunately, since the watch photographed here is a prototype, the tellurion was not yet functioning at review time and we were unable to capture this motion on camera). SpaceOne rounds out the unusual layout with a series of swoopy, sculpted-blued frames for the printed Arabic hour numerals at 12 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock, the main timekeeping dial, and the date/month window at 6 o’clock. There are a handful of prototype-specific rough edges here, namely a few notable purple discolorations in the blued surfaces, but the overall effect when combined with the tellurion and the aventurine dial is deeply retrofuturistic and flat-out fun — if Captain James T. Kirk had a watch, this would be it. On the other hand, the squat, unlumed, and partially skeletonized handset at the dial center deserves mention here. This is an exceedingly difficult watch to read even in ideal lighting conditions, but factor in glare or oblique viewing angles, and the Tellurium can take a fair amount of effort to glean the current time. Of course, this is anything but a function-forward tool watch, so legibility understandably takes a back seat to spectacle here.

Despite the exotic complications at work here, the base movement inside the SpaceOne Tellurium is a simple, familiar Soprod P024. SpaceOne refers to this specially modified variant as the P024 H4, and the baseline movement performance is more or less in line with its standard-production counterpart – a 28,800 bph beat rate and a 38-hour power reserve. Where the P024 H4 shines, though, is its in-house patented “heliocentric module.” Fitted to an entirely new plate mounted to the upper side of the movement, this movement uses a pair of 12-sided star wheels connected to the base movement’s date wheel. The first star wheel advances the months wheel visible at 6 o’clock on the dial, while the second drives the tellurion display itself. From here, the “planets” are connected via a sapphire disk that connects to an outer ring gear featuring 365 teeth. This outer ring gear propels the Earth and moon spheres around the dial, while the star wheel motivates the moon sphere around the Earth sphere. This arrangement makes things both accurate and impressively easy to set. SpaceOne claims the complication is accurate to within one day every 100 years, and all setting from the timekeeping to the day/month display to the tellurion is handled via the 12 o’clock crown — no need for ungainly correctors or additional crowns to spoil the lines of the watch.

While the SpaceOne Tellurium’s case and dial are both boldly eye-catching and stylized, the watch’s strap pairing is markedly reserved in comparison. SpaceOne fits the watch with a black Cordura-style fabric strap, which is comfortable, hard-wearing, and should keep the visual focus squarely on the watch itself. While it would be nice to see an equally avant-garde, unorthodox strap design here, the choice to let the strap fade into the background on the wrist is a reasonable one.

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Unique, futuristic designs and arcane, space-themed complications have been a fixture in the highest levels of exotic watchmaking for several years now, but this dramatic, astronomical style of horology rarely ever makes its way into the realm of the average enthusiast. The new SpaceOne Tellurium changes this, delivering a truly out-of-this-world blend of avant-garde design and show-stopping complications at a price point more usually reserved for mass-market sports watches. In short, this might be one of the highest fun-per-dollar ratios of any watch in the current market. The SpaceOne Tellurium is available for preorder now through the brand’s e-commerce platform, with first batch deliveries expected in November 2024. MSRP for this watch stands at €2,990 Euro as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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