The Straum Opphav is the first model from the new microband, launched in 2021. Unlike a lot of new brands, the Norwegen microbrand did not go the way of using catalog parts and sticking its brand and logo on the dial. No, in fact, it took them 5 years to bring this model to fruition, with a few designs and bumps in the road along the way. What they ended up creating is a fantastic blend of an everyday wearable piece that can pose as a dress watch when needed, a striking dial, and a case design and finish that all look like it would command a much bigger price tag than it does. Yes, as you can tell from this intro, I am very fond of this piece, and for good reason. Starting at just about $800, the stainless steel Opphav definitely has a lot to offer.
Let’s start out with the overall design, which feels like it could be a budget H. Moser & Cie piece. Yes, that is some high praise for the Straum Opphav, but when you look at the case design, the angles, the mix of brushed and polished finishing, when you get up close and see how good that finishing is (including the inside of the lugs which has a frosted/blasted finish and a set of two lug holes), this really doesn’t scream and $800 watch. I know many reviews can say that about a lot of watches, but this truly is one of those pieces that does look like a much more expensive watch than it is. The 41mm case is a great size, at least for me, especially when so many brands seem to be going 40mm and under, it’s nice to see a casual/dress piece that actually fits my 7 1/2 inch wrist. Even better is the 11.1mm thickness. These days, I am so used to dive watches that are generally 13mm or more, so when you put a thin watch on like this, it is a nice surprise, and of course, one that can slip under any cuff or sleeve you are wearing.
The curves and lines of the case are beautiful, integrated crown guards even though this is not a dive watch, it adds dimension to this slim case. Unfortunately, it is a push-pull crown, but it is 100m water-resistant. For me, I would still love it if the crown screwed down, it gives me a piece of mind that I don’t have to worry about it when it rains or I am washing dishes, etc, keeps dust out, and more. Another thing to mention with this crown is it does pull out to two positions, despite that this is a no-date dial, meaning you do have the ghost date position. After doing the video review, I was alerted that the Damascus steel model (Straum’s newest version of this watch) does have a proper no-date movement and is also an Elaboré movement). The semi-hooded lugs are 22mm, but the strap does widen to 25mm at its thickest point, which does make this watch appear a little bigger than the stated specs, but again, I actually enjoy that aspect of it.
The dial of the Straum Opphav is a huge standout, and really is a beautiful work of art. It looks like a rock that was smoothly chipped at, then painted and glazed, and is much more elegant than rugged. The gradient color (black to grey) looks great as well and just adds another layer to the dial, but what I find most intriguing is the chapter ring. If you look closely, you will see that the larger applied indices are actually attached to the chapter ring, and the smaller indies are on the dial. The chapter ring is slightly concaved as well, and when you combine this with the double domed sapphire crystal, it just really creates a great aesthetic, yet is still a watch that is easy to read at a glance without issue.
So, yes the movement used in the Straum Opphav is the SW200-1, no issue with that, but as I mentioned above, it does have the date wheel still attached, so you get the ghost or phantom date position. In this stainless model, the movement is also only standard grade, not elabore. If you want the higher grade movement and true no date, you need to step up to the Damascus model. Both versions offer a great-looking case back though, where you get a look at the movement, but also this awesome stamped plate, and again, the attention to detail and finishing here is fantastic. Speaking of finishing, again, look at the lug area when the strap is off. It is actually finished in the same frosted design as the design plate on the back, again, something you just do not see with watches of this price point. It also has two sets of lug holes, more on that below.
The two sets of lug holes are because this watch actually does have a bracelet, but it is not available just yet. The custom bracelet, which you can see on the Straum website, does look great, but apparently, there have been a lot of delays with it, and if you add it to your order, it will ship to you (the bracelet will ship separately) sometime in 2023. Fortunately, the Opphav does come with a fantastic vegetable-tanned leather strap, which is 22mm at the lugs, flares out to 25mm, and then tapers to 20mm, with a custom signed buckle. The strap is smooth, feels and looks premium, and is lightly padded at the top.
On my wrist, this watch is an absolute dream. No rough edges anywhere this watch just drapes around the wrist with the angled lugs, the strap is extremely comfortable and long enough for my 7 1/2 inch or 19.05cm wrist, with enough room to probably fit up to a 7 3/4 inch or 19.68cm. If you have a larger wrist than that, you will need to source another strap or wait until the bracelet is ready, which will most likely accommodate larger wrist sizes.
And lastly, yes, there is lume! You could probably tell that from the dial shots above, but what you probably didn’t expect (and frankly neither did I) was that the lume would be so good. I actually think I downplayed the lume in the video review, as this lume really does hold a charge for at least 4-5 hours, which is just uncommon on a watch such as this, so lume junkies don’t worry, you won’t be clamoring for lume if you choose to wear this watch with a suit or to a nice event. You can leave your dive or pilot watches at home and still see the time in those dimly lit areas of the restaurant.
I have been completely enamored with the Straum Opphav and as I laid out through this review, for good reason. This is exactly the type of watch that I want for a dressier occasion as opposed to some fancy or gaudy piece, yet it won’t look out of place with a suit at all, and yet it is still casual enough to wear on a daily basis. It is solidly built and finished and is also a joy to look at, and let’s face it, that is part of the reason we spend so much money on watches in the first place. The stainless steel models are low on stock at this point, matter of fact at the time of this writing, only available in the black or the green dial, so if you want the blue or the white, you’ll need to jump to the Damascus model. Either way, I do not remember a time when I was this impressed with a brand’s first model, and it definitely has me salivating to see what they have in store for their second.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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