The 2011 Epos 3403 OH Collection Passion (ref. 3403.193.20.15.25) is not just another pretentious “entry-luxury” item that tries to sell you the old ETA/Unitas 6498-2 hand-wound movement wrapped in anything more impressive than a standard mildly oversized case and an open-heart dial. As deliberately eclectic as it is, the new device is an interesting combination of a semi-skeletonized movement with some nice engraving on its bridges visible only through the sapphire back with a daringly modern dial on the front.
There is a great number of versions in the series (including one in rose gold PVD coating) but, to my taste, the one in pure 316L stainless steel with black dial and black leather strap is the most adequate choice. From where I stand, the finish gives you the most balanced exterior that nicely matches the timekeeper’s -slightly above the market- retail price.
In pure steel, the Epos 3403 OH doesn’t pretend to be more expensive than it actually is although with its restrained, no-nonsense design it must look absolutely great with formal attire.
Its black dial sports nicely executed vertical Geneva stripes and the “open-heart” cut-out between 7 and 8 o’clock provides a good view at the balance wheel. I also like how it is visually entangled with the small seconds indicator at six o’clock using nothing fancier than a simple figure eight-shaped part framing both elements of the dial. Perhaps, it would look even more impressive if Epos decided to spend a tiny amount of cash to redecorate the balance wheel assembly to better match the exterior of the dial. Well, even as it is it looks adequate and, well, whole.
The skeletonized Unitas 6498-2 movement is also clearly visible through the transparent screw-in case-back. As you can see in the photos below, the caliber wasn’t open-worked as aggressively as some other higher-grade versions of the mechanism (even the gears left in their basic shape, which is a pity since there are some fine examples of how the large gears can be open-worked by a skilled hand or a good CNC machine.)
Still, the lack of, um, the air inside the timekeeper’s spacious body is compensated with some minor engraving on the bridges that, while done by a machine, still makes the gadget look a lot more expensive and even entertaining to a degree.
Yes, the engravings on its bridges look rather crude and I highly doubt that an experienced snob may be fooled by the overall appearance, but, well, that’s an affordable watch, after all. You can’t expect it to have the level of decoration that the stunning Grieb & Benzinger hand-made skeletons can be proud of, can you?
See also: Claude Meylan Eclipse Skeleton
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Epos 3403 OH (ref. 3403.193.20.15.25) specification
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber Unitas 6498-2, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Skeletonized, engraved, blued screw heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 10.90 mm
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, screw-in