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The revival of a legendary watch collection, a young newcomer brand and the connection to Buddhism let you guess: The Sherpa OPS is anything but an ordinary diver’s watch. The preliminary result of an authentic story must now prove itself in this review!

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Sherpa OPS Review German

Lucky coincidence?

Actually, it was only supposed to be a birthday present. Martin Klocke would never have dreamed that it would culminate in the founding of his own watch brand in the luxury segment years ago. But perhaps that’s how all good stories begin. And although Martin Klocke’s story is definitely not over yet, its course so far has been crowned by a number of highlights. But let’s take it one step at a time. The birthday present in question was a watch, intended for his wife, found on eBay, and purchased in 2010. A ladies’ diving watch in good condition from the Swiss watch manufacturer Enicar. Klocke has remained true to his preference for the harmonious Enicar design to this day, even though the brand has no longer existed since the 1980s. The rights to the name are now held by a Hong Kong-based company. 

When the German tried to get their new owners interested in working with him to revive the old retro watches, they didn’t get back to him. So he tried it on his own. The idea of the Sherpa Watches brand was born. 

Two worlds meet

Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

With ‘Sherpa’, two worlds meet that happened to fit very well – also to Martin Klocke personally. On the one hand, and this is obvious to watch lovers, Sherpa is intended to revive the spirit of the Enicar SA collection of the same name. The mechanical engineer is still very fond of the collection’s unique design. They were named after earlier Himalayan expeditions. 

More unusual is the connection to Buddhism. Since 2002, Martin Klocke has been a member of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Here the circle closes. The Sherpa are a Buddhist people who migrated from Tibet to the Nepalese part of the Himalayas centuries ago. So it was obvious what the new watch brand should be called. 

When Buddhism meets mechanical engineering and vintage design

Sherpa OPS
Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Klocke transfers his faith here and there into the design of his watches, mixing it with the retro feel of the 60s and 70s. Especially in this day and age, when it feels like every other design has its origins in the years between 1950 and 1970, the idea and the authentic story behind it go down well with customers and in the trade. 

However, design alone is not enough. The mechanical engineer takes great care to ensure that his timepieces not only look exciting but are also functional. This functionality ranges from laser engraving to compressor technologies. The most exciting watch project in a long time? The term ‘promising’ is almost an understatement. Two models have been released by Martin Klocke and his team at launch. The Sherpa Ultradive and the Sherpa OPS cost 5,900.00 and 5,800.00 euros, respectively, and thus reach for the stars in terms of price, too. Whether their quality is also luxury class, I want to find out in this watch review. In the first part, I want to take a closer look at the Sherpa OPS. I haven’t been this excited about a new model in a long time!

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The Sherpa OPS on the wrist

Sherpa OPS
Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Ed Sheeran seems to have acquired a taste for it. What does the currently most successful musician in the world have to do with Sherpa watches? Quite simply, he is one of the most prominent collectors of the original models of Enicar S.A. At his concerts you can admire the vintage divers on his wrist, which have lost nothing of their fascination visually. This also applies to the new Sherpa OPS, for whose design Martin Klocke and his team have carefully adapted the look and design language of the originals. I deliberately speak of ‘adapted’ and not ‘copied’, because the independent signature remains unmistakable. “The timeless design of the Ultradive and the OPS didn’t need much fine-tuning, because their look and feel are just as distinct today as they were half a century ago,” enthuses Klocke.

Although one recognizes some elements such as the orange second hand or the partially highlighted minute track, the essentially timeless Sherpa seems to have arrived in the here and now. 

Comfortable to wear

Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

In this respect, the Sherpa OPS can be called the rightful successor of the old Enicar watches. Furthermore, I think that the design works in the wrist even if you don’t know the great models of the 60s and 70s. So visually, the Sherpa OPS is suitable for all ages. Determined by functionality, quality, tradition and sportiness, the design fits every conceivable outfit in every situation in life.

And how does the new Sherpa wear? Extremely comfortable, I must say. With a diameter of 40 millimeters, the case is another one that doesn’t follow the trend toward ever-larger diameters, but remains pleasantly compact and functional. In conjunction with the sporty, flat height of 13.50 millimeters, the diver’s watch looks well-proportioned. More about the rubber strap at the end.

The comeback of compressor technology

Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Not only on the outside, but also in terms of quality, great importance has been attached to continuing the Enicar philosophy. According to his own statement, Martin Klocke was allowed to search the old archives of the Swiss brand EPSA (the case manufacturer for Enicar, Longines, JLC, Omega, etc.) for lost knowledge. Also crucial to the enduring popularity of the pre-owned models from the Sherpa collection is the fact that they are diver’s watches with a double compressor crown and compressor clasp, invented by legendary case maker Ervin Piquerez. 

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Compressor diving watches were very popular more than 60 years ago, because it was not yet possible to produce seals that are common today. The problem with water resistance was solved by installing a spring-loaded case back. Due to the built-in spring, the diver’s watch was already watertight when the caseback was not yet pressing against the O-ring. Thus, the O-ring was only loaded at high compression levels, which made diving watches of that time even more water resistant, the deeper one dived. You can recognize a compressor diver watch by the two large crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock. This eye-catching detail is shared by Enicar’s Sherpa models and the Sherpa OPS.

According to Martin Klocke, the Sherpa OPS is the first fully compressor diver’s watch in more than 60 years and is said to herald its comeback. But even at this point, merely emulating the technology of yesteryear is not enough. “On a technical level, our watches surpass their predecessors in terms of accuracy, water resistance and longevity,” Martin Klocke knows to report. Quality, after all, is paramount. The development, manufacture and assembly of every single one takes place in Germany and Switzerland. Outsourcing to Asia? No way!

How to operate the Sherpa OPS

Sherpa OPS
Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

The compressor technology has been completely redeveloped, but its basic idea is based on the designs of Ervin Piquerez SA. Sherpa Watches promises water resistance to depths of 200 meters. The fact that the high quality standards are met is guaranteed by the ISO 6425 standard. 

The operation of a Sherpa OPS is perhaps a bit unfamiliar at first. In the meantime, however, I have very quickly become accustomed to the new old technology and even find it advantageous. The upper compressor crown at 2 o’clock is pulled. Then you can operate the inner bezel very elegantly and accurately. This can be rotated 360° and has Swiss Super-LumiNova luminous coatings. The lower compressor crown, on the other hand, performs the functions of a conventional crown, i.e. setting the time. Both MONOFLEX crowns are protected from contact with pointed objects by a protruding crown protector – that’s an innovation. They are not screwed down. This facilitates operation, especially under water.

The choice of materials and workmanship are on a level that lives up to the designation ‘premium’. Sherpa Watches has chosen classic stainless steel as the basis for the case. The characteristic black color comes from a matte DLC coating, which makes the case even more durable and scratch-resistant. The domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating for better readability is already a must. A playful detail of the EPSA-STOP caseback is the highlighted stylized diver’s helmet, which I really like.

No ordinary movement

Sherpa OPS
Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Not visible from the outside is an important detail in whose design Martin Klocke incorporated his Buddhist faith. The Tibetan Buddhist mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG is laser engraved on two of the movement wheels during production. According to tradition, the turning wheels send out vibrations of love, wisdom and compassion. Martin Klocke is certain: “You won’t notice the mantra with the naked eye. Instead, you will feel it.” Whether one gets involved in it is up to each wearer. However, everyone is likely to conform that there is something very personal, authentic and positive about engraving.

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Martin Klocke calls the movement of his Sherpa OPS the Matramatic MM01. Behind the consistent renaming is a Swiss SW200-1 automatic movement from Sellita, which has a power reserve of 38 hours. Other refinements include the now partially gold-plated surfaces and a special rotor.

Worn on a practical rubber strap 

Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Functionality – this also characterizes the Sherpa OPS when it comes to the bracelet. Instead of leather or stainless steel for the office, Sherpa Watches relies on the material used to wear the Sherpa OPS in its usual habitat, the underwater world. The strap is made of vulcanized rubber and designed in Tropic Style. The comfort of wearing is in no way inferior to the practicality. There is often a fear that a rubber strap might be itchy and uncomfortable. This was not the case for me. The width between the lugs is 20 millimeters.   

My conclusion about the Sherpa OPS

Sherpa OPS
Photo © 2022 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

The Sherpa OPS is the most exciting diver’s watch I’ve had the opportunity to put on and test in a long time. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the compressor technology, which has been implemented at the highest level. In this regard, the young brand’s diver is an absolute trailblazer. I’m sure we’ll see the rediscovered technology in many established companies in the future.

Sherpa Watches has yet to establish itself. The course for this has been set. The original look of Enicar’s models is convincing with timeless elegance and functionality, which will delight not only long-established watch lovers. Although the new Sherpa watch carries the DNA of its role models, Martin Klocke and his team have created an independent design language that doesn’t just copy, but develops the concept further. Just think of the engraved mantra that bridges the gap to Buddhism. 

Now it’s a matter of how the market receives Sherpa Watches. The first edition of the Sherpa OPS is limited to 150 pieces – cost: 5,800.00 euros. A considerable, but not unjustified price. Since Martin Klocke is making money from the name of the Sherpa people, a percentage of each watch sold is to be donated to two development projects in Nepal that support the Sherpa. A strong gesture, in my opinion!

Below you’ll find all the related links to the watch.

More about the Sherpa OPS

Here you can find the watch in the store

The homepage of Sherpa Watches

All diving watch reviews in my blog

Watch photography

Gallery

Technical Details

NameSherpa OPS

Reference number001/02/01

BrandSherpa Watches

Categorydiving watches / retro watches

Price from5,800.00 euros

Warranty2 years

Case Material316L stainless steel / DLC coating

Diameter40.00 mm

High13.50 mm

Watch Glassanti-reflective coating / Sapphire Crystal

Watch TypeAutomatic

Waterproof20 bar (200 m / 660 ft)

Movement NameMantramatic MM01

Power Reserve38 hours

Functionsdate / hour / Minute / second

Dialblack

Indicesdashes

Special FeaturesSwiss Super-LumiNova®

Bezelblack / diving bezel / inner bezel

Bracelet Colorblack

Bracelet Materialrubber

Clasp316L stainless steel / pin buckle