the micro prayer wheels inside the mantramatic movement of our Sherpa models

Mantramatic - Tibetan buddhist prayer wheels inside of a wrist watch

The Mantramatic MM01 is the first movement ever with a „spiritual complication“ and is featured in all our models. According to traditional Tibetan and Sherpa Buddhist culture, it features micro prayer wheels turning mantras each second that it ticks, like the huge and small wheels all around the Himalayas. 

Read on to find out more about this story!

the mantramatic movement with "may all beings be happy and free" engraving

At the core of our watches Sherpa Ultradive, Sherpa OPS and Sherpa x TRTS OPS lies the Mantramatic MM01 movement, which is based on the well known and established Swiss automatic mechanical movement Sellita SW200-1, gold plated, decorated and regulated to top standard. It has two wheels, namely the seconds and the escape wheel, modified and converted into micro prayer wheels giving out good vibrations into the world with every tick it makes.

Why do we put mantras into a watch?

When we started our brand to bring back watches of the legendary Sherpa series of the 1950s-1970s, we researched a lot about the provenance of the name and where it came from.
The Sherpa name was used as a brand name on a watch for the first time in 1956, when the original Enicar SA Lengnau sponsored a Swiss expedition to Mt. Everest and Lhotse. They found out how amazing the Sherpa people were who basically formed the mountaineering backbone of the whole expedition, and called their most robust watch of the time „Sherpas“. It was a success, and so a whole series of legendary watches followed.

The Sherpas, as a Tibetan tribe in the Himalayas, are buddhists and practice a form of Tibetan buddhism. All of the Tibetan buddhist schools in the Himalayas use mantras – the sound representation of enlightenment – regularly and in daily life. The mantras are also spread by spinning so-called „prayer wheels“, big or small cylinders on an axis, that contain printed mantras on the outside and inside.
By turning those wheels, one is generating the same good vibration as speaking the mantra.

While designing the watches, our founder Martin Klocke realised he wanted to include something inside of the watch that had something to do on a deeper level with the Sherpas and their culture. And thus the idea was generated, that he could use some of the turning parts of the watch movement to incorporate the function of Tibetan buddhist prayer wheels into the watch movement.


Large Tibetan buddhist prayer wheel with Gelje Sherpa looking at it in front of Ama Dhablam
Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist masters currently alive, turning a prayer wheel.

Getting it right and tiny

As Martin Klocke is always keen on delivering the „real deal“, as can be seen in bringing back the true compressor watch including the compressor crowns, he wanted to be sure that his idea of integrating the mantras was not just cheap marketing buzz. He wanted it to be 100% correct according to the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

So, he contacted one of the most revered expert Buddhist Master on this subject, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, when he happened travel from his usual residence in Nepal to Europe in 2019.
During the interview, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche agreed to Martin’s general idea and that it was beneficial for all beings according to buddhist philosophy. Yet, the detailed drawings needed correction and so Rinpoche drew the correct layout and send Martin Klocke back to the drawing board.

This was the correct starting point to finally go “into the metal” and start engraving the mantra “OM MANI PADME HUM” into the wheels.

Trials with femto laser and new Tibetan computer fonts

First trials to laser engrave the mantras onto the tiny wheels were not so promising. The results did not satisfy the Tibetan Buddhist Master, and Martin Klocke was again sent back to the drawing board.

The level of detail in this minuscule size required the most modern laser technology to be available. Also, the laser engraving process needed a special Tibetan computer font to improve the detailing, too.

Step by step Martin came closer to the desired result: A readable miniature  Tibetan engraving on the two wheels: The escape wheel and the seconds wheel.

After one year of experimentation with self made fonts, a new femto-laser, many different parameters for different surfaces and a special fixation for the wheels, Martin Klocke and the laser engraver L-tec Brabender in Solingen succeeded. 

mantra engraving on seconds wheel

Here you can see the laser engraving process and the final result on the seconds wheel:

The result is so small that it cannot be seen without a large loupe. Inside of the Mantramatic MM01 movement, the wheels are hidden below the automatic bridge, rendering the sight of the wheels close to impossible. Even a glass case back does not really help!

When removing the case back and the automatic bridge one can see the wheels using a special macro lens setup to get a glance of the mantras on the wheels. Our photographer enabled a microscopic view into the innards of the movement, revealing the mantra on the escape wheel, and in the reflection of the balance wheel, also the mantra of the seconds wheel. 


large prayer wheel with Sherpa OPS wrist watch of Gelje Sherpa

The effect of the mantra according to Tibetan buddhist philosophy

The most used mantra in the Himalayas and maybe even worldwide is OM MANI PADME HUM, or OM MANI PEME HUNG, depending on the pronunciation, and is the mantra of the Buddha aspect „loving eyes“, or Chenresig in Tibetan. Chenresig has limitless compassion for all beings and vows to free them from suffering.

OM MANI PEME HUNG can connect us to this Buddha aspect and his compassion, blessing, and his wish to act ceaselessly for the benefit of all sentient beings. Reciting the mantra or using other means like a prayer wheel will connect us more and more to this path and spread this vibration into the world. This is why we chose to engrave this into the micro sized wheels inside of the movement. They work the same as the huge and small prayer wheels all around the Himalaya.

There are many different ways and levels to explain the meaning and effect of the mantra, and this is the most direct and easy to understand:

In general, the mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG removes various so-called disturbing emotions and creates harmony, joy and insight for all beings.

OM removes pride and promotes generosity
MA removes envy and promotes living a meaningful life
NI removes attachment and promotes patience
PE removes confusion and promotes joyful effort
ME removes greed and promotes liberating meditation practice
HUNG removes anger and promotes insight into the true nature of things

Please enjoy the watches and the vibration of the mantras and keep spreading them!