Orion Calamity Dive Watch

Orion Calamity Dive Watch

By: Michael Penate

If you're a watch lover and you happen to have the chance to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with Nick Harris from Orion Watches, I suggest you take it. That's what I did not long ago on a rare, sunny Seattle afternoon and it was time well spent with good company and some awesome watches. Since 2016, Nick has existed as somewhat of an enigmatic figure in the micro-brand watch space after transitioning from the go-to Seiko watch modder to full-on watch brand. Releases like the original Orion 1 and the Orion Field Standard we reviewed here were met with praise, and budget-conscious watch buyers just couldn't get enough. But, there were always whispers of a dive watch and today, we're going to give you a quick glimpse at what the new Orion Calamity dive watch is all about.

The real treat in handling an Orion watch and talking to Nick about what went into the production process is realizing that he basically did everything he said he would. The first time he mentioned the Calamity, he said that it would be thin, "super thin." I thought to myself, "Okay fine, a thin 40mm dive watch with a slightly pricier movement... we'll see!" Well, at 11.3mm tapering down to 10.5mm, he certainly hit that mark, especially when you consider the overall sporty aesthetic of the archetypal dive watch. But, there are a few more key details if you take the time to look closer. The massive crown assembly with its deep knurling pattern is almost unmistakably "Orion" at this point and I was happy to see those big crown guards making a comeback. However, getting the watch on wrist was an experience I was not ready for.

While the Orion Calamity dive watch excels in the areas of case finishing, construction, and aesthetic choices, comfort is is where this watch really shines. The caseback features such a generous and gradual contour that it almost feels as if the watch is just melting on your wrist. In a way, it reminds me of some of those 17th-century lutes you can find with a drastic scalloping effect on the fingerboard (sorry, guitar nerd reference). There's a cool little array of polished surfaces throughout the case but nothing too flashy and the bracelet (we'll get to that in a bit) integrates beautifully with the curved lugs. The 316L stainless steel case is 40mm wide with a 48mm lug-to-lug distance. Oh, and water resistance is 666ft \m/(^o^)\m/

Moving on to the dial, we're greeted with what I find to be one of the most legible readouts in watches at this price point. Large applied triangular indices grace the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions and a bright orange seconds hand with a luminous tip will probably keep you staring for a while. It's actually quite hard for me to pin down the shape of the hour and minute hands but they are large enough and detailed so they can provide adequate contrast with the dial. On the black model I handled there was also an all-white minute track and a pleasantly glossy BGW9-lumed ceramic bezel with a cool chevron pip at 12 o'clock. Keeping it all cozy is a nice double domed sapphire crystal with blue AR-coating.

The bracelet on the Calamity was also a surprise, as it can be difficult to find quality bracelet options from smaller micro-brands. It's a pretty significant cost to consider but here, Orion went the distance and fitted the Calamity with a nice brushed steel bracelet featuring what I feel was a very light taper. There's a lovely little Orion logo design on the clasp and the integration with the lugs just makes it a perfect match for the contoured Orion Calamity case. Sure, there isn't much in the way of dive extensions on this specific model, but I'm sure plenty of watch lovers can live without that kind of stuff.

Inside the Orion Calamity is an ETA 2892 Swiss automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve and a 28,800 bph operational frequency. At just 3.6mm thick, it not only supports the ultra-thin case design you find on the Calamity but is also about 28% thinner than the more commonly used ETA 2824. It's also worth noting that the ETA 2892—even in the lowest grade produced by ETA—features superior shock protection and finishing compared to the lowest grade 2824. The comparison makes for a heated debate but personally, I find Nick's movement choice appropriate and well thought-out when you consider that it plays such a crucial role in the design and wearability of the Calamity.

Overall my first impressions of the Orion Calamity are very positive and I'm excited to see just how far this cool little diver takes the brand. Available in glossy black, blue, and green, there's sure to be something for everyone. I'm currently cheezin' just staring at the blue one right now. Price, however, is a little higher than previous Orion models at $1,400 for the pre-order but I personally find this in line and justified when you look closely at what the Orion Calamity is. As always, let us know what you think in the comments and be sure to find more information about the Orion Calamity by visiting the brand's official site.


Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition

Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition

By: Michael Penate

Seiko has just announced the latest addition to their growing Presage collection, the Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition. Over the past year or so, Seiko has been pushing to bring the Presage collection centerstage by introducing new models available in North America to complement the more popular JDM models. This, of course, makes things terribly difficult for watch collectors (like myself) that just can't seem to settle on a nice dressy piece. It's true that people should be paying more attention to the Presage line-up and a release like this just might be enough to turn some more heads.

Perhaps the most notable feature here is the enamel dial, which has been finished in a deep midnight blue reminiscent of the night sky. Amazingly, each of these fired enamel dials have been crafted by a single artisan, Mitsuru Yokozawa, who has been instrumental in managing the process of creating these dials in large, reliable quantities. I sill can't believe how easy Seiko makes it to own a watch with a decently finished enamel dial. Other features include beautifully executed Roman numerals and a gold powder-coated crescent counterweight for contrast against the blue enamel dial.

Case diameter, thankfully, is kept to just 40.5mm with a 12mm case thickness. A lovely matte blue crocodile strap complements the whole package but will probably prove difficult to pull off with casual attire. I'd swap it out, since I find it pretty hard to get on board with colored leather. Inside is Seiko's in house 6R15D, which operates at 21,600bph and offers cool features like hacking and hand-winding. You really can't ask for more. To tie it all together, the sapphire display caseback even has a gold crescent accent applied to it, which is just a cool way to wrap up the entire aesthetic theme of the watch.

Limited to 1,500 pieces, the Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition will retail for $1,100 and come with a cool premium wooden Seiko box. If there's anything that has kept me from jumping on something like Seiko's popular SARB035, it's watches from the Presage collection and as far as I can tell, they just keep getting better. Be sure to learn more at the official Presage website and let us know what you think! seiko-presage.com


The Archimede Pilot 42 GMT

Archimede Pilot 42 GMT
By: Michael Penate

Take it from me - deciding on the perfect GMT can be quite a journey. Also, considering the lack of affordable options out there today, it's no wonder that some watch enthusiasts leave the GMT out completely. Recently, the Pforzheim-based watch brand, Archimede, announced a new addition to their popular pilot line. The Archimede Pilot 42 GMT retains everything that's appealing about the standard Pilot 42 and adds GMT capabilities thanks to the ETA 2893-2 movement.

Photo courtesy of ARCHIMEDE Watches - Ickler GmbH

Owned and operated by the Ickler family, Archimede produces a range of dress-style and sport watches. Their pilot watches are by far their most popular line and the variety you can find is almost unmatched when considering some of the other flieger-producing brands. Many of the models that they produce are also quite affordable with prices ranging between €660 and €770. And while this new GMT model goes a bit north of our comfortable $1000 range, I thought it would be cool to bring it up for anyone that might be looking to stretch their budget just a tiny bit.

Photo courtesy of ARCHIMEDE Watches - Ickler GmbH

Everything about the Archimede Pilot 42 GMT seems to hit the mark as far as a pilot's watch goes. You've got the huge dial, sword hands, and a chunky, cockpit-ready onion crown. What I like here is the internally integrated GMT scale, which is almost Sinn-ish in its execution. The bright red GMT hand helps you quickly differentiate between scales and appears purposeful and well-defined. The case is 42mm thick, 51mm lug-to-lug, and a mere 9.5mm thick. Additionally, the watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal and provides 50m of water resistance.

While many dedicated GMT watches made today usually drift away from the flieger design philosophy, it seems as if the Archimede Pilot 42 GMT almost brings us the best of both worlds. You get old-school appeal with a contemporary touch. Price is €907.56 excluding VAT ($1,010 at the time of publishing) but as I mentioned before, it might be a cool option if you're looking for something in this range. Is this a little too much? Maybe. Let us know what you guys think in the comments and if there are any other cool alternatives in this price bracket. Archimede

Photos: ARCHIMEDE Watches - Ickler GmbH


SevenFriday Launches The S3/01

SevenFriday Launches The S3/01

By: Michael Penate

It's hard to get around the fact that SevenFriday is just one of those brands that did it right as far as marketing goes. Back when the company was founded in 2012, there weren't really any brands attempting to leverage social media and I'm not even sure if #womw was actually a thing. As polarizing as their designs may be, SevenFriday is here to stay. This week, they've announced their first square-shaped watch to come along since the 2014 release of the M-Series and here it is—the SevenFriday S3/01.

The S3/01 has a simplified and openworked dial readout compared to some of the more recent models released by the brand. Actually, it almost seems like an updated P1, which was part of their first collection of timepieces. The case measures 47mm x 47.6mm, is constructed of stainless steel, and features an application of sandblasted black PVD throughout.

But hey, the fun part of any new SevenFriday is figuring out how to tell the time. So, onto the dial. This is what SevenFriday calls their multi level interface and really, it isn't as complex as it seems. What we have is a simple time only display with a great degree of three-dimensionality built into it. The hour and minute hands seem legible enough and also add a bit of a red color touch over the satin, gunmetal colored dial. A sandblasted rhodium "brake disc" rotates to indicate seconds and both the hands and indexes are coated with Super-LumiNova.

It's also worth noting that the SevenFriday S3/01 introduces what appears to be a new crown guard design that wasn't present in the M-Series or P-Series watches. Additionally, the watch is fitted with a hardened mineral crystal, provides 30 meters of water resistance, comes on a black silicone strap with red stitching, and draws power from a Miyota 82S5 automatic movement.

Like many of their designs, the SevenFriday S3/01 won't exactly work for everyone. But I think it's critical to view the watch in the proper haute horology-inspired context. As someone who's constantly drooling over Mil-Subs and vintage Seikos, I still totally get the appeal. It's a fun, bold, automotive-inspired watch that builds upon the lifestyle brand SevenFriday has successfully marketed. All said and done, the SevenFriday S3/01 will retail for $1,765 when it hits their site. For more information, visit sevenfriday.com.