Oris X1 Calculator *REVIEW*
Year 1947. could be characterised as quite important in the human history. This is the year the first transistor was invented, Ferrari started producing its sports automobiles and probably the most important - the first manned supersonic flight in history was taken.
On October 14th, 1947, Bell X1 became the first manned airplane which broke the sound barrier and earned its place in the history books. Even though at that time, people did not know much about aerodynamics and rocket drive, it did not stop efforts of engineers and pilots of the time to archive this impossible task. From the designer view, Bell X-1 had a bullet shape with wings and huge rocket drive because former studies had shown that a bullet caliber 0:50 showed stability in flight at speeds above Mach 2. For pilots, this was extremely risky mission without any ejection seat system and a parachute. Besides that, nobody could predict exactly what would happen when breaking sound barrier.
What is very impressive is that this flight occurred before the era of computers and pocket calculators, when engineers used math (yes, yes, the one that saves lives :) ) and by using the slide rule that made complex calculation in a relatively short period of time with a high precision. During 1940s and 1950s, slide rules (more know as E6B) were increasingly applied in aviation by pilots, and served to calculate speed, distance, fuel consumption and reference height. Although today it is replaced by advance computer systems, we still find it in modern pilot watches, like Oris X1 Calculator. 66 years later, Bell X-1 is still considered a legendary aircraft (or a rocket with wings), therefore Oris decided to celebrate this historic milestone with a new chronograph model - X1 Calculator.
Even though all reviews usually end with personal impressions, this time I think it would be ok to start with them: this watch is simply - phenomenal! There is a huge amount of pilot watches in the market, as this became a trend similar to recreational diving and obviously potential is there. So how does this Oris stand out from the bunch of similar pilot watches? First and foremost - the design! Luckily, the design of the watch was not based on Bell X1 looks, because here, besides the functions, design is extremely importrant. Completely black PVD case in gun metal color gives a stealth look and contributes to the cool factor. With its 46mm size it is not a light weight category, it is even two steps above middle, and a the lack of lunette gives the impression of a much larger watch of 49mm. But 54mm lugs ensure that it stands firmly and safely on the wrist. A thick 23mm leather strap certainly contributes to this, and although it seems stiff, it is of quality leather that has a tick layer of rubber at the bottom to preserve the durability of the strap.
Anyone looking closely at the dial would surely experience information overload - sub-dials, hands, scales, counters... all seem a bit fearful. But only at a first glance, because X1 proved to be extremely readable and easy to use. It is enough to look at it from a 20cm distance off your face and all "excess" on the dial simply disappears. Important information like hour display, minute and chrono functions come into focus and reading time becomes a pleasure. As for readability in dark conditions, there really is no problem.
BG W9 illumination glows with a bluish tone of outstanding strength and thanks to 12/3/6/9 indicators it is quite difficult to "get lost" in the dial. In addition BG W9 in daylight has no greenish glow, but is of sterile white color and looks great on the dial. Besides the date window at 4:30h, Oris very discretely managed to squeeze in a day window. If you did not succeed in noticing it at first, it is on the right side of the small seconds sub-dial at 9h. At 12 and 6h there are two sub-dials, reserved for chronograph functions, measuring time intervals up to 12h. When talking about the chronograph, I must commend a phenomenal tactile feedback, a power "click" when turning chrono functions on, off and reset. One great detail, piston shaped pushers bearing the "X" and "I" marks, just as a reminder of the reason this watch was made.
Frankly, nothing is worse then having a small crown on the watch. It is difficult to wind the watch, to take the crown out... no such problems exists here. The crown is double the size of pushers, with deeply cut sharp horizontal lines, and is really easy to use, even with the watch on the wrist.
As for the movement, Oris incorporated Caliber 675, that is an ETA7750 modified with a red rotor, a kind of Oris trademark. It is a very reliable and precise movement, which has proved over the years to be very durable and easy to maintain. It worked with +5 seconds per day at a test, which is an excellent result for a non-COSC movement . Power reserve is of solid 48 hours.
E6B computer or circular "slide rule" is integrated into the inner lunette of a X1 Calculator. Even though formerly E6B was used as primary computer for simple and complex mathematical operations, today it is virtually unnecessary with all computers and smartphones around. However, it is a matter of time when would you need this device and it could be of great benefit in the crucial moment. With usual multiplication and division, it is possible to do variety of conversions, such as currency, speed, height... etc. There are detailed instructions on how to use E6B computer coming with the watch, and if you need further assistance, please take a look at a tutorial on our forum.
Watch packaging is an extra bonus which is always nice to see with the themed watches. Along with a standard Oris black and red box with a hill of documentation of the Bell X1 history, there is a box designed in the flight instrument style. What is the best, the top of the box is a fully functional E6B computer on which you could practice conversions and arithmetic operations. Big thumbs up to Oris for this idea. Oris X1 Calculator is possible to buy in Dicta's shops or via Dicta webshop.