Orion Calamity Review
The micro-brand dive watch space is a cluttered one. However, the micro-brand diver space above the $1000 price point, is quite slim. Very few micro-brands in general have ventured out into the great beyond of the $1,000+ market, pushing the boundaries of the quality we thought possible coming out of a single-man watch brand. Each time I've seen one of these micro-brands release an expensive model, I always see it met with controversy from the watch community, questioning if the watch could possibly live up to its Swiss counterparts in the same price bracket. The Orion Calamity is one of those micro-brand dive watches willing to try to be something great and break free of the sub-$1000 price range that many micro-brands keep themselves in, and Orion was able to create something truly impressive. Orion was kind enough to send us a prototype model for review, let's take a closer look.
Lug Distance: 20mm
Lug-to-lug distance: 48mm
Case height: 11.3mm (at thickest point)
Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 666ft
The first thing I noticed upon taking the Calamity out of the box, is how nicely proportioned the case is. Generally, dive watches have thick, chunky cases with a large wrist presence. The Calamity, however, wears slimmer than nearly any other watch in my collection. With a diameter of 40mm, and height of 11.3mm with a gently curving caseback, this watch wears seriously comfortably on the wrist. Almost feels like it just wants to give you a little wrist-hug (new term?).
The case is finished in a nicely done brushed finish, with polished beveled accents along the edges of the turned lugs, and case. It's small touches like these where you can see the higher price bracket of the Orion come into play. Flanking the right side of the case is the signature whopping Orion crown that makes setting and winding the watch a breeze. Despite the size of the crown, I never found any issues with it digging into my wrist during my week with the watch.
On the rear of the case is a sapphire case-back, giving you a glimpse at the ETA 2892 beating inside. Keep in mind that on the production version of the Calamity, the movement will be finished with Geneve Stripes.
To add to its higher end package, Orion chose to utilize an ETA 2892 to power the Calamity. This is a move that many collectors will no doubt be in favor of. While I do not have any issue with the Miyota or Seiko movements that many micro-brand companies choose to utilize, I'm always in favor of having a tried and true ETA movement powering any watch. The 2892 is a 21 jewel automatic movement, that provides higher accuracy than its little brother, the 2824.
Dial, Crystal, & Bezel
This is where the Calamity really shines, for me. Upon opening the box, I was instantly impressed with just how good the dial looks in person. The applied indices catch the light so well, and I'm a real sucker for blue watches.
I believe it's difficult to design a dive watch that doesn't slightly resemble a Submariner. In some way, shape, or form, you can generally identify one aspect of a watch that summons back to the grandmaster Submariner. However, outside of simply being a dive watch, I don't see any design elements that I could compare. To me, I find it truly impressive that Orion was able to create a unique design, without having to go a crazy direction with it. The overall Calamity design is fun, different, but still well within normal watch territory (that's a good thing).
Every hour marker is applied and filled with BGW9 superluminova (blue lume), with the 12, 3, 6, and 9 markers being triangular, and the rest of the hour markers a smaller rectangle. Surrounding the indices is the chapter ring with with white and orange ticks to add color to the dial. The signature element of the Calamity design, in my opinion, is the orange/white seconds hand. There's something so cool about it, despite how simple the design is.
The rotating bezel is obviously an essential part to any dive watch. The bezel insert is blue ceramic to match the dial, and it's fully lumed with BGW9, making this watch a real treat in the dark. The turning action is average, but I did find it slightly difficult to grip and turn the bezel due to the soft texturing and due to how slim it is. Topping it all off is a double doped sapphire crystal with a blue AR coating.
I was excited to see Orion include a bracelet with the Calamity, as I am absolutely a bracelet fan, and even more so a fan of bracelets on dive watches. The included bracelet is comfortable, well finished, and overall well designed. I found the links to articulate well and found that it draped nicely over my wrist. I was left wanting more with the clasp, however, as I would have liked to have seen a dive extension, or better yet, a ratcheting dive extension.
The Calamity represents a step forward for Orion as a watch company, but also represents a step forward for micro-brands, as they have moved past the sub $1,000 barrier. After reviewing the Field Standard from Orion, it's incredible to see the increase in quality they've made from one model to the next, and I'll be looking forward to seeing future models from the brand.
This is a nicely designed, thin, fun dive watch to wear, that I think makes for a compelling watch for many enthusiasts. Of course with any "expensive" micro-brand, the question of "Is it worth it?" will be up to you. What other dive watch will you find with a fully lumed, color matched ceramic bezel, bracelet, and an ETA 2892 at just $1,495? Everyone's definition of value is going to differ, but I think for many, the Calamity will be an interesting option when looking to add another watch to their collection. You can check out more about the Calamity (and put in your pre-order) on the Orion website.