I’ve been following Nick (@watches_by_nick) for a while. Its been fun watching him go from a talented watch modder to someone starting his own brand. His first model started selling in 2016 and was named the Orion 1. Nick was kind enough to let me borrow the Origin 1:Red for a week so I could share my thoughts for this review.
I’m a sucker for a dome on a watch. This one absolutely doesn’t disappoint. In fact, on this watch, its almost overriding. If you’re not a fan of domes, this is definitely not the watch for you. I admit I am a fan, but there were many times when I looked down to check the time and found myself playing with the reflections on the crystal for a few moments only to realize I forgot to see what time it is.
Closely behind the dome is the integrated watch strap that blends into the case design itself. I’ve seen the Orion 1 on other straps before, but something about how seamlessly integrated that strap was really kept me from swapping it out. While it works on different straps, its a shame to move it off of one it was so well designed for. The black crocodile pattern lends an air of dressiness to what is essentially a fancier sports watch.
Cementing the sports watch feel is the massive crown on the side of the watch. I think its a great feature that really sets the tone for the watch. Clocking in at 9mm, that crown stands out and makes a statement. But more than that, its also very functional and is a joy to use when setting the time on the Seiko NH35 movement. Despite the modest (by today’s Favor Flav standards) width of only 38mm, it gives the watch more wrist presence and helps it stand with its peers in the big watch club.
The wide, polished bezel completes the look from the top. As is, it makes a nice frame for the dial. However, anyone who follows Nick knows that the bezel is really just the canvas for his engraved models…
The dial itself is a throwback vibe to vintage Omegas. I think the pairing of the dial with the handset is a good one. The crosshair dial is attractive and feels updated in this more modern packaging. The lume works nicely in the dark, and the dial reminds you that the watch is water resistant to 100m. In case you are wondering about the difference between the Blue and Red models, the key difference is just the text found on the dial.
On the wrist, the watch wears well. The slightly smaller size with oversized features gives a good blend of wrist presence. My wrist is about 6.75”, and it felt perfectly fine and didn’t seem to be clownishly oversized like my Panerai.
There are some amazing standout features on the watch, and they come together in a nice package. The watch reminds me a bit of the Rolex Milgauss Z Blue. The Rolex has the green glass crystal and a fascinating dial with a polished case. When I see pictures of the Z Blue or the Orion, I always stop to admire it. However, every time I try to find the right occasion for the dressy sports watch. I tend to gravitate to more of a vintage look like the Reverso for a dressy sports watch over a modern look. I think I just have a harder time pulling off the more updated look. Or I just need to upgrade my wardrobe…
Staying true to his customization roots, Nick offers a series of one off watches on his site. I wanted to run through my thoughts on some of his most popular mods here quickly:
- Mercedes/Snowflake/Mic Hands - Nope. The default handset matches the watch much better.
- Engraved Bezel - I love the engraving work Nick offers on his watches. I was a sucker for it on the Seiko watches he used to mod, and I’m a sucker now. However, the traditional engraving on the modern case aren’t a perfect fit. Eventually there will be a combination that I fall for…
- Liberty Half Dollar Dial - That’s one way to get vintage! Nick swaps out the dial for an actual Liberty half dollar. This is the model I’ve almost bought twice. The only thing holding me back is that while I wear analog watches a lot, I’m incapable of telling time without markers. Adding markers to that dial would be a crime. I bet it would work with the engraving though…
- Black Coating - Its a good look and works on this case.
- Enameled Crown - Nick has started experimenting with enameling his cases. I think it adds a really nice finishing touch. I call that one a no-brainer, must buy.
- Orion Constellation Caseback - Also a no-brainer. This is a fantastic look and should be standard on all of his models (says the guy who doesn’t have to do the work by hand).
Orion recently launched a Field Standard model if you like the look of the Orion 1 but want something different. I remain really interested in seeing what comes from Orion next.
Here are some other reviews of the Orion 1 that I recommend you check out to learn more:
Go check out the Orion 1:Red here.