Orient Place

Orient Place

Sunday 26 May 2024

Cyclopes, and Where to Find Them

The "cyclops" is a magnifying lens, typically placed over the date window of a watch, intended to make the date more legible. The concept was invented by Rolex and was used for the first time with the 1953 Datejust. In the years that followed it was gradually adopted by other brands.

Orient started using cyclopes (which is the proper plural form of cyclops) in 1961, which makes sense as that is when the brand's first watches that featured a date wheel were introduced.

The first two models equipped with a cyclops where the "Lucky Calendar", and the Grand Prix Calendar. Later, in 1963, Orient also added a cyclops to some of its Olympia Orient Weekly models.

Over the years, Orient would occasionally add cyclops to certain models. While the brand never seemed to maintain a consistent, long-term approach to the use of this contraption, it did implement it regularly throughout the production of its "Rolex President" homages, both the day-date and the datejust variants. That too makes sense, considering these watches were the origin of the cyclops.

On a few rare occasions, Orient even placed a cyclops over both the date and the day, in cases where the two shared an aperture, or were placed adjacently. Such were the Orient Fineness, as well as certain models of the Chronoace, including a few "College" and "Racer" versions. A few of the 1970s

Note that the vast majority of Chronoace watches did not feature a cyclops, so a flat crystal is what you're likely to find when shopping for these.

A few "AAA" King Divers also featured the combined day and date magnification. You can see a few examples here.

Here are a few examples of how effective the magnification is; as you can see in the close-up photos of the Fineness above, and the Weekly Auto Orient AAA and M-Force below.

Note that only the early 1997-8 M-Force models featured a cyclops; later models did not. Keep in mind the first generation of this watch did not use sapphire crystal, and the lens protruding from the mineral glass was prone to scratches, particularly with a watch that's intended for rough use. So perhaps that's why Orient dropped the cyclops.

On one particular occasion, Orient started making a line of watches with the Cyclops, and then – removed it… this was the 2010 "Star Seeker" GMT line.

The first references of this model (WZ0011DJ, WZ0021DJ, WZ0031DJ) were introduced with a cyclops; after one year of production, Orient replaced them with new references (WZ0041DJ and WZ0051DJ) that did not feature a cyclops. Both early and later versions had a sapphire crystal. Why did Orient do that? Was it to simplify production? Was it a design decision? Who knows.

However, the change definitely helps to observe just how effective the magnification is. See how much clearer the date appears in the earlier model (on the right-hand side of the image).

These are, of course, just a few examples. You will be able to find other Orients equipped with a date magnifier, particularly among older watches.

But, despite the usefulness of the cyclops, especially in watches intended for older customers (such as the president homages were, indeed), Orient's current line up does not include a single watch featuring this lens.

Personally, I would have loved to see a cyclops on the 38mm Bambino, for instance, or the Orient Star Classic. What do you think?


The picture of the M-Force, AAA, and Fineness that appear in this post are copyright of the blog. Other pictures that appear in this post were taken from various Orient catalogs and sale ads. 

1 comment:

  1. Imho, the cyclops works best with a flat crystal (unless, maybe, it’s on the inside of the crystal). Personally, I love cyclopes, because of their awkwardness. An Orient quartz diver of mine has one, and I adore it. Yes to more cyclopes!