Something we’re always tracking at Worn & Wound are new ways that brands take advantage of a stepped up watch infrastructure right here in the United States. While watches that are 100% American made are rare (primarily because movements and their components are still made almost exclusively overseas) individual watch parts (dials, cases, and so forth) are being made in larger numbers now than we’ve seen in recent years in the US, and they’re starting to show up in watches at all price points. At the high end, you’ve got folks like Joshua Shapiro and his traditional engine turned dials, but there are interesting things happening on the other side of the market as well. One brand that we’ve covered in the past, Orion, just announced a new watch that is actually a fairly serious entry into the growing American made watch space, and is honestly a bit of a (welcome) surprise.
The Tesseract is the latest in a series of watches from a brand that really knows how to name their timepieces (previous watches include the Hellcat and Calamity), but this one has a very different feel. While their prior watches had a distinct military/tool flavor, the Tesseract is more impressionistic, and it comes down to the dial. Made in the USA, the isometric patterned dial is made using a milling process as opposed to being laser cut, which results in what Orion says is a crispness and sense of depth that can’t be achieved by taking shortcuts. Naturally, technical challenges crop up when using this type of precision machining, with the major hurdle being that the 0.50mm thick dial is cut uniformly across its entire surface without warping.
There are three dial colors in total: brown/gray, cerulean blue, and royal purple. Orion says that the colors are achieved through a galvanic process, some of which have been treated by Comblemine (Kari Voutilainen’s dial manufacturer), while others have been galvanized by independent watchmaker and machinist Zach Smith. These galvanizations are highly polished, and Orion expects that the dials may patina in interesting ways, similar to early Royal Oaks.
As you’d expect, Orion is letting the milled dial take center stage, and they’ve elected not to place hour markers of any kind around the perimeter. They do, however, place a 0.20mm thick Orion nameplate at the 12:00 position. The plate’s chamfers have been hand polished, and Orion’s custom typeface has been machined into the plate. For the brown/gray dial, the plate has been given a rose gold accent, while the blue and purple have been given a white rhodium treatment (in all cases, the hands match the plating). The small details really add up here and result in something that’s quite refined.
In terms of specs, we’re looking at a stainless steel case measuring 40mm in diameter and 10.5mm thick. The watch is equipped with a screw down crown and is water resistant to 100 meters, so it’s certainly suitable for daily wear for most. The Tesseract runs on a Miyota 9039 automatic movement.
This is a highly limited release with only 19 watches being made in total. Prices range from $3,850 to $4,150. More information can be found on Orion’s website.