Xicorr watches is a new brand based out of Poland. Like G. Gerlach, who we reviewed recently, Xicorr is focused on manufacturing locally in Poland, having interesting designs and affordable prices. While Gerlach makes watches based on classic designs and themes, Xicorr goes for an entirely novel look. It’s rare to find watches, especially in this price range, that start ground up with their designs. Case, dial, hands, etc… were all created specifically for the watch. That’s not just to say that the parts aren’t “off-the-shelf” (they are all made in Poland), they are also utterly different.
The first watch by Xicorr, which we’re reviewing today, is the Circle. It’s a modern sport watch with a very distinct look that you wont find elsewhere. When asked, the designer of the watch, Adam, told me that the design started with the idea of using a standard size screw as a functional center point. This inspired the vocabulary of circles used throughout and, of course the name. The Circle features a sapphire crystal, a Seagull TY2130 automatic movement and price tag of 290 EUR or about $386.
Case: St Steel
Movement: Seagull TY2130
Strap: Leather and Silicon
Water Res.: 100M
Dimensions: 42 x 50mm
Thickness: 12.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 6 x 4 mm
Warranty: 2 year
The steel case of the Xicorr Circle is simple with interesting details, making it striking and industrial. Measuring 42 x 50 x 12.5mm, it’s medium sized and well proportioned. Given the design of the watch, had it been larger, it would have been over bearing, smaller and it would have lost impact. The general shape is straightforward; the center is cylindrical with straight sides and straight lugs. From the side, the case construction appears more interesting. The bezel and case back, both of which have gentle slopes, mirror each other giving the case a sort of “saucer” shape. The lugs then have a strange articulated shape that is rounded in every direction. Though a bit disjointed, they look good and emphasize the main portion of the case.
The star of the design is really the 6mm wide bezel. First off, it’s very wide, giving the watch some needed bulk. Second, it’s studded with 12 M1,6 hex head screws, each placed is a small slot. The screws seem to not only be aesthetic, but also secure the case together. What I particularly like about this is that the screws add adornment while increasing the techy, industrial undertones of the watch. It also serves to expand the dial, as the screws are aligned with the hours, thus making them an index of their own.
At 3.5 is a small, oddly shaped push-pull crown. It’s a rounded tapering design that sort of resembles a mushroom. It has slots cut into the side for grip, but overall I found it fairly difficult to grasp. Once pulled into position, it’s easy enough to turn, it’s just hard to pull out in the first place. As far as the design goes, it’s interesting but a bit out of nowhere. I would have expected something with screw-like details.
The case back is a reflection of the front of the watch, complete with screws, but no display. The first 6mm are exactly the same as the bezel, with a slight slope and 12 screws in slots. The center is then an etched design with various detail about the watch. The design here is clever, utilizing the “circle” logo, where most of the details are with an oversized “c”.
Overall, the case is very sturdy and well executed. There is no real finishing to speak of, but every line and edge is crisp. The screw detail is an especially nice touch that adds texture and complexity to the design, as well as a unique aesthetic.
Dial and Hands
Hit or miss, the dial of the Circle is very unique, with a simple graphic style. The hour index consists of circular applied markers with polished rims and black fill. At 3, 6 and 9, the circles are larger and at 12, the circle becomes a longer slot shape. In between the hours are black lines for the minutes/seconds. The markers all sit on a clean white surface, making them stand out. The applied markers are particularly nice and have a different presence than a typical printed black circle would. The polished rims also glimmer a bit and add some texture.
Writing is limited on the dial, only consisting of a small Xicorr logo, “automatic” and “made in Poland”. The Xicorr logo, which is oddly placed between nine and ten, features an applied X accompanied by printed text. While having too much wording on a dial is very annoying, having too little can be a bit awkward. The size and placement of the text creates large open spaces of white that feel empty. Breaking up the space a bit is a date window at 3.5 (in-line with the crown) that is a small circle with a steel rim. I was glad to see that the language of the markers was continued in the design of the window, though I wish it was a bit further away from the index as it feels a crowded right around it.
The hands of the Circle are fun and different. The minute is a long slot shape with black filling and a polished edge, while the hour hand is a black circle that is extended away from the center by thee polished struts. Both hands are about the same length, but look very different, so there is not confusion when looking at the watch. The second hand is a thin polished stick with a small circle and a touch of black fill towards the very tip. The hands do a good job of continuing the formal language of the dial, while not getting so weird as to be unreadable or unattractive.
The lume on the Circle is, no surprise, different and interesting. All of the black filled areas, this includes the markers and hands, are actually lumed. When charged or charging, they become a medium to dark green color. This makes for a strange effect when you are outside and the watch catches some direct sunlight, as they suddenly look almost turquoise in color. As you might expect, black lume isn’t the strongest, but it isn’t bad either. It never gets very bright, but it lasts a decent while in the dark. When glowing, the watch also is very cool looking, taking on a bit of a different personality. Suddenly you only see a series of floating circles and slots.
The dial area is quite small, measuring only 30mm in diameter, so the bezel works to extend it to the edge of the watch, balancing out the proportions. I actually found myself looking at the screws on the bezel as much as the markings on the dial. Together, they make for an attractive dial that mixes stark graphic and bold industrial elements. Though at a glance it might not seem like a sport watch, the ruggedness of the bezel plus the legibility of the dial does make sense in that context.
Straps and Wearability
The Xicorr Circle comes with two 22mm straps, one leather and the other silicon. The leather strap is thick black leather of decent quality with interesting stitching. Along the edge are two rows of thread, white on the outside, black on the inside. This makes for a sporty look that plays off of the rugged elements of the watch while bringing out the white dial. As an option, the leather is decorative and bold.
The silicon, however, is a bit more interesting in my opinion. It’s thick and grey with a soft and pleasant texture. The design of the strap is fairly simple, but it has a couple of molded contours that make it more refined than a simple slab. The medium grey color works really well with the steel and white dial, sitting somewhere else on the black-white spectrum. As a watch with a distinctly “modern” edge, the rubber just seems very appropriate. The materiality of the rubber also plays off of the industrial elements in the case design. That said, the rubber does stick a bit to the skin, so it is occasionally uncomfortable.
On the table, there are a lot of weird things going on with the Circle that might not make sense, but once on the wrist, it all comes together. The size is just about perfect. It’s strong and masculine, while thin enough to not feel bulky. Given the proportions of the bezel to the lugs, it sits on top of the wrist, wearing more like a lugless design. I really liked the size on my 7″ wrist, and I believe it would work well on wrists larger and smaller.
Though bizarre, the looks are clean and intriguing. The screw-studded case has a lot of presence. Though while standing out, does not feel ostentatious or tacky. The neutral colors make matching the watch to clothes fairly easy. I particularly liked the way it looks with grays and faded blues. That said, the stark modern aesthetic is a bit strange and likely wont work on everyone, but you probably already know if this is something you can pull off.
The Xicorr Circle delivers very well on execution and certainly scores points for creativity. It’s a divisive design that wont appeal to everyone as it is very modern and doesn’t refer to known watch styles, but is successful at what it’s going for. Style a side, the case is fantastic and a highlight of the watch. I could see this case being used as a signature of the brand for some time as it’s fun and different, yet rugged and masculine. The dial, while intriguing, is a bit less successful due to some awkward layout, but is nevertheless well made.
For the price, the Circle offers a lot in terms of originality and build quality. The Seagull movement inside might cause pause for some, but in our experience has run well. Seagull and other Chinese made mechanical movements are becoming much more common at this price point, so this seems pretty fair. Considering the case, dial, hands, etc… are novel designs and manufactured in Poland, and the watch features a sapphire crystal, under $400 is a good value.
By Zach Weiss