Xicorr FSO M20.01 Hands-On

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Xicorr is a young Polish watch brand committed to putting “made in Poland” on the map. We reviewed their first watch, the Circle, back in 2013. Though we found the overall design a bit divisive, we were taken with the unique aesthetic of the case and its solid build quality.  We were most impressed with the brand’s commitment to building their watches from the ground up, with all components, excluding the movement, designed in-house and made to spec. Eventually, Xicorr would like to sell watches entirely made in Poland, and though the company currently uses third-party movements–mostly from China–they hope to manufacture their own down the line.

 

In the meantime, Xicorr has been busy releasing a number of new models, many of them automotive inspired. Today, we’re taking a look at the Xicorr FSO M20.01, a watch based on the FSO Warszawa M20 car produced in Poland from 1951 to 1973 (it was the first post-war Polish car produced on a national scale). It’s a bit of an obscure reference, but one that lends itself to an intriguing design (and one that looks quite similar to Autodromo Stradale, which itself is based on dashes from Italian Berlinettas). The FSO M20 comes in four flavors: silver/black (M20.01), tonal grey (M20.02), black/grey (M20.04), and a sold out black/grey in a PVD case.
At €345, the watch isn’t exactly a no-brainer, but is it worth its asking price? Let’s take a closer look.

Case

The brushed stainless steel case comes in at 42mm, with a lug-to-lug height of approximately 50mm and a thickness of 12mm. It’s a chunky piece of cylindrical metal, but one that is well proportioned. Bezel aside, the case is actually quite similar to the one found on the Circle, which we were quite fond of in our review of that watch.

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In profile, you can see that the case goes straight down with clear demarcations between its three parts. All edges are rounded, giving the case a softer appearance. This is especially true with the angled lugs, which are rounded and jut out like little legs from the mid case. This gives the watch an overall turtle-like shape, with the push-pull crown–positioned between 3 and 4 o’clock–acting as the head. The crown, it should be mentioned, is designed to mimic the appearance of a tire, and features an engraved FSO symbol at its center. It’s the most stylized aspect of the case, and the detail I enjoy the most. Topping it all off is a flat sapphire crystal with an internal anti-reflective coating.

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The case back has 8 notches to facilitate removal, with the watch name, brand, and FSO symbol engraved on the back. Additional specs are engraved along its perimeter. Overall, it’s a well-executed case, albeit a bit bland when compared to other watches from the brand.

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Dial and Hands

This is where the watch really gets interesting. As I already noted, the dial of the FSO M20 is inspired by the FSO Warszawa M20 car. Specifically, the design pulls heavily from the car’s odometer/speedometer. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in. The surface of the dial is split between two areas: an outer ring and an inner surface. The outer ring is relatively simple, displaying the hours track in Arabic numerals. The inner surface is where the dial becomes much more interesting.

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First you have a minutes/seconds track with bars representing every value, except for every 5-minute interval which is indicated with raised half-spheres. Moving further in you have 4 concentric circles, adding a little texture to the otherwise flat dial. Flanking the hands are two faux screws, a detail that is true to the clocks inspiring the watch, but one that slightly cheapens the look of the dial. The painted on “screws” look inelegant, and I can’t help but compare it to the Stradale, which pulls off the same detail exceptionally by actually utilizing raised screws.

The hands are sort of a blunted dauphine style, with a line of yellow-colored lume going down the center. The seconds hand is unique in that it has a large metallic base, which stands out but isn’t an eyesore. The seconds hand is tipped in yellow lume as well. The overall design of the hands is certainly interesting, but arguably a bit counter-intuitive to actual time telling with the hours handing hitting the minutes track and the minutes hand hitting the hours track. That being the case, it hasn’t affected my ability to read the watch at a quick glance.

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One of the most interesting details on the dial is the application of the date window, which is positioned slightly left of the 5 o’clock marker. It’s integrated into a strip of numbers reading “1951”–a reference to the M20’s first production year–with the date widow appearing at the right end of that strip. The date wheel pops, being that it is white text against a red base. Overall, it’s a well thought out design, even if slightly kitschy. It should be noted that the print quality on the date wheel of the sample is poor, and a bit surprising given the rest of the watch. That being said, I found some user images of the watch online with perfect date wheels, so the review sample provided may very well be a production sample and not the final product.

Movement

At the heart of the watch is the Sea Gull TY-2130, which is essentially an ETA clone. My experience with the movement has been a positive one, with no issues involving timekeeping and general operation. I do think, however, given the price of the watch, a Miyota 9015 would be a better option, seeing as how it is now becoming the standard amongst micros and often inspires greater confidence from consumers.

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Straps and Wearability

The FSO M20 comes with two straps: one is a brown leather rally strap and the other is a black silicone strap. Both feature bright yellow contrast stitching. I love the pairing of the rally strap to the watch, though I’m not particularly fond of the stitch color. It’s certainly a matter of personal preference, but the watch has enough going on that I feel a subdued tonal stitching would have sufficed. Beyond the straps, the watch comes with an added spring bar tool and a metal case.

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On the wrist, the watch wears quite well. It stays true to its dimensions, but feels well balanced and comfortable. Being that the case back is flat, the watch lays snug against the wrist with none of the elements feeling obtrusive. It is a sports watch, so I wouldn’t go pairing it with anything you’d wear into the office. With that said, the M20 would make for a great summer beater.

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Conclusion

The Xicorr FSO M20.01 is a creative watch with some great design cues. Its fun to see a micro experiment and have fun with their watches and not simply produce homages to pre-existing designs. For that, Xicorr should be applauded. With that said, the M20 doesn’t fully sell me. My main issue with the watch (date window aside) would have to be the movement. At nearly $400 dollars, I’d much rather the watch be equipped with a Seiko or Miyota, even one of the lower tier ones. The peace of mind of having something tried and true would go a long way in making the watch more appealing.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
ryvini

13 thoughts on “Xicorr FSO M20.01 Hands-On”

  1. I remember 2 years ago when I first saw photos of the watch. I’d love to see the date be a big date that integrates into the mileage better. Aside from that, I love the crown and design of the watch. I’d like to see a more mainstream affordable movement, but that’s mostly because the Chinese movements have an air of mystery (and cloning) around them and people don’t trust them.

    (Hate to harp on it, but I still think you need a single page view for reviews. Please.)

  2. Very nice styling, although it’s a hodge-podge of other watches. I wouldn’t be caught dead with one because of the Chinese movement. There are so many other “real” brands near this price point with movements that’ll last more than a month.

    1. Why do you think this movement will only last a month (or less than an ETA for that matter)? You should probably look around the web a bit more. There’s been detailed analysis of ETA movements vs their clones frankly there’s no differences worth mentioning.

      This is pretty ancient technology, after all.

      1. There is a huge difference. Any watch repairer who takes the two apart
        discovers very crude cost-cutting gears, sloppy assembly, oil all over
        the place, poor finishing, dirt, dead skin, hairs, even flakes of brass grindings on the jewels (!), and plenty of
        evidence of the Chinese knock-offs not being put together in a properly
        clean environment. Not to mention the ethical concerns of slave labour
        level sweatshops vs. decent employee environments. That alone would stop
        me from ever buying a Chinese knock-off movement. The well known internet watch repairer watchguy has just one of
        MANY write-ups on the subject, with both an ETA movement and a Sea-gull and another cheap knock-off
        taken apart and compared. Unfortunately I can’t put up a link to it or my post gets deleted as spam automatically, so you’ll have to Google: Comparison: Sea-Gull ST2130, ETA 2824-2, Peacock SL3000

        1. Thanks for the link! After reading through it though, it doesn’t support your assertion. Sure the ETA is cleaner out of the factory, but this can be fixed with a cleaning/service. As far as performance/materials are concerned, the movements are all pretty much the same (with the ETA being a more crisp around the edges).

          After reading Watchguy’s article, I’d have zero problems buying a seagull-based watch from a watch company with decent QC.

          1. “I’d have zero problems buying a seagull-based watch from a watch company with decent QC.”

            OH? And which company would that be, exactly? Whom do you know for a fact pulls them all apart and rebuilds them to make sure they work properly? I’ve never seen that advertised anywhere.

            And you have no problem with sweatshop slave labour, either?

          2. You’re making sweeping generalizations about Chinese labor. They won’t stand the test of time

    2. i own 3 Xicorr’s with Seagull AAA movements, all run perfectly 1 for more than 3 years. I wish people with no experience of a product refrain from comments.

  3. As far as the looks goes, Xicorr watches look nice. Though a bit hodge podge about the movements, I would rather buy one as long as it doesn’t have a bad reputation, after all they are nothing new in technology. Over all I like them.

  4. As far as
    the looks goes, Xicorr watches look nice. Though a bit hodge podge about the
    movements, I would rather buy one as long as it doesn’t have a bad
    reputation, after all they are nothing new in technology. Over all I like
    them.

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