The Wild New Behrens Orion One

Behrens 2012 is one of the most exciting young brands working in the ever growing affordable avant-garde space. Based in China, Behrens has developed a cult following as of late, riding primarily on the strength of the impressive “Ultralight,” a futuristic design that is typical of their house aesthetic, weighing in just 20 grams. Given the Ultralight’s impressive specs and unique design, the $7,600 price tag feels almost like a bargain, but a look through the Behrens catalog reveals that they have a number of gems at prices that are truly affordable. Their latest watch, the Orion One Automatic, is a little more approachable in terms of price point, but is perhaps the brand’s most outlandish design yet. It’s yet another example of a watchmaking aesthetic that was previously reserved for six figure timepieces working its way down into the affordable segment. 

The case of the Orion One recalls something between a spaceship and what you’d see under the hood of a modern supercar. It’s the kind of thing that barely resembles a watch, at first, but reveals its form and complexity as you observe it. The first thing you notice is likely the array of gears under the sapphire crystal window at the top of the case, where you’d normally find a dial. Here, the only time telling function is a running seconds hand at the center. 

Time is read through a “twin roller” time display system at the 6:00 position. It’s fairly intuitive, but in a position that you’re likely not accustomed to looking toward when checking the time. The display also includes a date display at the 1:30 position as well as a linear day/night indicator at 12:00. 


It’s a highly unusual time telling system, with each time telling element disengaged from the other and decentralized from the area of the watch your eye normally wanders to to tell the time. This is accomplished through the use of a highly modified Sellita movement, SWB18-200. 

The complexity of the case really shouldn’t be undersold here. It’s stainless steel, and features over 40 facets with varying styles of finishing. And while the shape is like nothing we’ve seen before, it would appear based on the stated dimensions from Behrens that it will be at least somewhat wearable. It measures 44mm long, 38mm wide, and is 12.6mm tall, which sounds vaguely midsized if we were to extrapolate those dimensions to a circular watch case.

The Orion One has a retail price of $3,600. For something this creative and avant-garde, that feels like a very fair and approachable price point, and will surely allow many collectors who are fascinated by watches from Urwerk, MB&F, and other ultra contemporary indies an opportunity to get a small taste of that type of modern design without paying a five (or six) figure retail price. Watches like this are also a great reminder of what can be accomplished with an ordinary movement with a little (or a lot) of creativity and ingenuity. Behrens 2012

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.