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Cyclos Day & Night Parity Review


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Initial post: Dec 25, 2010 2:48:22 PM PST
GRiM says:
Merry Christmas to all! I was apparently a sufficiently good boy that Santa brought me my midlife crisis present, the Cyclos Day & Night Parity. The price alone is crisis-inducing, and I figured it was worthy of its own thread and very long post.

So, as per my tradition, let's start with the box. Inside the white cardboard box is a box made of what looks like some sort of exotic, highly polished wood. Based on the joins and the less polished interior bits, it really does appear to be wood rather than some sort of synthetic material. It's pretty cool. It opens on fairly robust metal hinges and has a push-button locking mechanism. Inside is one of the typical little suede-like inserts with the watch on a cushion. (I've heard this material referred to as "synthetic mouse fur" in describing the interior of cars.) The insert can be removed, making the box usable for other purposes, which mine almost certainly will be once my wife gets her hands on it. The inside of the lid is padded and has Cyclos printed on it in silver lettering. Okay, that's a lot of description of the box, but I was enthusiastic about this watch, and it was expensive. So I'm going to get my money's worth out of rambling on about it. Bottom line: it's a very classy box.

In the box comes the paperwork, which consists of instructions in English and German, printed on a card. The instructions are quite short, unlike the usual 200 page booklet. Also included is the warranty card and the COSC certificate. Mean daily rate is +1.4 seconds, with mean variation of 0.4 seconds and maximum variation of 0.7 seconds... I'm impressed. Hopefully that translates to real world results. This movement is simply referred to as Watch Number 408, which I suspect means this is the 408th Cyclos movement produced. My dealer told me this was the most recent Cyclos to come off the assembly line, as it were, so when you consider Cyclos has been around for about 10 years, they aren't exactly selling like hotcakes. The intersection between people who think this watch is neat and those who are willing to pay for it appears to be a pretty small set.

Let's turn to the case. It is relatively large (certainly for my tastes) at 13 mm. However, it is only 39 mm in diameter, which is right about my preferred size. The lugs sort of come around and cradle the case, similar to Hamilton Jazzmaster style, and the case tapers in towards the bottom. This creates a kind of de facto crown guard. The crown is signed with the Cyclos symbol, which I can only describe as a kind of odd hollow circle that is thicker on one side, suggesting a crescent moon. The lugs, bezel and crown are polished, while the rest of the case is brushed. Water resistance is 50 meters, which I think is enough for a watch that will never go near a swimming pool. The case is quite nicely executed, but nothing exceptional.

The strap is charcoal gray alligator with a deployant clasp, again with the Cyclos logo. It is actually quite similar to the clasp on my wife's new Raymond Weil. Unlike my other deployant clasps, this one works by friction/pressure on the strap rather than holes in the strap with a peg, so the strap is infinitely adjustable. The result is that while the watch is rather thick (compared to my other watches), it wears extremely comfortably. Using the more durable alligator rather than conventional leather was a nice touch.

It's really not possible to discuss the dial without discussing the movement, so I'll try to deal with both at once. Cyclos' claim to fame is that it offers a 24-hour display on a 12-hour scale. It does that by using two eccentric hour rings, one inside the other, meeting at the 6 o'clock position. This figure is called Pascal's Spiral (hi, Pascal) and Cyclos posts the math behind it. How this works is difficult to explain. The hour hand is not attached to the center of the dial, but rather to a finger on a planetary gear system. The finger extends or retracts as the hour hand moves around the dial, so that it points to the outer circle during the daylight hours and the inner circle during the night hours. This mechanism is hard to visualize, but can be viewed here:

http://cyclos.ch/en/idea.html

(Click on the "see animation" link.)

On the model I have, the inner (nighttime) circle is printed in Superluminova, while the outer (daytime) circle is applied gold. There is a Superluminova crescent moon at the 12 o'clock (midnight) position and a gold sun at the 12 o'clock (noon) position. I find this very clever. The lume is roughly comparable to my Omega Seamaster - nowhere near as good as my Baume & Mercier 8779.

The hands are blued steel, roughly sword-shaped. The hour hand is more of an arrow-head shape because it is not attached to the center of the dial. Both hands have good lume, but it is noticeably better on the minute hand than the hour hand - it seems to have been applied better there. The second hand has some nice contouring and is not lumed. The hour hand lines up perfectly with the indices on the appropriate ring, depending on whether it's in the day or night cycle. The minute hand hits the center of the minute indices.

The degree of detail on the dial is impressive. I don't think I've seen another watch with so much intricacy. Each circle (inner and outer) is marked in the appropriate material (Superluminova or gold) with circular indices of the same material. At the outside of the dial, the minute track has gold indices. At the hour markers those indices are quite substantial. At the minute markers they are literally as thin as a hair, but show contouring under loupe examination. There is also a black-and-gray ray pattern between the inner and outer hour rings, which I think is meant to evoke the "day/night parity" concept. Again, a lot of work went into this dial. However, under loupe examination there are some small printing errors (for example, some of the printed rays extend very slightly farther than they should) that are not visible to the naked eye. I don't know if this dial was done by CAD/CAM or someone with a very steady hand... in any case, the artistry is such that I would rate it as a "10" even with the slight flaws.

The back of the watch has a standard display through which the chronometer-grade ETA 2892 movement is visible (the planetary gear system is not visible except on the Cyclos "Transparent" models, which I find illegible). It is a standard but well decorated movement with perlage, cotes de Geneve, blued screws, and the Cyclos name engraved in gold on the rotor. The serial number of the watch (408) is engraved in gold on the movement, which I thought was a nice touch.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the watch. It "speaks" to me both technically and aesthetically, which is good, because nothing that costs that much is ever going to have the chance to talk to me again. I did a quick time check just now, and it is accurate to the second so far - of course, it's been running less than twelve hours at this point.

My oldest son has an interest in math and astronomy, and if the Cyclos appeals to him he will get it when he graduates from college. Until then... New toy! *grin*

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2010 3:53:22 PM PST
Josie says:
GRiM - What a beautiful watch! The Pascal spiral is really cool! Wear it happily and proudly!!

Posted on Dec 25, 2010 4:04:55 PM PST
Pascal says:
What a surreal description GRiM, I was there with you.
I even went down my own spiral in slow motion ...
Oh! the joy!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2010 5:53:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 25, 2010 9:39:42 PM PST
L. Popoff says:
You missed giving the box a urine test, GRiM (lol). By the time your boy graduates from college he may want a man's watch, bud (lol).

Another terrific review, my friend. Happy for you. I evidently wasn't quite as nice as you --- I'm getting the Tao 131BD. One thing I know for sure about it is that the gators are breathing easier.

That accuracy is impressive, even if it gains/loses a second or two from what is stated you have a real timekeeper.

Monday I will be on the road to Medford's airport. Leslie is going to spend five days with our oldest boy and his family in Vegas. This will also give me a chance to stock up on Costco cookies.

Glad that you have that watch on your wrist, bud. At 39mm I was surprised to hear that it sported something other than Roy Rogers on the dial (couldn't resist that, lol). Take care, and I sincerly am pleased for you. LP

Posted on Dec 25, 2010 8:24:07 PM PST
GRiM, congratulations on the Cyclos. It's beautiful.

Posted on Dec 25, 2010 10:22:04 PM PST
3 says:
With a movement that impressive, I would have purchased the transparent model---that is, if I wanted to pay that much for an obscure brand such as Cyclos. I doubt you will ever run into another person with any similar, let alone a Cyclos. Truly a unique and beautiful timepiece. Congrats!
Speaking about exclusivity, ever since I purchased my PAM 212 a few months ago, I've met 2 others with the same exact watch. Rather than feeling excited like the other guy---a sense of community I guess---I felt slightly disappointed [I like things that few or no others have]. Nonetheless, it still is a great watch.

Posted on Dec 25, 2010 11:31:56 PM PST
Congratulations, GRiM!

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 4:13:33 AM PST
X says:
GRiM: That has made my Christmas a lot less grim. Thank you for sharing with us.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2010 10:14:49 AM PST
Congratulations, GRiM! My wish is that it brings you years of joy!

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 10:43:27 AM PST
GRiM says:
Thanks to everyone (even LP, chuckle) for the well wishes.

3, being able to see the movement on the Transparent model is a plus, but I just don't like how the dial looks. I find the regular Day & Night models, especially the Parity, do a great job of being visually complex while still readable. I find the Transparent model both less interesting and less readable. One thing I didn't mention in my gigantic review is how 3-dimensional the dial is. Because the planetary gear system has to be raised above the dial surface, they made a virtue of necessity and raised the outer chapter ring to a similar level. So the watch has two basic levels of dial surface, each with applied markers adding still more texture. The crystal certainly seems to have some sort of antireflective coating, so it's all very visible.

And yes, this is definitely not a watch that I'm likely to see on someone else's wrist, unless I happen to run into one of the other 407 owners...

Congrats as well to all our other new Christmas watch (and watch-shaped cufflink) owners. LP, glad to see you took the plunge on the Tao. Can we get a review from one of the Precisionist owners?

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 11:48:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2010 11:50:30 AM PST
GRiM says:
I'll throw in a mini-review of my wife's two new watches.

1. Raymond Weil Spirit. This is nominally a women's watch, which is borne out by the MOP dial and diamonds on the bezel. It is, however, quite large. It is 40mm in diameter, about 10mm thick, and *really* heavy. LP would approve. The MOP is light blue and more textured than most MOP. It has blue printed numerals (3, 6 and 9) and blue indices, and a big date (two separate digits) at the 12 o'clock position. It is water resistant to 200 meters but does not have a rotating bezel (which makes sense, because it has diamonds rather than indices at the hour positions on the bezel). It does a pretty good job of navigating the line between a feminine watch and a "tool watch." The hands are baton-style and lumed. It came on a very substantial steel bracelet (brushed inner links, polished outer) and also included a white rubber strap with deployant clasp. Not bad for $500. RW supplied a perfectly nice box, but nothing that merits a paragraph of description or a urine test. ;-)

Gripes: Like my wife's TAG Aquaracer, the second hand doesn't line up properly with the indices. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if Seiko can get this right on a $100 watch, why can't TAG and RW figure it out? Also, the bracelet is nicely equipped with screw bars to resize the links, but the screws are smaller than the standard size so my screwdriver doesn't fit them. Finally, the pin that secures the bracelet seems to be solid, rather than using screws or spring bars. I don't have a tool that is effective for removing it. If anyone has suggestions on that last point, I would welcome them - this may be a failure of imagination/reasoning on my part.

2. Chrysos (no model name). This is a house brand that was made for the Bailey Banks & Biddle jewelery store. I read in one post that it was apparently OEM'ed by Baume & Mercier - I have no idea if that's true (the watch says nothing on the subject). It is a dress watch, made in the 1990s, and at the time was a small men's size - about 32 mm. At this point it's perfect for my wife. It features a gold bezel, black-tipped gold hands, and roman numerals. It is very thin and elegant, with the downside of limited water resistance (30m). For some reason my wife likes it much better than her nearly identical Raymond Weil Tradition. At $150 for a Swiss movement, sapphire crystal, and 18k gold bezel, it was a good deal (especially since the RW cost three times as much). FYI, Inventory Adjusters seems to have a couple of other Chrysos watches lying around.

Also, my wife seems to have a basically unused Raymond Weil Tradition available for sale if anyone is interested. It is this model:

Raymond Weil Tradition Men's Watch # 5514-P-00301

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 6:18:04 PM PST
GRiM says:
I think I'm talking to myself on this thread at this point. Oh, well, at least I'm listening.

36-hour update on the Cyclos: accurate to the second.

New Brookstone quad watch winder now installed. Review when it's had a while to do its work. My noisy but serviceable Amazon no-name winder has been at least temporarily exiled to the closet.

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 6:30:18 PM PST
John Bonavia says:
GRiM: it's just that your reviews are so complete there's not much else to say!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2010 7:27:03 PM PST
I, for one, am living vicariously through you, GRiM. Your Cyclos looks like a fine watch. So, your posts are probably being read more than you will know! Please, keep it up!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2010 9:16:10 PM PST
L. Popoff says:
GRiM, please. Someone in the family has got to wear a watch that Tarzan would wear if Tarzan would wear watches. I'm praying for you, bud. LP

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 12:25:01 AM PST
3 says:
Grim, I see what you mean. The transparent dial does take away the contrasting details, when compared to the Parity model, upon closer observation of the online pictures. Pictures...I wish you would post some! The animations/drawings of the Cyclos timepieces within their site are disappointing to say the least. I expect the actual beauty of the watch surpasses my imagination and your extensive descriptions.

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 8:39:35 PM PST
GRiM says:
24-hour update on the Brookstone winder, which is this model:

Quad Watch Winder

It appears to be made of a black lacquered wood and seems to be solidly constructed. It sits at an angle, which displays the watches nicely if the winder sits around or slightly below eye level. It has four heads, each powered by a separate motor.

Each head can be set to rotate clockwise, counter-clockwise, or alternating. Each head also has a set of DIP switches that allow the rotation rate to be set between 650 and 3600 turns per day, with 16 possible settings (48 total options, multiplying rotation rate by direction of rotation). The winder works on AC power only.

Unlike other winders I've had, this winder rotates the head once and then rests. (My other winders, aside from the Orbita Sparta which uses a completely different mechanism, rotate constantly for an interval then rest for an interval.) I assume this mechanism is intended to more closely simulate actual wear. The winder is almost completely silent in operation, at least after one day of use. (I can hear a slight whirring if I put my head within a few inches of it but not otherwise.)

Initial results for watches after 24 hours on this winder:
- The Cyclos lost 1 second;
- The Sewills lost 3 seconds;
- The Gevril gained 9 seconds;
- The Sea-Gull gained 35 seconds.

So all of the results are pretty good, although not quite as good as on the wrist, except for the Sea-Gull which only seems to be happy on my no-name winder that has been retired to the closet. I can live with that.

Obviously I can't comment yet on long-term performance, but so far based on construction, features and performance, I'm calling this an excellent deal for a four-head winder at $200.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 7:56:30 AM PST
Matt Sprague says:
Congrats GRiM, as you know I love the Cyclos and hi everyone :), I have been really busy. Merry Christmas

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2010 10:06:25 AM PST
L. Popoff says:
Matt, good to have back. Hope that wall is going well. LP

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 1:16:18 PM PST
John Bonavia says:
GRiM- I am thinking of a winder also. I have a single which I hardly use as it's hard to get the little Seiko to wind on it - the position of the watch on the cushion is very sensitive. But if I am really thinking of full use for the automatics, I would need a six watch winder: there are some around that price point, but who knows if they are reliable?

http://www.belocia.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=WIN6H7CHR#
Burgundy Wood Finish 6 Watch Winder With 7 Additional Watch Storage Spaces, 3 Turntable With 4 Program Settings.
Diplomat 31-416 Cherry Wood Six Watch Winder with Off-White Leather Interior

I didn't see a Brookstone 6-watch model. Will be glad to hear of any other recommendations/experiences with winders in this range.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 2:08:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2010 5:42:30 PM PST
GRiM says:
John, I think Belocia and Diplomat are OEMed by the same company, which also did my no-name winder. Based on my experience it works, if a bit loudly. For some reason, however, my cheap watches keep better time on it than my expensive watches.

I have read that winders that put more than one watch on each winder head are prone to becoming unbalanced and eventually grinding to a halt, which is not inconsistent with the noise that mine produced. I would tentatively recommend instead getting the four-head Brookstone plus a two-head Brookstone, even though that will be more expensive (or plan for the future and get two four-head Brookstones). I should have also mentioned that the cushions on the Brookstone are similar to the ones on the Orbita, which hold the watch more comfortably than the Diplomat/Belocia models. The Diplomat/Belocia cushions don't compress, meaning that a watch on a bracelet will either fit them too loosely or too tightly, unless your wrist happens to be the same size as the cushion.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 3:31:08 PM PST
GRiM:
As usual a well thought out and well written review. I appreciate the detail, but then, there are those who say I'm not quite "right", so take that with a grain of salt..... :-)

My wife gave me a dual head Joma Shop Winder. I had bought two of them for gifts to my clients eariler this year. I was impressed at the build and noise level when I "tested" one before delivery. I will say this, if experience is a teacher, most winders get noisier with use, so a stone quiet winder when new might be called noisy on the first anniversary of it's arrival. It's the one that stays quiet that is the star. I still want the Orbita Sparta, but...maybe next year. I still have a Steinhart watch coming, hopefully within a few weeks, so my "Christmas" isn't over yet.

Steve

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 5:18:15 PM PST
John Bonavia says:
GRiM, thanks for the information on winders. I've also read up some more and indeed the Brookstone does seem to be a superior product. I may start by putting my four best automatics on the quad and then I'll see....There's a Brookstone on my way to work - will be going in on Thursday, perhaps they will have one in stock (they currently offer free shipping on the Net, but I'm kind of an impatient shopper!)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 4:18:34 PM PST
Weef says:
GRiM, I am now just reading your Cyclos review. GREAT review and stunningly beautiful watch. This is a "dream" watch if I ever saw one! You certainly have fine taste! This is one watch worth having a midlife crisis! How much longer before your oldest son graduates from college? If he is as much of a watch nut as you are, I am sure he will be angling for the watch waaaay before his graduation. My mother said I could have her Omega Constellation after she passed away. That was in 1995. I bugged her and bugged her and got the watch in 2001. She said it was a "present" for the birth of my daughter in 2000, but really it was just to shut me up! Good thing because it is now 10 years later and my mother is alive and well in the year 2011! Happy New Year, GRiM! Please keep posting all your great reviews and sage advice to us all (no matter what LP says! Ha!)

Posted on Jan 2, 2011 4:33:20 PM PST
GRiM says:
Thanks, Weef. I had previously posted a link to the only automatic that my wife liked enough to remember it (we saw it at the same dealer from whom I bought the Cyclos). In case you didn't see it, here it is:

http://www.nhc-company.com/flora.htm

The unique element is the jumping hour, which takes the form of a rose at the appropriate hour position (a different color for each hour). I suppose over time you learn to tell time by the color... "Oh, it's red o'clock."
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