Caliper Slide View

Caliper Timepieces has returned to Kickstarter with the Slide View, an automatic watch with a slide rule bezel. It is by no means the first watch to incorporate this function, but it is among the few that feature it so prominently. The movable internal bezel dominates and defines the watch, and I have to say, it is pretty cool. For this review, Caliper let me borrow their black and silver prototype.

Caliper Timepieces Slide View D1B automatic watch
The Slide View is 43mm wide, 50mm long, and 13mm thick. These are good proportions for a modern tool watch and not at all out of place, even on my 6.5" wrist. Two models are offered: the A10 black bezel with orange accents and the D1B with a silver bezel with blue accents reviewed here. Both have black IP coating over a brushed surface, sapphire crystals, and are water resistant to 100m. The dual crowns are different sizes. The smaller one at 2 o'clock sets the time while the larger one at 4 o'clock sets the internal bezel. They are knurled but unsigned. It is a sober, functional look that is right in line for a watch based on a scientific tool. The only thing you might call whimsical is the pop of color on the stem of the lower crown. You only see when you pull it out to turn the bezel, but it's a nice touch that lightens the mood.

I was born about a decade too late for the slide rule. By the time I was in school, the electronic calculator had already put the final nail in that particular coffin, so my first experience with the device was only just a couple of years ago when I bought a Citizen Nighthawk, and like many watch nerds, I had no idea what to do with it. A slide rule is an analog calculator with two logarithmic scales that the user aligns for multiplication or division. For example, to multiply 35 x 4, align 3.5 on the outer ring with 1 on the inner ring. The scales are now aligned at 35:1 so if you look at where they meet at 4 on the on the inner ring, you will have your answer on the outer ring, in this case, after adjusting the decimal, 140. Is it essential, particularly in a world where we all have powerful computers in our pockets? No, but frankly, neither is your watch. It is, however, a pretty cool function to have on hand.

Caliper Timepieces Slide View D1B automatic watch

As an added bonus, the watch ships with a separate 8cm circular slide rule. This is a mighty piece of steel, over 4mm thick with engraved and painted indices. It is an impressive addition to the package and will be a hell of a conversation starter on your desk.

Many watches like the Breitling Navitimer or my own Nighthawk keep the slide rule bezel on the fringes, there if you need it but not the main attraction. Not so for the Caliper. Its scales dominate the watch, occupying a broad swath of real estate around a comparatively small and simple dial, more in the style of the old Breitling Chronomat or Heuer Calculator. The dial is smoky translucent glass with lumed markers, pencil hands, and bright blue second hand. Lume quality is serviceable on the hands, but weak on the markers, possibly as a result of the translucent surface.

Caliper Timepieces Slide View D1B automatic watch lume

Under the right light, you can barely make out the ghostly shapes of the mechanical movement beneath. I believe they were going for a more subtle effect than the usual skeleton dial, but the effect is so slight I have to wonder why they bothered. Being that I am no great fan of skeleton dials, I would have much preferred if it were a solid black. It is also a sterile dial, devoid of branding and text. Given the way I have complained about watches with oversize logos or superfluous text, you might expect me to applaud this, but I feel like this was a missed opportunity for Caliper to establish its brand, particularly since the lightweight, lower case, Caliper logotype is so attractive. It makes an appearance on the clasp, but it would have been a nice addition to the dial as well. Overall, I feel the dial is the weakest aspect of the watch. While it is perfectly legible and not at all unattractive, I do believe it has room for improvement.

A display case back shows the Miyota 82S0, and automatic with 21 jewels, a 21.6k bph vibration rate, and a 42-hour power reserve. It is decorated and skeletonized so it can be shown off under clear or open heart dial, but as mentioned above, that isn't the case here. It makes me wonder of a garden variety 8215 would have done the trick and saved a few dollars in the process.

Caliper Timepieces Slide View D1B automatic watch case backBoth versions of the Slide View come on a 22mm Milanese mesh strap with a signed, locking clasp. It is an excellent choice for the watch, fitting its precision mechanical instrument theme. I appreciated how easy it was to get a perfect fit with no extra tail exposed.

Caliper Timepieces Slide View D1B automatic watch mesh strap

I enjoyed my week with the Caliper. It is not perfect, but I loved the contrast of the fat silver bezel and the little touches of blue against that businesslike black case. The slide rule may seem like an archaic curiosity but it wasn't a staple of the science world for nothing. It works. Indeed, it may very well be one of the more useful features you can have on a watch. The Slide View will retail for about $625 CAD ($500 USD), but you can still get in on the early orders for $435 CAD ($338 USD). For more information or to place an order, see the Caliper Slide View Kickstarter page.

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