Xeric Cypher Automatic

Xeric has never been a conservative watch brand. Right off the bat, their designs have been big, brash, and wildly unconventional. While it has been fun to watch them push the limits with watches like the asymmetric Soloscope and the upside-down movement of the Inverter, I had a hard time envisioning their watches on my wrist. At least, not until I saw the Cypher, a watch that marries Xeric’s avant-garde aesthetic and whimsical detailing with a sensibly sized and beautifully rendered case. They let me take this Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green Limited Edition for a spin and I came away duly impressed.

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green

The Cypher’s stainless steel case is 42mm wide, 46.5mm long, and 13mm thick from the flat sapphire crystal up top, to its flat sapphire exhibition case back below. Water-resistance is 50m, which is fine for most daily wear but shy of what you might want for serious outdoor activities. This is just as well, because the Cypher is too fancy for a tool watch, although its size and frankly funky dial place it far from what I’d call a dress watch. Instead, I’d put in the elusive “smart casual” class.

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green wrist

Before I get to the dial, I need to show some love to the Cypher’s case. It may not be the most eye-catching element of the watch, but it is a lovely, well-thought design in its own right. Viewed in profile, the barrel of the case appears as a polished bowl bisected by a trim, vertically brushed edge arcing from one slim lug to the other. The top is brushed north-south and accented with a polished bevel that continues right through the lugs’ clipped ends and is repeated inside their bombĂ© twist. A gunmetal bezel is polished on top while its edge shows the same short stroke brushing as the case sides. Finally, the case back is gunmetal finished as well, but with sunray brushing. Nothing was ignored. The result is slim and elegant. 

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green side

Xeric employs two different sandwich-style dial dials and two hands to display the time on the Cypher. The hands are broad, flat, filled with green Tritium, and positioned below the dial, so they show through the open sections in the dials above. The outermost ring is silver on this watch, with hours and minute markers cut through. The second dial is a gunmetal color and position slightly higher. It shows the minutes, but in a manner opposite that of the hours, with its material cut away from the numbers, leaving a nearly skeletonized disk that allows a glimpse of the movement within as well as the broad, wedge-shaped minute hand. This disk has its own perforated minute track and half a ring that reveals a small black seconds disc below it - also meticulously cut away - and marked by a green triangle indicator at its peak. There is no text save for the Xeric logo and brand name at the very center.

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green

Remarkably, there is nothing unduly fussy about Cypher’s face. Under normal lighting conditions, there is sufficient contrast to see every marker and the lurid green hands are plainly visible. Granted, the seconds disk with its tiny cutaway markers is not nearly as obvious as a conventionally sweeping hand, but it does the trick. That said, at-a-glance accuracy does suffer a bit. You can get a bead on the seconds if you pay attention, and the hour is plain enough, but the minute hand is about five minutes wide. This makes for a good display as it passes under the dark numbers, but it makes reading the precise minute a bit of a guesstimate. While the perforated minute tracks look cool, they don’t have any indicators, which limits their utility. 

As cool as the dial may look in the day, the real fun comes at night when the perpetual glow of the Tritium hands and the blue-white layer of SuperLuminova under the hour and seconds markers burst to life. It is crazy, glorious lume. 

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green lume

Xeric took the cutaway theme and ran with it, employing it on the fabulously lacy crown as well as the web-like rotor of the Miyota 82S0 Automatic within. The 21 jewel, 21.6k bph, 8200 series movements don’t get the watch community’s love like the 9100 series does, but for this configuration, it makes more sense. The 82S0 is an open heart, allowing that peek inside under the small skeleton dial, and the 9100’s smoother beat rate would be lost on a seconds disk. 

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green case back

It is nice to see a brand pull out all the stops when choosing a watch band. Xeric selected medium brown Horween leather for this 20mm strap and it is perfect. It is neatly finished, displays a pronounced pull-up effect when bent, and secures with a sculpted and signed buckle. If you really want to swap straps, quick release pins make it easy. 

Xeric Cypher Automatic Tritium Silver Green strap

The Cypher is a dazzling conversation piece patch that is still quite wearable and loaded with clever details. Xeric is taking preorders now for August delivery. The price is $500, but code CYPHERVIP drops it to a much more attractive $325. For more information or to place an order, visit Xeric.com. ⬩

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