Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

The Orient Olympia Calendar Swimmer

The watch we're looking at today is not of any particular importance in
Orient's history. It does not represent some unique milestone of mechanical
achievements, and it is not listed as one of the brand's hallmark models, the
sort that Orient's current designers look up to when seeking inspiration or
searching for the subject of a re-issue project.

It is an utterly lovely piece in my opinion, though, which is why it
ended up in my collection. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the Orient
Olympia Calendar Swimmer.

First, let's explain some of the terminology that makes up the name of
this model.

Olympia was a name introduced by Orient in the early 1960s,
perhaps inspired by the upcoming 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. It was applied to
a fairly large range of watches, as a middle tier in terms of price and quality
below Royal Orient and legends like the Grand Prix 100, and above more basic

The Calendar term was added to identify models featuring the then-new
date feature, which was also introduced to Orient watches in the early 1960s.

The Swimmer label was given to watches dubbed as "waterproof",
prior to the introduction of proper dive watches. The standards for water resistance
were not fully established at the time and related terminology still fairly
obscure. However as some of Orient's early divers that emerged in the 1960s
were marked 40m, a "swimmer" would likely be rated at 30m, or 3 ATM
at best. Less of a "near-diver" then, and more "dress watch you
don't need to take off when washing your hands".

The Olympia Calendar Swimmer came in different shapes during the 1960s.
This specific specimen has a number of recognizable characteristics that I

The case is type I-19868, featuring a "case within case"
design. The overall dimensions are 36.5 mm width without the crown, and 42mm
length lug-to-lug. A similar, slightly larger case type was also being produced
but I find this 36.5mm version perfect: the unique construction really makes it
look larger.

The dial has a gently brushed texture and a unique warm shade – I'm not
100% sure of its composition, but it could be brass. I feel like the unique
punched-in minute markers and protruding hour markers add lots of character to
it. And I definitely love the crosshair mark!

The movement inside is an LC-type manual winding caliber, featuring 19
jewels. L-type (including LC, LCY) movements replaced the T-type and are generally considered good
and reliable, which can serve the watch owner for many years before requiring
service. This one here was running too fast when I got it, but my local
watchmaker had no trouble fixing it and regulating it to keep good time, in 55
+/- year old watch terms, within 20-30 seconds a day.

On the wrist, this Olympia is a joy to wear. I have no difficulties
pulling it off as a decently-sized dress watch, despite being used to much
larger watches. Its unique shape does draw attention even from people just
mildly enthusiastic about watches (I say this from experience…)

Asking price for this sort of watch would typically be in the range of
250-400 USD, depending on its condition and seller's whim. I find this reasonable
for a perfectly wearable, good looking vintage piece.

Keep in mind the Olympia range is quite broad, so don't be surprised if
you see different Olympias, like the Grand Prix or Diver, listed at much higher