Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orient's Early Antimagnetic Watches

we will take a quick look at the early anti-magnetic watches that were
introduced by Orient in the late 1950s. But first, a little theoretical



there is a problem with watch mechanisms and magnets. When their ferrous
components get magnetized, they no longer move about freely as intended,
instead sticking to each other or themselves. In particular, this affects the
balance spring, making it oscillate more quickly – which results in the watch
running too fast.

are generally two approaches to solving this problem – you may either use non-ferrous
components, or shield the movement from magnetic fields.

the preferred approach in most cases is the first. Materials like Nivorox
(Nickel-Iron alloy) and similar were first put to use, improving magnetic
resistance sufficiently so that most watches in recent decades could satisfy
the anti-magnetic standard for watches, "ISO 764", namely to resist up
to 4,800 A/m (60 Gauss). Lately, more manufacturers turned to using Silicon
balance springs, achieving even better results.

you, 60 Gauss might not seem like much when you think of watches such as Rolex
Milgauss taking on 1,000 Gauss, but in fact a thousand Gauss is very much, way
more than most of us would ever encounter in our daily lives, and 60 is just

other option, to shield the movement, is basically about placing it inside a
"Faraday cage" – an inner casing made usually of soft iron, which is
easily magnetized (and de-magnetized). It essentially attracts the magnetic
field and prevents it from affecting the movement inside. This method is less
common today as it makes for a heavier, more complex construction; and, it
loses its effectiveness with any hole put through the cage, preventing such
features as a date window and other "complications". However, before
non-ferrous balance springs were available, this was the best way to achieve
high magnetic resistance.


Para Aimant

1958 Orient decided to launch an anti-magnetic watch of its own, which would be
the first among the Japanese watchmakers. Naturally, the brand did not have the resources to delve into new material research, and chose the "cage"

then, Orient had already introduced the modern N-Type
. However, it chose to build its antimagnetic model around the
older T-Type caliber, which was considerably smaller (23.30 vs. 25.50mm). This
way they could keep the size of the watch down, despite the added width of the

the following picture, you can see the main cage, next to the caseback. Not
visible in the photo is the metal disc which lies beneath the dial, which
closes the lid over the movement, with only two little holes left for
connecting the crown and the hands.

Orient chose to call this new model "Para Aimant". Now, Paramagnetic
is the proper term for the soft iron cage – which by the way isn't really soft,
it's just the term used to differentiate it from hard iron, which is harder to
de-magnetize. And "aimant" is French for magnet. But, paramagnetic in
French would be "paramagnétique"…

the cage did its job well enough. The watch was said to withstand 200 Gauss, more
than three times the requirement of ISO 764.

number of Para Aimant versions were made, with movement variations numbering
17, 19, and 21 jewels. These were probably priced in the range of 5,500 – 6,500
JPY, making them more expensive than most T-Type models, and very close to the
high-end Royal Orients.


Royal Super-Antimagnetic

its quirky semi-French nomenclature, there was another problem with the Para
Aimant: Citizen watch company was using the "para" prefix for its own
products. In 1956 Citizen released the "para shock", its first
shock-resistant watch; and 1959 saw the introduction of the "para
water", Citizen's first water-resistant model.

Apparently, Orient wanted to avoid the commercial conflict, and seeing that their antimagnetic
watch was already in the Royal Orient price bracket, the brand took a logical
step: the Para Aimant was set aside, and in its place came the Royal Super

time around, Orient used the N-Type movement, specifically its 17 jewel variant
(likely in order to keep the price down). Photos of the Royal Super
Antimagnetic do not reveal a separate cage like the Para Aimant, and Orient did
maintain the same diameter with the Royal Antimagnetic as other Royal models –
possibly, the case was built with the iron cage already part of it, making the
whole construction more compact.

to keep things at least a little quirky yet, in best Orient tradition, the
Royal Orient's caseback still read "Para Aimant".


that appear on this post were taken from various sale ads and the 1999 Orient
Watch Catalog book.