Some time ago, Adam sent me pictures of a prototype watch. I must admit that I was surprised by the structure of the dial and the shape of the hands. The shape of the case was less surprising, as it was taken from the Mistral model. Looking at the photos and close-ups, I could not find a comparison to other watches in my head, because no one had used such hand shapes before, and it is the most characteristic point of this model.
Xicorr Spark, as it will be discussed in the review, is the company’s first project that does not refer to automotive, but aviation. The genesis of the name and the entire project should be sought in Mielec, and more precisely in the aviation plant, where from the 1960s a training and combat aircraft called PZL TS-11 Iskra was created. In order to clarify the historical and technical facts for you, I will use the description on the manufacturer’s website: “The Xicorr Spark is our first aviation-inspired watch.
spark… iskra… TS-11 Iskra…
The PZL TS-11 Iskra is a modern Polish training and combat aircraft. The prototype flight took place in 1960. Serial production continued in 1963-1987, ending with the production of 424 copies of this aircraft. The propulsion (since 1969) is provided by a single WSK SO-3 jet engine. The plane’s top speed is 720 km / h, and the maximum range is 1,250 kilometers. The deck armament is a single 23mm NS-23 or NR-23 cannon.
Along with the wide introduction of jet aircraft to Polish aviation, it was necessary to construct an adequate training aircraft. The WSK “PZL Mielec” plant was responsible for its development and production, and its main designer was Tadeusz Sołtyk. The new aircraft turned out to be a successful design with good performance, relatively low reliability and low operating costs. Many variants of this aircraft were created in the course of serial production. The first mass-produced version was the Iskra bis-A, still powered by the SO-1 engine. Soon after, the Iskra bis-B version appeared, which was already a training and combat model with the possibility of taking overhead weapons. The Iskra R version, i.e. the naval reconnaissance version, or the Iskra bis D – training and combat version, also entered service. There was also a civilian version without weapons called Iskra Jet. The military users of TS-11 Iskra aircraft were Poland and India. In the civil version, the planes went to, among others, the USA or Great Britain.
The watch was directly inspired by the direction indicator, one of the basic on-board clocks. We were inspired by the layout of this instrument and the method of its indications. Of course, Xicorr spark is our interpretation of this clock. ” How did Xicorr handle the first aviation-inspired watch? You will find out about it by reading my review.
We get the watch in a small box whose outer material imitates leather. The box is slippery to the touch, logged – and which can be a nice detail – was entirely made in Poland, as indicated by the inscription. Inside the package, there is a watch on a leather strap, a second fabric strap with leather lining and a tool for changing them.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the case is the same as in Mistral. The case was made entirely of 316L surgical steel, and its width without the crown was designed at 44mm, which makes the watch quite large. In addition, the lugs, the length of which is 52 mm, make the watch suitable for fans of larger watches. What surprised me on the plus side was the height of the watch being only 11.7mm. This value and downwardly profiled lugs make the watch very comfortable to wear, while the vertically cut sides make the case seem much thicker (this is only an illusion).
At 3:30 a.m. there is a screwed crown, which has a slightly conical shape, which makes it very handy. Placing the crown at 3:30 also makes it easier to handle. Thanks to this arrangement, the fingers are placed on it more naturally and you can boldly change the date and time with the watch on your wrist. The outer, logged side of the crown has the Xicorr logo filled with lume. The crown refers to the shape of the indices on the dial and the turbine of the jet engine. Let me remind you that in the previous review of this manufacturer’s watch – Xicorr Mistral – I described the comfort of working with the crown as the best among all the watches I have dealt with. Spark has beaten Mistral in this respect and I can boldly say that he now holds the winner’s laurel in the convenience of time setting.
The case is completely brushed; the sides are cut vertically, while the bezel is finished with a circular cut. The quality of the cuts is very good.
The whole thing from the bottom is closed with a caseback, on the surface of which there is a laser-engraved sketch showing the fighter pilot and information of the glass used, water resistance, country of origin and material from which the case was made and the serial number.
My first thought – when I saw the prototype – was that it has cool hands, a great dial structure and convex indexes that stand out and bring contrast to the porous surface of the rest. I searched for a word for a long time to describe it as one. And I found it! COMIC BOOK! The dial is comic. You look at it and you see the watch from the drawing in the comic. It is influenced by the hands, which were inspired by the Iskra direction indicator, and which you will not see in any other watch. They seem exaggerated, especially the hour hand, which we may associate with a rocket. Despite their width, there is no problem with reading the time indication.
The minute hand is proportionally narrower and longer. Both hands are black, which makes the contrast on the bright dial really high. A nice touch on the eye is the second hand, which has been colored red for a change. Its tip is long, and the manufacturer placed a spark symbol on its other end to counterbalance it. The hour and minute hands are filled with a green luminescent substance, and the second hand glows blue.
Around the proper dial there is a black chapter ring with the minute scale. By contrast with the proper dial , it slightly reduces the size of the watch in a subjective sense, and it corresponds very nicely with the black hands. According to the manufacturer, the dial is sand colored. In my opinion, this is the correct term, although in stronger light it shimmers as if it were gold in color.
I chose this color because I liked it in the photos. Live, however, makes an even better impression. This is largely due to the rough structure of the dial, as well as the convex indices that grow out of the dial like the GDP bars on government television. The rims of these indices are black, which seems to be a reasonable move, taking into account the light shade of the dial and the luminescent mass with which these indices are filled. Between the hourly indices there are seconds indices printed, which are best visible after exposure, because they are made of a luminescent mass. The luma on the hands and indices glows intensively after exposure to it, but loses its power quite quickly, although I must admit that the dim light lasts quite a long time.
At 3:30 a.m. there is a date window with black numbers printed on a white background indicating the day of the month. At 12 o’clock there is the SPARK logo, and at 6 o’clock, the manufacturer placed his logo, along with information about the type of movement used. Between 6 and 7 o’clock there is the inscription Made in Poland. The whole thing is closed with flat sapphire glass covered with strong anti-reflection. In many ways, the watch looks as if it was glassless. This is probably due to the aforementioned anti-reflective layer and the structure of the dial, which, despite its light shade, absorbs the light falling on it.
Inside the watch is the well-known and liked – especially by independent producers – Seiko NH35. I will not elaborate on its characteristics here, because we have described it several times while reviewing other watches. I will only add that in this case the mechanism was well adjusted and its time deviation does not exceed 7 seconds a day.
We get two straps in the set. The leather strap comes from the Pattini company, which we have already written about in our blog. Even though I am a supporter of bracelets, after putting the watch on my wrist I smiled and quietly muttered “ah Pattini …” This is because I felt an unusual softness on my wrist, despite the thickness of the strap. To emphasize the aviation DNA of the watch, the strap was also made in a way that has been a hallmark of aviators’ watches since the 1940s, namely it has two rivets close to the lugs. There is a delicate engraving with the Xicorr logo on the buckle. The logo can also be found on one of the two loops. The whole thing is sewn with a thread of a color similar to the shade of the dial.
The second strap is a fabric strap lined with leather and was produced by the Morellato company. The strap is waterproof. It is stiffer than its replacement, and it narrows quite dynamically from 22mm at the lugs to 18mm at the clasp, which optically affects the perception of the size of the case – it seems larger. The webbing structure gives it an even more military style. For now, after trying on, I will stay with a soft and comfortable leather strap. Both straps are of very good quality and will serve you for a long time.
Spark is definitely not a universal watch. I am sure that it will appeal to people who are positively crazy, who appreciate original, crazy design. I must admit that the first aviation-style Xicorr watch positively surprised me.
It is not clichéd like the models inspired by the B-Uhr aviation watches.
The dials are colorful, so everyone will find something for themselves. Xicorr showed how from the case of another model – Mistral – you can make a completely different watch. The limitation for people with weak wrists may be its size, although if we take into account the nature of the watch – referring to aviation – then this size easily fits within a safe framework. The watch costs PLN 1599, which seems to be a reasonable price for a watch with an automatic movement, sapphire glass, two high-quality straps and most importantly – with an extraordinary appearance.