From the Orient

Always had a liking for the orient Watch Company ever since I first spotted it many years ago in Singapore.  It seemed to me at that time to produce models that were excellent as regards reliability and quality, especially considering these were mechanical, not quartz.

Orient Star SEL050001S dress watch

Orient Star SEL050001S dress watch

Of course they make both, but for me it’s the mechanical movements with their excellence/cost ratio that’s always impressed.   However I would comment – for me at any rate, I always feel that their models have that slightly old style Japanese look – I don’t mean this in a derogatory way in the lightest, but in your hand, to my mind they don’t have that sleek universal Seiko “perfection” look about them.   I hasten to add that this in no way detracts from the value for money of the watches at all – it’s more about my personal view on the styling and it also doesn’t apply to all models.   The second model for example is about as universal/modern as you can get and is mechanical value personified!

The first one however is the elegant Orient Star Classic SEL05001S dress watch.
Gold tone stainless steel cased with a domed mineral crystal is a neat 38,5mm diameter.  Dauphine style hands, a Date aperture @3 and a Power Reserve indicator @12.   Typically Orient in that this model features an in-house automatic mechanical hacking movement, this is the Japan made Cal 40N52 and features an exhibition back so the movement is visible.

A brown leather Crocodile style strap compliments the case nicely.

The watch company was actually conceived way back in 1901, but known more since 1950 as a Tokyo based maker.  A subsidiary of Seiko from 2001 and Seiko Epson in 2009 it’s one of the few watch makers with totally in-house mechanical movements.  Within the company there are actually three brands, Orient, Orient Star and the Japan domestic range of Royal Orient.

Orient Elite FET0H001B0 100m Screw down

Orient Elite FET0H001B0
100m Screw down

This model shows the diversity of the company and this is the Orient Elite FET0H001B0 which features a Day and Date Cal 46B40 Japan mechanical movement.   It is 42mm x 11.65mm stainless steel cased, 100m Water Resistance, screw down crown, Sapphire crystal with a black carbon fiber figured dial.

I particularly like the Day sub-dial feature and the smaller 24hr dial.   The date window is @6, broad hour and minute hands with a center sweep seconds hand and all in a nicely balanced dial format.

Once again it has an exhibition clear back where the mechanical movement is clearly visible and incidentally the quality of the case can also be seen.   It is a rather well built quality model with a complimentary figured rubber strap and buckle, the patterning on the strap reflecting the carbon fiber dial background.

Unfortunately for us here in the UK the Orient range of models are quite tricky to obtain and usually need to be sourced from abroad, which is a pity.   So care has to be taken regarding the source, customs charges, delivery times and so on as the excellent cost ratio of these models can be eroded.   Basically what i’m saying is that as priced these are great value models, but add in custom charges, VAT and 3rd party profit margins and personally I would have to think carefully before taking the plunge.

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