Orient Watch Company, is a subsidiary of Seiko Epson in 2009 before being fully integrated into the company in 2017. Before that Orient was an independent watch company established in 1950 and alongside Seiko, was actively producing mechanical watches throughout its proud history. In fact, I believe that all of it’s movements are produced in-house in Japan, which is something that even Seiko cannot lay claim to today. However, ever since the integration there have been some Orient models which contains Seiko movements, such as the examples below released in 2012, contained the famed Seiko 6S automatic chronograph movement.
“Orient Star” is the middle tier of Orient watches, somewhat similar to the old SARB series of Seiko, powered by the 6R movements. Below Orient Star, lies the simply branded “Orient” models and above it lies the “Royal Orient” models, which can be considered the equivalent of the Grand Seiko. However, unlike Grand Seiko, Royal Orient are currently rare as hen’s teeth and can probably only be found in Japan, if any at all. In fact, I suspect that Seiko might have discontinued the Royal Orient line in 2016 just to prevent market cannibalism between it’s high end models like Grand Seiko, Credor, Royal Orient.
The model that I’m blogging about today is the Orient Star Elegant Classic (from now known as OS), which I bought purely because I fancy its Breguet hands, it’s somewhat mid-tier movement, and given the simple fact that OS presents incredible value given how Seiko are pricing their time pieces currently.
Note that, I believe that there is a newer range of models with the same name and very similar design but with key differences being a different movement (F6N43 vs 40N52) with 50 hours power reserve (vs 40 hours) and the word “Automatic” at the 6 o’clock position.
As far as I could find, there are up to 3 models. 2 white faces, with yellow gold plated case and rose gold plated case. 1 blue face with stainless steel (SEL09003D0).
I decided upon the blue face with white hands model for better eligibility. In addition, I knew that at the price range, the blued hands on the other models would have been chemically blued and not heated blued and that was a game breaker for me.
The case lies 38.5mm across, has 20mm lugs and is a hefty 13.1mm thick. This thickness is also exaggerated with a domed sapphire crystal to mimic the style of vintage watches. It would have been much preferred if the thickness can be reduced. However, most Japanese movements sacrifice movement thickness for robustness.
Another highlight of this particular watch range was the Tapisserie dial consisting of many small squares/pyramids repeating itself. This is similar to the dial pattern used by Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches. This is restricted to the center within a fluted pattern, broken only by the date window at 3 o’clock, power reserve at 12 o’clock and OS branding at 6 o’clock. The stamping of the Tapisserie is nothing amazing, and I could have done without it. However it does provide some form of layering as it lets the power reserve and OS branding stand out, being elevated above the Tapisserie layer.
The hour markers are all printed in neat white paint in Roman Numerals, with “III” being partially eaten up by the date window. In my opinion, the date window also looks like it’s located too close to the center, which basically means that the dial could have been smaller. However, I understood why they made this compromise, as the watch could have ended up being small and fat, whereas it’s larger diameter now help to make it more proportionate.
The power reserve function (almost always located at 6 o’clock) of Orient watches is so ubiquitous and useful, I always wondered why people buy the models without it. As mentioned earlier, the power reserve is printed on a raised smooth layer in white, showing indicators every 5 hours between 0 – 40 hours. The indicator hand is painted in shiny white paint. In addition, no hands nor indicators are lumed on this watch.
It should also be noted that the power reserve indicator is not terribly accurate, and in my experience it should have been more spread out. For example in my screenshot above, the reserve has totally run down and it should be pointing at “0”, but it’s pointing even more negatively (?!).
Located at the 6 o’clock, the Orient Star branding is presented on a raised, smooth layer resembling 2 rectangles joined together, with the stylised “OS” branding occupying the top rectangle, while the words “Orient Star” taking the bottom rectangle. I personally like the font they chose to present “Orient Star” and find it very modern, yet elegant. The stylised “OS”, I’m not too much a fan of.
The “OS” logo is repeated on the non-screw down crown. The watch has 50m WR.
The lugs jut straight out from the case and are drilled through. This helps with changing straps, but is disconcerting to find on a dress watch to say the least.
The caseback is see through behind. The OS logo and branding are repeated on the rotor, but is not the exact same font as that on the dial. There are some very light, shallow Tokyo stripes on the rotor and perlage on the top plate, but otherwise is completely unfinished.
Here’s a view of flower shaped shock absorber, which is similar to that only found on the high end Seiko movements (4S, 8L,9S). I’m not familiar enough with Orient movements to comment on their movement architecture, but I do wonder if they borrowed the absorber design from Seiko or developed it independently.
The Orient 40N52 powers it and this is an automatic, hacking and hand-winding caliber. It also features a 40 hour power reserve while beating at 21,600bph.
Overall, I find the OS a great value for money versus its Seiko cousins, however Seiko does usually have better designs. Also, this is a very wearable watch for office, although I find it a tad heavy and thick for the design that it’s trying to carry off.