Orient: A Traditional Japanese Watch Manufacturer
The Japanese watch manufacturer Orient has been producing high-quality watches at moderate prices since 1950. Mechanical watches with in-house calibers are this company's main focus. Their catalog ranges from classic dress watches to diving watches.
High Quality Watches at Affordable Prices
Orient is one of the four major Japanese watch manufacturers. While the company was officially established in 1950, it can actually trace its roots back to 1901 and a small watch shop in Tokyo. Orient has always prided themselves on producing high-quality mechanical timepieces at affordable prices. Watches powered by automatic in-house calibers dominate their catalog to this day. That being said, Orient also offers plenty of options for fans of precise quartz watches.
The manufacturer's catalog can be split into two main collections: Orient and Orient Star. While Orient is dedicated to more budget-friendly watches, the Orient Star series contains high-end pieces, often with skeletonization or intricate decorations.
Both collections are further divided into three sub-collections: Classic, Contemporary, and Sports. The Classic collection is home to traditional dress watches and includes the popular Bambino series. On the other hand, the Contemporary collection contains more modern dress watches like the Sun and Moon and Polaris. Finally, the Sports collection is made up of various tool watches, including diving watches, pilot's watches, and chronographs. These timepieces bear names like Mako, Kamasu, and Ray.
Reasons to Buy an Orient Watch
- Precise and reliable in-house calibers
- High-end finishes for low prices
- Large selection of models
- Top models with intricate skeletonization
Prices at a Glance: Orient Watches
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Feature(s)|
|Orient Star Classic Skeleton, WZ0041DX - W||1,900 USD||Skeletonized, small seconds, power reserve indicator|
|Orient Star Diver, RE-AU0307E||620 USD||Water-resistant to 200 m (656 ft), date, power reserve indicator|
|Orient Neptune, RA-EL0002L00B||500 USD||Water-resistant to 200 m (656 ft), date, power reserve indicator|
|Orient Sun and Moon, FAK00004B0||400 USD||Sun/moon display, date, day|
|Orient Mako II, FAA02001B3||220 USD||Water resistant to 200 m (656 ft), date, day|
|Orient Kamasu, RA-AA0001B19B||220 USD||Water resistant to 200 m (656 ft), date, day|
|Orient Ray II, FAA02006M9||190 USD||Water resistant to 200 m (656 ft), date, day, orange dial|
|Orient Bambino Open Heart, RA-AG0004B10B||180 USD||Partially skeletonized dial|
|Orient Bambino Small Second, RA-AP0003S10B||160 USD||Small seconds, date|
|Orient Bambino 2, FAC00006B0||130 USD||Date|
How much do Orient watches cost?
Orient has a reputation for offering high-quality timepieces at low prices. For example, you can purchase a Bambino dress watch or Ray II diving watch with an automatic in-house caliber for less than 220 USD. Mako and Sun and Moon watches cost only slightly more at around 340 USD. Those looking for a quartz-powered chronograph will find prices starting around 170 USD.
Watches from the Orient Star collection demand higher prices of between 500 USD for a simple three-hand timepiece and 2,100 USD for an intricately skeletonized model.
Classic and Contemporary: Orient Dress Watches
If you're on the market for a budget-friendly, refined, and reliable dress watch, look no further than the Bambino collection. Part of the Classic series, the Bambino is a cornerstone of Orient's catalog and contains a wide range of models. At around 11 mm thick and just under 40 mm in diameter, these timepieces are a comfortable size and easily slip under shirt cuffs.
In addition to a date display at 3 o'clock, each Bambino features steeply domed mineral glass. This combined with a black, white, blue, gray, or green sunburst dial lends the Bambino its unique retro charm. One example is the Bambino Small Seconds. This timepiece bears a strong resemblance to classic Omega watches from the 1940s and 50s thanks to its small seconds at 6 o'clock, baton indices, and applied Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. The ref. RA-AP0003S10B features a polished steel case, champagne dial, and the in-house caliber F6222. You can call this particular model your own for about 160 USD.
For something even more traditional, there's the Bambino 2 with Roman numerals and a railroad minute track. Prices for the different variants range from 130 to 160 USD. You can choose from a black, white, or champagne dial, as well as a gold-plated or polished stainless steel case. Orient outfits the Bambino 3 with narrow baton indices and hands. Its blue, black, gray, or silver-white dial with a beautiful sunburst pattern is a real treat. Plan to spend around 200 USD for one of these timepieces.
Bambino Open Heart
Orient also offers " Open Heart" Bambino models. These watches stand out thanks to an opening in the dial, which reveals the balance beneath. This component is often referred to as the movement's "beating heart." A display case back offers another view of the automatic movement F6T22 from below. Unlike the other Bambino models, these watches lack a date display.
The Open Heart series is as diverse as the rest of the Bambino collection. There are dials in a wide variety of colors with applied indices, Roman numerals, or Arabic numerals. For example, the ref. RA-AG0004B10B has a black dial with applied baton indices and a polished stainless steel case. This version comes on a leather strap and demands roughly 180 USD. Then there's the ref. RA-AG0028L10B, which Orient outfits with a blue sunburst dial, Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o'clock, and a linked stainless steel bracelet. This edition requires an investment of around 280 USD.
The Contemporary series is geared toward those who appreciate the charm of classic timepieces but also value modern design. It is home to a vast array of designs, ranging from classically elegant and sporty casual to downright playful. The latter group includes models like the Sun and Moon. As the name implies, these timepieces feature a sun/moon display that lets the wearer know whether it's currently day or night. In the case of the ref. FET0P004W0, the sun/moon display sits at 10 o'clock. Orient also equips this model with day display at 3 and date window at 6 o'clock. Prices for this 41.5-mm stainless steel watch fall around 330 USD.
The Contemporary line also includes Open Heart models, watches with a day-date display, and timepieces with a multi-year calendar. A multi-year calendar is a kind of manual perpetual calendar that can display the day and date for every month between 2003 and 2024 without having to change the date display. At only 170 USD, this unusual watch is a steal.
There are also Contemporary watches with quartz calibers. These include three-hand men's and women's models, as well as chronographs. Prices vary by model and range from 110 to 230 USD.
About the Sports Collection
The Orient Sports collection offers a wide range of tool watches. It contains chronographs, sporty dress watches, and timepieces modeled after pilot's watches, as well as a large number of diving watches. Popular diving watches include the Ray II, Mako II, and the Kamasu. These three models are all very similar. Each features a 41.5-mm stainless steel case, a depth rating of 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft), and the caliber F6922. This movement comes with a day-date display and a 40-hour power reserve.
The main differences between these models are purely cosmetic. For example, the Ray II has trapezoidal indices at 6, 9, and 12 o'clock and round indices for the other hours. Its hands are rather broad and bear a slight resemblance to syringes. On the other hand, the Kamasu has baton indices and arrow hands. Thanks to its narrow baton indices, sword hands, and applied indices at 6, 9, and 12 o'clock, the Mako II looks more elegant than its two sister watches. All three versions come on your choice of a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap. Plan to spend between 160 and 280 USD, depending on the exact model.
Fans of larger diving watches should take a closer look at the Neptune and Kanno. While they share their looks and features with the smaller models, their stainless steel cases measure almost 44 mm in diameter. You can call one of these large diving watches your own for between 220 and 510 USD.
Quartz-Powered Sports Watches
The Sports collection also contains a line of quartz-powered chronographs. These watches are available in two layouts: You can choose from three-subdial chronographs with either a traditional 3-6-9 subdial layout or a less conventional 6-9-12 layout. The dial comes in black, white, blue, brown, or dark red. No matter which edition you choose, it will have luminous bar indices or numerals. Prices for these watches range from 110 to 170 USD.
The Orient Enterprise stands out from the rest of the series. Its 45-mm stainless steel case has a black PVD coating and feels like something out of a science fiction movie. Its black dial features a three-subdial layout and wide trapezoidal indices. This model also has a large date display at 12 o'clock. The oversized chronograph sells for between 190 and 230 USD.
Orient Star: High-End Timepieces
The Orient Star was the very first Orient watch. It debuted in 1951 and serves as the blueprint for the Orient Star collection to this day. High-end finishes define this series. You can recognize these timepieces by the special Orient Star logo on the dial and the presence of a power reserve indicator at 12 o'clock.
Among the collection's highlights are the intricately skeletonized Classic Skeleton models. Their power comes from the in-house caliber 48E51. Sapphire crystal provides a view of this movement from above and below. High-quality leather straps hold these 39-mm timepieces securely on the wrist. The stainless steel case is available with your choice of a polished finish or a gold PVD coating. Depending on the model, you can purchase an Orient Star Classic Skeleton for between 1,700 and 2,300 USD.
For something more affordable, the many Open Heart models make appealing alternatives. These watches come with a partially skeletonized dial that allows the wearer to view the balance at work. The design options for this series are vast, ranging from classic models with Breguet numerals to modern timepieces. These watches demand relatively moderate prices and cost anywhere from 560 to 1,400 USD.
The Orient Star collection is also home to sporty watches like the Orient Star World Time, Orient Star Outdoor, and Orient Star Diver. The Orient Star World Time boasts a world time display that can show the time in 24 time zones simultaneously. Then there's the Outdoor, a robust three-hand timepiece modeled after a pilot's watch. As you may have guessed, the Diver is a high-end diving watch. It comes with a 43.6-mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, and luminous hands and indices. The watch is water-resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). When it comes to prices, the Orient Diver generally demands around 620 USD, the Outdoor 730 USD, and the World Time 560 USD.
The History of Orient
Orient Watches was originally founded in 1950 as the Tama Keiki Company; however, its roots stretch back much further. Shōgorō Yoshida established the Yoshida Watch Shop in Tokyo in 1901. In 1912, he expanded his business and renamed it "Toyo Tokei Manufacturing." Toyo Tokei Manufacturing remained in business producing clocks and wristwatches until 1949. One year later, it was revived under a new name: the Tama Keiko Company.
The company received its current name – Orient Watch Company, Limited – in 1951. This final name change coincided with the release of their first timepiece, the Orient Star. The name "Orient" is a reference to the company's Japanese heritage. The term "orient" is derived from Latin oriēns, which translates to "rising," "east," or "sunrise" – an appropriate choice for a company from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Orient remained the third largest Japanese watch manufacturer (behind Seiko and Citizen) until the 1970s. With the rise of quartz technology, Orient's place on the podium was swiftly taken over by electronics giant Casio. Against all odds, Orient persisted with the production of mechanical watches and survived the quartz crisis. Mechanical timepieces still make up the majority of Orient's portfolio to this day.
In 2001, Seiko Epson became Orient's majority shareholder before fully acquiring the company eight years later. Today, Orient remains an independent daughter company of the Seiko Epson Corporation.