Orient Place

Orient Place

Sunday, 17 March 2019

DAKS Fashion House and Orient Watches


As promised, the blog will occasionally take a look at co-branding initiatives where Orient have produced watches for other brands. The transition from the previous co-branding project we covered couldn't be sharper though, as we depart from the realm of Japanese action figures and arrive at the highly regarded and utterly British fashion house of DAKS.



"Established in 1894, DAKS produces luxury clothing and accessories for both men and women. DAKS is a holder of 3 Royal Warrants; representing our long standing relationship with the Royal Family and the outstanding quality of our products." (description taken from the DAKS website).

The cooperation between Orient and DAKS began in 2006, with a fairly modest release, of what Orient refers to as "pair models" – i.e. a couple of similar watches produced at "his" and "her" sizes. Those were fairly inexpensive quartz watches costing around $400 USD – not a lot considering the DAKS upmarket positioning.



A few years later, however, the cooperation picked up and DAKS moved into a higher segment of the watch market. Between 2009 and 2010 the two brands introduced a number of cool watches, all based on existing Orient designs but given the "DAKS touch" – mainly focused on the DAKS House Check, a unique checkered pattern identified with this fashion house.



At the top of co-branded offering were three watches based on the Royal Orient Cal. 48A40 (EG). These included a couple of piece very similar to the Royal Orient ref. WZ0021EG, and a pocket-watch. Like the Royal Orient model, these watches were priced at around $1,800 USD.



The three pieces were encased in Sterling Silver and their dials were adorned with a texture reminiscent of the DAKS check; the straps provided for the wrist watches were also decorated with the familiar check pattern on the inside.

The following photo is taken from an old sales ad by an Orient AD. All other photos were taken from official Orient releases.



Another interesting DAKS model was the retrograde, based on Orient's familiar cal. 40A52 (note that this DAKS is not using the more finely regulated and decorated Royal Orient variant, cal. 40B50).

Orient launched two retrograde models, also featuring the checkered straps, and finely check-textured dials. They were priced at around 1,200 USD – similar to the equivalent Orient Star retrograde models.



Finally, Orient also produced a line of high-end ladies' watches, under the tagline "Elegant and Traditional". These were quartz watches, encased in stainless steel with rose- and yellow-gold toned versions, embedded with 24 diamonds and having a crown set with gemstones. The models were priced at just under 1,000 USD.



Nowadays, it's not too difficult to come across the simpler quartz DAKS models, many of which are solar-powered, on auction sites. However the mechanical DAKS pieces are very rare findings – and presumably were not being produced in very large numbers to begin with.

Are Orient's DAKS watches of any particular importance to collectors? Most likely not. While rare, not many people are looking for these items, and it does not seem that they have been at any time a central piece for the DAKS house – and currently, there are no watches featured on their website.

However, for avid Orient collectors, there's still a point of interest here. For instance, if one is looking for a pre-owned Orient Star retrograde and has the opportunity to buy a DAKS variant, this might be an interesting proposition – a chance to get the same Orient Star quality watch in an unusual guise.

Would you choose a DAKS-branded watch over the standard Orient, given the chance, or not? Let us know what you think!


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

New Orient Star Models for 2019


New Orient Star models are always welcome, and a whole new line of watches is cause for celebration! Orient just announced a bunch of new watches, let's see what we have here…

We'll start right from the big news – a new line of "Outdoor" watches, featuring a trendy "military" / utilitarian style of case and dial, and housing the familiar F6N43 movement. The watches are sensibly sized at 41mm diameter plus a fairly large crown, and appear to have been designed to offer very good legibility, with broad luminous hands and hour markers (the following photos are taken from Orient's press releases).



The line-up includes four regular models, and one limited "Prestige Shop" edition. The overall look and feel is somewhat reminiscent of certain Bell & Ross pieces, but the power reserve display helps preserve the Orient identity.



The blog's verdict: a welcome addition to the Orient line-up; while not being very original in design, we expect the usual Orient Star level of execution to make these a compelling proposition at 600-700 USD.

Next up, a new series of Orient Star retrogrades. These are essentially the same structure as the previous line of retrogrades, introduced in 2015, featuring the same basic layout and the same old movement – not necessarily a bad thing, although newer Orient movements do offer a longer power reserve.

The range of models is fairly nice, with white and blue-dialed versions, and – as usual – a limited edition, this time having a grey dial. That's good, we don't have enough decent grey dials on Orient's line-up.



The blog's verdict: why not? Orient's line of retrograde watches is cool, fairly unique, and at 800 USD, compared with the price of Swiss automatics that feature retrograde displays, it provides great proof to the brand's excellent value for money. A new movement would have been nice, but absolutely not critical. Keep it up.

Last update for today, a new edition of the Moon Phase limited to 300 pieces. Combining the black dial of one version and the rose-gold toned hands of another, it does not make any sort of dramatic statement, but is welcome nonetheless. It comes nicely packed with both a metal bracelet and leather strap.



The blog's verdict: it is nice, but what we would really love to see is a Moon Phase without the open dial. The moon display and power reserve make the dial busy enough; without the hole in the dial, the watch-face would look cleaner, more balanced, and absolutely classy.

So – what's your opinion on the new models? Tell us what you think!



Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The "Orient Museum" Interactive Animation

Today's story is more a tale of archaeology than of horology, but that is fine. Any die-hard watch collector enjoys the odd bit of diggin' in the dirt, right?

Evidence to the existence of something cool in the history of Orient's website popped up while searching for information on its 60th anniversary models, pertaining to the year 2010. Good old Google insisted that a mini-site dedicated to the anniversary event once lived among the pages of the Japanese website of Orient. But it proved impossible to find any traces of it in Google's cached pages.

Further digging revealed that the anniversary site featured some section titled Orient Museum. Now, that was too intriguing to just ignore, so there began the deep dive.

For the dive I took advantage of a wonderful tool called "The Wayback Machine", which archives billions of web pages, going back more than a decade. Therein I found the little gem presented below.

Created using Macromedia Flash - then the most popular and best technology for its purpose - the Orient Museum is an interactive animation allowing one to browse through the history of Orient, looking at watches and calibers of old. It is mostly in Japanese but much of the content really can be enjoyed by non-speakers of the language.

Below is a link to the copy of the original "Orient Museum" interactive animation; remember Flash is now an aging technology. At the time of reading this, your browser might not support it - it may ask to download Flash player; or, it might ask you to enable the player, if it has not been used on this page before. I do recommend you enable it and enjoy this little creation!




If you wish to see a little more of what's included in the "Museum" before enabling Flash, you can also take a look at this video, where I've recorded some of the highlights of the animation.



Now, I do not know how long The Wayback Machine will keep the recorded animation; it may remain there for years to come, or get deleted tomorrow. So just in case, I have saved a copy of it. A copy of the Orient Museum can be downloaded here, to be played locally on your device (well, at least as long as Flash players are supported...)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zwHB44L2URrvKAP7OyWmWsvsx5DK28er

I hope you enjoy this little bit of Orient archaeology!

Saturday, 2 February 2019

List of Modern Royal Orient Movements


Having often benefited from reference materials provided by others, such as Stephen's list of vintage Orient movements, and Dan's compilation of modern Orient calibers, I felt the need to contribute to the group effort.

And, as I could find no well-organized online source of Royal Orient movements, it made sense to produce such a document. Pre-owned Royal Orients, while fairly hard to come by, represent an interesting proposition to watch collectors – they are mostly a bunch of very well made watches, housing decent movements, some encased in materials like silver and gold, and generally costing way less than comparable Grand Seiko watches (not to mention Swiss brands).

Looking at online listings of pre-owned RO's, they often lack in technical details – possibly not even known to their current owners. So I find that sharing such a list of Royal Orient movements would surely benefit both current owners and collectors looking to buy one.

So, here we go… but first, a few notes.



First of all, many of the movements used in Royal Orient are not the same as those used in regular Orients or even in Orient Star pieces. Being both unique and rare, finding information on these movements proved to be anything but trivial.

Now, I have limited myself to movements used in modern Royal Orients, dating more or less 20 years back. I also tried to make sure all information was cross-referenced between two sources at least, and in some cases more (when contradictions were found). Indeed I did come across misinformed sources. The following data therefore represents my best efforts to maintain accuracy. However, any information pertaining to old Orient movements may be prone to errors, so I would be grateful to any reader who finds an error for sending me correct details.



Below, you have the full information, both as a text table, and as an image. The text tables I had to break in half to keep in the format of the blog pages, but they are important so people using a search engine to find information would get to them easily. The image, provides you with all the data on a particular movement in one continuous row.

For those not familiar with Orient's JDM reference system, the movement code is represented by the last two letters of the model number. For instance, Royal Orient ref. WE0011JD uses the "JD" movement, corresponding to Cal. 40B50.

Code
Year Introduced
Caliber No.
Power Reserve
Accuracy (sec.)
Frequency
DN (1)
1998
7001
42 hr
+10/-5
21,600
FC
2000
46M
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600
FB (2)
2003
46L
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600
FL
2004
46T50
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600
FQ
2004
48B56
50 hr
+10/-5
21,600
JA
2004
88700
45 hr
+6/-4
28,800
NA
2007
50A40
40 hr
+25/-15
21,600
FS
2007
40Z60
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600
JB
2008
88A00
45 hr
+6/-4
28,800
EG
2008
48A40
50 hr
+10/-5
21,600
EK (3)
2008
40M51
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600
DU
2011
48Z40
50 hr
+10/-5
21,600
JD
2014
40B50
40 hr
+10/-5
21,600

Code
Jewels
Auto/HW
PR Indicator
Date
Seconds
Comments
DN (1)
17
Handwind
No
No
Small

FC
21
HW+Auto
Yes
window
Center

FB (2)
21
HW+Auto
Yes
window
Small
GMT
FL
23
HW+Auto
Yes
Sub-dial
Small

FQ
23
Handwind
Yes
No
Small
skeleton
JA
30
HW+Auto
No
window
Center

NA
21
HW+Auto
No
No
Center
Open heart
FS
24
HW+Auto
Yes
No
Small
Open heart
JB
30
HW+Auto
Yes
Window
Center

EG
21
Handwind
Yes
No
Center

EK (3)
22
HW+Auto
Yes
Window
Center

DU
20
Handwind
Yes
No
Small
skeleton
JD
22
HW+Auto
Yes
Sub-dial
Center
weekday

(1)  DN – this is using the Swiss Peseux 7001 movement
     (later known as ETA 7001)

(2)  FB – similar to FA used in regular Orient but higher accuracy
     (instead of +25/-10)

(3)  EK – similar to EJ used in regular Orient but higher accuracy
     (instead of +25/-10)



I hope you find this interesting and, perhaps, even useful! Please follow this blog – you'll be getting the best Orient-related news, stories and reviews. You can also follow by liking the blog page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OrientPlaceBlog