Orient Place

Orient Place

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Orient WZ0091FA: The Blue World Timer

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a review of Orient's various world time and GMT watches. Today, I will focus on one particular model that I like and own, Orient Star reference WZ0091FA (which for clarity's sake I will simply refer to as "91FA").

The 91FA was part of a series of watches released at the end of 2004, a second generation to the FA line-up driven by caliber 46K40. Similarly to the first generation's black, blue, and white dial models (ref. WZ0011FA, WZ0031FA, and WZ0021FA, respectively), the newer models also featured similar colors, this time as references WZ0081FA, WZ0091FA, and WZ0101FA).

The new models were functionally identical, but their case design was improved and made more flowing. This is most noticeable when looking from the side of the watch. In addition, the rotor was decorated more nicely, and most importantly – water resistance was raised from 5atm to 10atm. All these changes make the later models better value (in case you're considering a purchase of either).

In the photo below, you can see the older model, in the small picture-in-a-picture; the more squared-off flanks and crown guard are clearly visible.

The 91FA is a beauty. The dark blue dial is striking, and the case is indeed fantastic. It is 41mm wide without the crown, 47mm lug to lug, and about 12mm thick – excellent size for a sports watch. It's not that old, really, so the overall design is just like any modern watch. This, despite the movement being fairly outdated, having no hacking and no hand-winding.

Operating the world timer function here is quite simple: the inner 24-hour ring is constantly moving with time. To adjust it to show the correct time next to each city name printed on the bezel, just use the crown in the first position, and turn it clockwise to advance the ring in 30-minute intervals (while turning it counter-clockwise sets the date).

Speaking of the bezel, I think there is something special in raw metal bezels that I always find more attractive than bezels with inserts. The combined effect of the deep blue dial and steel bezel is stunning.

The watch is made to quite high standards, fitting of an Orient Star. The dial, when inspected closely, reveals many subtle details, such as the circular tracks around the date and power reserve sub-dials, and the nicely sculptured markers. The hands and hour markers are lumed. The case features circular brushing on top, straight brushing on the sides, and polished beveling.

The 91FA is an excellent everyday wear. The sapphire front crystal and 100m depth rating are practical, however it should be noted that the crown does not screw down. The case feels tough, and always comfortable.

The 91FA and similar FA world timers continued to sell until 2008. They nowadays can be found online, at prices generally ranging from 200 – 400 USD in Japanese stores, and usually higher prices on EBay and stores shipping globally. 200-300 dollars are a great price for a mechanically good, even if slightly scratched, watch. Four hundred dollars are still good value for a watch in excellent condition, considering the look and quality of these models. You will not always be able to find a specific reference quickly, but if one waits a few weeks patiently, usually one would find the desired model.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Orient Mechanical Moon Phase, Now In Contemporary Form

A new model, and a new movement, are being presented today by Orient: the Orient Star Contemporary Mechanical Moon Phase.

Orient first introduced its moon phase complication back in 2017, making it one of the best-priced moon phase watches around – at least considering its quality. The new model introduced today differs in design and in movement.

First, from design perspective, whereas the old model (which is still offered and is not being replaced yet) belongs in the classic line-up, the new watch bears the sharper lines of Orient's contemporary collection: more sporty, less dressy. And judging from initial photos, not any less impressive.

The new case is 41mm wide without the crown, 48.5mm long, and just a tad thinner than the classic version at 13.1mm thick – probably due to the sapphire crystal being flat, and not domed. Lug width is 21mm, as opposed to the classic's 20mm. Water resistance has increased from the dressy 5 atm of the old model, to a more useful 10 atm.

The case-back is see-through, and is also covered by sapphire. An additional nice touch is the crown, which has a ceramic insert bearing the Orient Star logo.

Inside the watch is a new movement, caliber F7M63. It offers 50 hours of power reserve, instead of the old movement's 40 hours, while preserving the claimed accuracy of -5 / +15 seconds, which is the best among current Orient watches. The layout is similar to the old model, with the moon-phase display at 6 o'clock, the power reserve at 12, and the open heart aperture – slightly smaller and more subtle than in the classic version - at 9.

Orient presents four variants of the new model, all on stainless steel bracelets and differing only in the radially textured dial. Ref. RK-AY0001B has the black dial; ref. RK-AY0002S has a white dial; ref. RK-AY0003S has an ivory dial with some gold tones; and the limited Prestige Shop edition ref. RK-AY0004B combines the gold tones with the black dial.

All versions are equally priced at roughly 1,600 USD – same as the classic model – and are due to go on sale starting April 2020.

Monday, 16 March 2020

More New Models from Orient Japan and Europe

Following up on our earlier announcement of new models from Orient, here are some more news, in brief.

New Diver-Style Watch: European Versions

Earlier today, we posted news of the fresh diver-style watch, in a case very similar in size to the much-loved Triton / Neptune (same width/length, one mm thinner than the old watch). In fact, it looks very much like a Triton without the power reserve or a Kamasu in Neptune guise :)  

Now we've seen the European announcement, and surprisingly it not only provides new reference numbers (RA-AC0K02E, RA-AC0K03L, RA-AC0K04E instead of the Japanese RN numbers, as always) but also reveals a new model, featuring a black dial and bezel, reference RA-AC0K01B. Well, why not? That's the most basic and ever-popular color scheme. You gotta have it in a collection.

New Day-Date Model

Quietly under the radar, Orient just released a new model featuring the date and weekday, using the classic "day-date" layout. We have the two-tone ref. RN-AX0002S on a good looking bracelet, and the more simply styled RN-AX0008S on leather.

Both models use caliber F6E22, which is automatic, hand-winding and hacking like all F6 movements. The case is 40.8mm wide, 47mm lug-to-lug, and 11.9mm thick. Lug width is 20mm.

New Models In The Contemporary Collection

Last but not least, Orient Europe has just added ten new references in its "Contemporary Collection". Let's take a quick look at these new watches.

Four models feature Arabic numerals and steel bracelets. These are references RA-AC0J07S (two tone, white dial), RA-AC0J08B (black dial), RA-AC0J09L (blue dial), and RA-AC0J10S (white dial). All of these feature the same 42.4mm wide, 11.2mm thick cases, 20mm lug width, sapphire crystal at the front and mineral glass covering the exhibition case back.

The watches are rated to 50m, and the movement is F6722. Solid specs then. No word on pricing yet.

The other six models feature Roman numerals and include ref. RA-AC0J01S (two tone, ivory dial), RA-AC0J02B (black dial), RA-AC0J03L (blue dial), and RA-AC0J04S (white dial) – all of which on a bracelet; and ref. RA-AC0J05L (blue) and RA-AC0J06S (white) on leather.

The Roman numeral models are all 42.4mm wide, but 11.7mm thick, and have mineral glass both front and back. Movement, water resistance, and lug width are the same as the Arabic models.

New Diver-Style and Retro Future Camera Models from Orient

Orient is providing us some surprises this morning, in the shape of some new sporty watches – a new diver-style design, and additional variants of the retro-future camera introduced earlier this year.

Let's start with the original new design. This new model immediately stands out thanks to the crown at 4 o'clock – a feature that some people will hate, and others will love. There's certainly a big enough market out there for this design, which many consider being very comfortable and fitting for a diver.

The watch case is 43.4mm wide, 51.0mm long, and 12.8mm thick. The crown is screw-down, and water resistance is 200m. The front crystal is sapphire, while the steel case back is engraved with a dolphin (like many diver-style Orients). Lug width is a convenient 22mm.

Inside is the automatic, hand-winding, and hacking caliber F6722, with the standard Orient specs of 40 hours power reserve and -15/+25 seconds a day accuracy.

Orient is introducing four versions, providing a nice range of colors to choose from. Reference RN-AC0K02E is the solid one, featuring dark green dial and bezel, and comes on a bracelet. Reference RN-AC0K03L also comes on a bracelet and features a blue dial and "Pepsi" red and blue bezel.

The other two references are more unusual, and perhaps more interesting.  Reference RN-AC0K04E has a bronze-plated case attached to a green nato-style nylon strap, and features a green dial and a very warm and pleasing bezel color combination of green and orange.

Ref. RN-AC0K05G is also bronze-plated, and features the "Jaguar Focus" dial, which Orient now associates with some of its special 70th anniversary models. This reference is indeed mentioned as the anniversary model and is limited to 2,500 units. It comes in a special commemorative box, attached to a leather nato strap, and has the serial number engraved on its back.

Price is around 430 USD for the non-limited models, and 450 USD for the limited edition. Considering that actual prices will probably get lower, at least for the regular models, and that we can expect good build quality - this seems to be quite good value.

Now let's look at the new Camera references. These basically feature the same specifications as the 70th anniversary edition: a 40.8mm wide, 46mm long, 12.6mm thick case. The crystal is mineral glass, and lug-width is 20mm. The model is rated to 50m, and is equipped with caliber F6S22. The bezel is of the uni-directional rotating type.

Three new versions are introduced. Reference RN-AR0201B comes on a steel bracelet, and has a black dial. Reference RN-AR0202E has a green dial, and its case is plated with what seems like very dark grey, or "gun-metal" color and attached to a black leather nato-style strap. Ref. RN-AR0203Y has that same dark plating on the case, bronze-plated bezel, and brown dial, and comes on a brown leather strap.

Prices for all three models are around 540 USD – the same as the limited edition. These are definitely cool looking pieces that we'd love to see in person…