Orient Place

Orient Place

Thursday 24 May 2018

The Business-Casual Orient Star

It's not quite a dress watch though it is undeniably elegant; it is sporty, but it's definitely not a sport watch. I call it a business-casual watch. This is the Orient Star reference WZ0041FR, one of Orient's collaborations with famed leather goods manufacturer, Somès.

Now, you'll notice in my photos the watch is not attached to a Somès strap. I have indeed acquired it second hand (had not found any new ones at the time) and the price was just attractive enough: the original strap, I'm sure, is fabulous, but I'm quite happy with the strap I got it with. Anyway let's focus on the watch, not the strap, shall we…?

This one is not a small watch by any means – 43mm wide, 14mm thick, 47mm tip to toe. However, the unique shape of the case makes it very comfortable – it really curves so as to hug the wrist, and is quite honestly one of the best looking watch cases I have seen. Not just at this price point but even compared to watches priced way, way higher. You'll notice how the top is brushed while the sides and the bezel are finely polished – so not just a nice geometry but also superb execution.

The technical specifications are what you'd expect from an Orient Star, which is to say: more than adequate for the price point. The uniquely laid out dial is very well made, as macro shots reveal. You get lume points next to the hour markers and on the hands, all covered by nicely domed and AR coated sapphire crystal. Contrast and legibility are quite good.

The movement inside is an Orient 46X "FR", a time only caliber. It's a pretty basic machine really, featuring about 40 hours of power reserve, 21,600 beats per hour, and automatic winding only – no hand-winding and no hacking. That is indeed a downside. Mine does about minus 2-3 seconds a day, so runs a little behind but still within chronometer standards and frankly, if you cannot hack it, you probably wouldn't be able to set it to within greater accuracy anyway…

What really makes this one a winner to me, is simply how full of charm it is. The small details combine so well to create a look that, while not classic, simply works. As is often the case with Orient designs, the sum is greater than its parts; even the funny looking small seconds sub-dial, which would probably seem very out of place on any other watch, somehow looks good in here.

This model is long discontinued. And once again I apologize for reviewing a dated model… still, used pieces can still be found online. It used to sell for around $400-500 USD as new, and used pieces in good condition surface nowadays at anywhere from $200 to $300.

That line of Orient Somès releases included a number of variations in different dial colors – reddish-brown, green, and yellow – as well as a yellow-gold toned case with a white dial. They're all nice, really. The green and brown are attractive, and the yellow one, ref. WZ0051FR, is really bold and stands out like an Orient should. The black dial remains my favorite, though, being the most versatile.

1 comment:

  1. Also considering picking up one of these. So many options with OS and orient, but limited funds and room to store them all. Thanks.