What makes a perfect summertime watch?
For me, it has to have the right
looks, as well as a very high level of comfort – on top of all other qualities
one typically desires to have in a watch.
In the looks department, the right watch needs to have color, needs to express
the joy and freedom of summertime. The opposite of the austere, monochromatic
looks of certain "serious" watch one would wear for work. Think holiday
shirts vs. business suits.
On the comfort side of things, it needs to maintain its cool and avoid
getting sticky and sweaty. It has to be light – and to have a good, weighty bracelet.
Why weighty? Well, because you want to wear the watch looser on vacation. And a
loosely worn watch with a big heavy case and a light bracelet becomes a
pendulum. You don't want that.
Looking for a watch that should answer these requirements, I discovered
Orient's "Summer Edition" watches from around 2006, in vibrant orange
and turquoise versions. Both turned out to be rather difficult to find, being
limited editions of 500 and 300 pieces respectively. Having expanded the
search, it appeared that two similar version in red and blue were also
available – though only slightly less hard to come by. In the end, I managed to
get hold of this fabulous blue Orient Star WZ0211FD
It has all the right properties. The case is 39mm wide, boasting apt
wrist presence yet light enough, and with Orient Star's familiar high level of
finish it looks great – so long as you don't mind the crown at 4 o'clock. The
bracelet is great, solid and comfortable. And then there's the dial.
Blue and bright like the sky in August, the dial is superb. Totally
devoid of text other than the Orient Star logo, the wearer can admire its
texture without any disturbances. It's perfectly legible, and the power reserve
makes it just a tad more interesting than a plain time-and-date layout.
Containing the old "FD" movement (later replaced with the EL
models), there is no manual winding and no hacking. Probably the only real
drawback of this model line, I would mind it more had it been a formal dress
watch. But this one's for the holiday season. Do you really need to know time
to the exact second? Pool's still open, that's what you need to know…
Now, if you wish to get your hands on of those, here's what you need to
know. First – getting a specific model is hard, so you better expand your
search. There's black and white but the ones I find more attractive are as
If you are looking for a cool look, like mine, go for either the
WZ0211FD (on the left in the image below) or the limited edition WZ0281FD (on
the right hand side). The image below, taken from the internet, shows both
watches pictured in the same shop under similar lighting, so you can appreciate
how subtle the differences are.
For a warmer appearance, you may consider either the red-dialed WZ0221FD,
or the limited edition WZ0151FD in orange. Again, both pictured below in photos
posted on the internet, taken under the same lighting.
Don't expect to find any of them NIB or NOS. More than a decade have
passed since these were released. But if you try hard and are willing to wait,
a used piece in good condition may surface. Prices may be between $250-300 on a
strap, or $300-350 on the original bracelet. Given the reliability and quality of these models, a well preserved exemplar even at the top of this price range represents tremendous value for money.