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 following:
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.
Thanks for a superb review. Each time you post one I find myself looking for an Orient.ReplyDelete
Do you swim with those 12 years old beauties?
Thanks for the feedback, Boaz! Personally - I do not fully immerse any watch in the water if it does not have a screw-down crown, regardless of its age and depth rating.Delete
Finally got my hand on this model. Had an opportunity to get orange or the red but both just didnt speak to me as i got a nice sunburst red dial already. It was one of my grail orient star models. Got a few left and hopefully i dont don those any time soon...hahahaReplyDelete
So, you got the blue one? That's great! I just happen to be wearing mine today... It's definitely a watch I am not getting tired of.Delete
There was a NIB, 100% complete WZ0211FD, for auction in Japan, a few months back- unfortunately, I didn't have the funds, and it only sold for about $350 USD!!ReplyDelete
I like the white dial version (WZ0141FD), & found a super clean one for a great price. Runs like a top: +5 sec/day, 265-285 degrees amplitude, dial-up. Lume is still pretty good, especially the hands.
The black (WZ0131FD) and white dials came with a special Orient Star tang & buckle, but most listings are missing it. I bought a 131FD that was cheap, (rotor barely swings, but runs, w/ a clean case) just to get that tang and buckle for my white dial!
One of the only listings I have seen that still had that precious tang and buckle! The tang is shaped like the old Gothic "S", in the former Orient Star logo.
I'd keep the black one too, if only the date window matched. The texture is more noticeable with the darker dials.
I think the current "Outdoor" model possibly took some cues from these: maybe the 3-6-9-12 large Arabic numerals, 100m WR, but certainly the sweet dual-position lug holes that both models share.