Orient Place

Orient Place

Thursday 19 December 2019

Orient Saturation Diver

I'm no expert in diving, let alone the highly professional craft of saturation diving – and for those of you interested in this underwater activity, there are plenty of articles out there. As far as I am concerned, what we will be discussing here is a super-robust, ISO-6425 certified, 300M rated, professional dive watch. Made by Orient. And, which has acquired a cult of followers over the years.

The Orient Saturation Diver (OSD for short) is 45.7mm wide, 55mm long, and 16.6mm thick – including the 5mm-thick(!) sapphire and bezel. It's been through a few generations, keeping its external dimensions and pro-diver specs:

Generation 1, launched 2006, used the non-hacking caliber 46N4A, and featured a 60-click rotating bezel. It included references CFD0C001M (Orange dial), and CFD0C001B (Black dial).

Almost identical Orient Star variants were released as JDM models: ref. WZ0251FD (Black dial), WZ0261FD (Black dial with gold elements), and WZ0271FD (Yellow).

Generation 2, released in 2010, adopted the improved cal. 40N5A that hacks and hand-winds, and switched to a 120-clicks bezel. It featured references WV0041EL / EL02001B (Black dial) and WV0051EL / EL02001M (Orange dial).

Gen. 2 Orient Stars were also presented – references WZ0181EL (Black) and WZ0191EL (Yellow).

And finally, the 3rd generation (released around 2015) included references WV0101EL (black dial), WV0111EL (red dial), and WV0121EL (white dial, as seen here). It appears very much identical to gen. 2, except for the shape of the hands, which changed from syringe to a kind of sword and broad arrow hands – which I think are really more suitable for this kind of dive watch.

A good friend recently let me borrow his OSD for a few days, so I had a chance to get more personal with this legendary beast. This watch arrived in very clean condition, however missing its original bracelet.

So, how outrageously huge and awkwardly hulking is it really on the wrist? Well – not as much as some might have you think. Yes it's big and heavy, and needs to be worn fairly tightly to avoid becoming a wrecking-ball-like pendulum on your hand, but when strapped firmly to my 7.25" wrist it was noticeable yet perfectly comfortable.

And what about the quality, so raved about by owners? Yep, it's definitely there. Crown operation is buttery smooth, and locking and unlocking it is one of the slickest I've encountered in any watch - quite different from the more basic Orient divers.

The bezel is thick and grippy. Turning it feels weighty and reassuring, like turning the latch of a submarine door (at least that's how I imagine it. Never actually opened a submarine door).

Needless to say, as photos make it very clear, the watch is as legible as can be – and as a professional diver should be. Hands are properly wide are stand out thanks to black framing against the white dial. Markers are big and bold. And then there's the lume, of course, which is very potent and remains effective for a long duration.

Accuracy is more than acceptable. I've measured a +11 seconds deviation in 24 hours at rest, but hardly one second gained after about 10 hours being worn on the wrist. Meaning, it'll probably do about +6~7 seconds per day in mixed use, which is quite good and similar to what most Orients are regulated to offer.

To summarize, the Orient Saturation Diver is definitely a special timepiece, full of character and very capable. It will probably be less comfortable for wrists 7" and under, but for people who like and want a bigger watch that's got heft and good looks, it makes a very appealing offering.

I think the black-dial variant is probably the most solid-looking version, but personally I prefer the white one (as reviewed here) – which to me seems more elegant. And then there is that super-cool yellow dial, and the all-eyes-on-me red and orange ones.

Enough to choose from. And while the OSD has been out of production for more than a year, one may still come across new ones offered by dealers online for around 1,500 USD. Used OSD in very good condition are actually hard to come by, and will typically cost more than 1,000 dollars, but you can find sample in acceptable condition (for this type of watch) at reasonable prices.

And maybe, just maybe, Orient will prepare a surprise for us in 2020, in the shape of a new Saturation Diver containing a new F6 movement?...

Sunday 8 December 2019

Review Contest Winner

Orient Place Blog's Review Contest, which was launched on November 17, today concluded as the final showdown between our two finalists was decided: by popular vote, it was David's review of his Orient Star Titanium that ended up in second place, while Stefan was declared winner with the review of his Orient Ray II.

Stefan won with 2 named voters (and a bunch more who voted anonymously), while David got 1 vote. A modest victory then, but the reward is also modest so not a problem. As promised, Stefan gets a 50 USD coupon to buy a strap at Martu Leather, one of our favorite strap-makers, and a small business (that's always more rewarding than a big brand!)

And now that the contest is over, it's back to Business As Usual, and we have to continue to write our own reviews for the blog J ... So, later this month we'll entertain you with a review of one of Orient's most legendary watches of recent decades – the Saturation Diver!

The blog thanks all who participated in our watch review contest. If you enjoyed this and our other stories and posts, 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

Sunday 1 December 2019

Orient Place Watch Review Contest – The Finals!

And so, we reach the final stage of our review contest… for your consideration below are two great reviews submitted by blog readers David and Stefan.

Now it's your turn! Vote for your favorite review - the one you've found most enjoyable, helpful, professional, or any other reason. To cast your vote, simply comment below on this post, write the reviewers name – either "David" or "Stefan" – and if you'd like to add some comments or compliments, feel free to do so!

The contest will be open for voting exactly one week, between now and Sunday December 8, noon CET. At that time, we will count the votes each contestant received, and announce the winning reviewer. In case of a draw, winner will be whoever got his total vote-count sooner.

Stefan's Review of his Orient Ray II

Some watches look unassuming on paper. In the Orient lineup, the Ray II is usually featured near the bottom, after the Neptune, Kamasu, Kanno, and Mako. Few reviewers mention the Ray. The spec sheet doesn't distinguish it from other offerings -- at 41.5mm, it doesn't fit the new trend of vintage-inspired smaller divers, and the movement is shared with many of its siblings. The water resistance is 200m, but the watch is not ISO certified.

I was drawn to the dial, which in my opinion looks cleaner than the Mako's, but my expectations were low. Maybe the Ray could serve as a beater watch. I spent the summer working on the rebuild of my house in Northern California, and maybe it would survive the constant dust, dirt, and abuse.

I don't like bracelets, so I bought the Ray on the rubber strap. It's not bad, but I changed immediately to a more comfortable NATO and wore the watch during days at the construction site. After a week, though, I noticed how reluctant I was to take it off. It was big and heavy enough to feel substantial, and yet it also felt perfectly comfortable. Depending on which strap I chose, the Ray turned from work watch to casual companion to dressy sports watch. It felt right in that certain inexplicable way only few watches do.

The case is 13mm thick and mostly polished, except for the brushed tops of the lugs. Dial and bezel insert are matte black. The design is clean, stripped-down. It has a hint of Submariner, but bezel, chapter ring, red-tipped seconds hand, and day/date window give it its own identity. The lume is spectacular and lasts all night; I don't ever have to look twice to read the correct time.

The crystal is mineral, which I prefer over sapphire's blue sheen. The Ray's only weak spot is the signed crown, which for my hands is too small. The F6922 movement, beating at 3hz and with a power reserve of 40 hours, allows for hand-winding and hacking, but the winding action feels rough. It's easy enough, though never pleasant. Good then that I rarely have the need to unscrew the crown. The Ray keeps great time, much better than the advertised -15/+25 accuracy, and I just never take it off. A tool has become a best friend.

David's Review of his Orient Star Titanium WZ0031AF

I've had this watch since 2016 and to this day I still find myself enamoured by the watch.

What I love about the watch:

·         Titanium case, case back, bracelet, crown and clasp. The bracelet comes with half-links and has some minor adjustments on the clasp. The titanium has also been treated with a scratch resistant coating.

·         The crystal is sapphire with Orient's Super Anti-Reflective (SAR) coating. At times it looks like the crystal is not there.

·         The overall polishing of the watch is superb. The "Zaratsu" polishing is well done. From the case to the applied indexes and hands, the various combination of brushed and polished surfaces  makes the watch "pop" in various lighting conditions.

·         The dial is flat with silver sunburst and with contrasting radial circles. Overall, the watch is quite easy to read in various light conditions.

·         The metallic blue hands for the second hand and the power meter are my favourite part of the watch. The blue is really beautiful when the right amount of light hits it.

·         Lume at each hourly mark and on the hands. While there isn't a whole lot of lume but, they are certainly legible at night.

·         In house movement: F6N42. This is a 22 jewel calibre that is nicely decorated. It has shock protection, hacks, hand winds and beats at 21,600bph.

·         10atm WR

·         Signed clasp and crown

Neutral Thoughts:

·         Exhibition crystal on the case back is probably mineral crystal.
·         21,600bph movement
·         The date change, like in typical Japanese fashion, takes almost an hour to complete.
·         The overall design is not unique, it has several design cues from other comparable Japanese watches.
·         Dimensions are a tad chunky sitting at 12mm height and 48mm lug to lug.

What I dislike:

·         The power reserve indicator design, wish it was more symmetrical.


The Japanese are definitely the masters of light. The overall fit and finish of this Orient Star certainly punches above its price range. From the watches I've personally examined from Hamilton, Tissot to Oris as well as the Citizen Grand Signature none can match the overall presentation of this Orient Star.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Watch Review Contest Reminder and FAQ

I hope everyone's busy writing a review of their favorite (or other…) Orients! Well, honestly, no need to be so busy as it's really not very difficult or time consuming. Just a short, simple write-up, some basic details, pros and cons of your watch, a nice photo… and then you might win that cool reward from Martu Leather straps!

To help y'all out, sharing below a few questions that got sent to the blog regarding the contest, and answers:

·        Does the review need to be in English?

Well, yes… but it does not need to be perfect, just legible. We'll do minor editing, or ask for clarification if anything is not clear. Simple is best!

·        I don't have anything bad to say about the watch…

That's great. No need to make anything up, if you like everything about the watch you're reviewing, just say so.

·        I don't have all the technical specs of the watch

No problem, just list what you do know. If you have the reference, everything else should be fairly easy to find.

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. Though as mentioned on the contest announcement post, if anything gets sent in that somehow doesn't fully comply with the "rules", we will help you fix it.

In case you missed it – all the details are right here, on the announcement post! Deadline for submission is still December 1st, noon CET. 

Good luck!

Sunday 17 November 2019

Orient Place Blog's Watch Review Contest

Almost a year has passed since our last contest! We really enjoyed it last time, and want this year's contest to be even bigger, so – instead of just photos – we're doing a proper Watch Review Contest – and there's a prize! So, read below for all the details and rules…

1.          To participate in the contest – we would like you to write a short review of an Orient Watch you own. To be eligible for the contest, we'd like the review to be in English, contain no more than 400 words (so no need for long stories… mainly what you like about the watch, and what you do not like so much, quality, issues you've had, etc.) – and we also ask that you add one photo of the watch on your wrist.

2.          Send us the review and photo via our messenger address, at m.me/OrientPlaceBlog, or simply visit our Facebook Page (which you're surely familiar with!) and click on Send Message.

No need to attach any document, just paste your review text into messenger, and send that wrist-shot as well in the same way. Easier for us and for you J

3.          The submission stage of the contest will run until December 1st, 2019, noon CET.

4.          We will then select up to four reviews, and upload them onto a blog post, where readers will vote for their favorite review.

This how we'll pick the reviews for the final stage of the contest:

- First priority is for current models that are available to buy new in stores (thus making the reviews more useful for readers).

- If we still have many of those, the selection will be on a first-submitted, first-selected basis.

- Of course, we also expect the review to be nicely written and contain relevant information. However if we see something missing, the review will not be immediately rejected, we'll first ask you to add some info.

5.          After voting concludes, we will announce the winning reviewer.

And as promised, there will be a reward for the winner: a 50 USD coupon to buy a strap at Martu Leather, one of our favorite strap-makers that we have mentioned in our story on how to choose a strap for your Orient watch.

Ready? Set… Go!

Sunday 10 November 2019

Matching a Strap to Your Orient Watch

Straps are important. They hold your watch in place, and enhance its appearance. A good strap can add character and beauty to a watch – if it makes a proper match. Many watch owners assume that choosing a strap is just a matter of finding the right size, a color that generally matches the dial, and some rough notion of "quality". But there is much, much more than that, in getting the best strap for your watch.

For today's blog post, I called up Andrea of Martu Leather, one of my favorite strap makers, for some tips and recommendations. While Andrea produces some very fine hand-made straps for a fair price – which I always prefer over big manufacturers' products – her comments are very professional and generally true for any strap you decide to purchase for your Orient (or any watch…)

Pictured: Orient World Diver "Map Dial" on Martu Slim Blue Calf & Goat Leather Strap; great match to the blue and orange elements of the dial, and custom-cut to the non-standard 19mm lug width.

"Finding the right strap for your watch will depend on different factors, here are some tips that I follow to make straps for my watches and also to recommend straps:

In my perspective the most important thing is to preserve and respect the roots of the watch. If you start your search paying attention to this, your watch will get a new strap that will make it look great. Don't try to make your dressy watch look sporty, just make it look beautiful.

Note special tones or colors, if the second hand is orange, the strap can be orange or have orange thread. If the face of the watch has a very nice color you can look for a material that has the same tones.

How thick is your watch? A thick watch looks great with a thick strap. However, sometimes thicker straps need a break-in period in which wearing them can be a bit uncomfortable, so if you want a strap ready to use look for thinner straps (3mm or less).

Pictured: Orient SK on Martu "Drakko" Cracked Calf Leather Strap. The right thickness and that unique texture that enhances the fairly simple dial.

"If you looking for a strap that will be exposed to water and you don´t want to use rubber then look for water-resistant materials, or look for heavy oiled leathers. Please notice that there is no such thing as a waterproof leather, there is leather that performs better under wet conditions due to the amount of grease that was applied to it, or if it was treated with a special lotion. These treatments will not last forever but they will help your strap. In my experience, you can get the best results by using beeswax (often mixed with other type). These treatments make the leather darker so have that in mind.

About the length of the strap, if you're after a handmade strap, look for a strap made for a perfect fit (i.e., provide your wrist-size to the strap-maker) don't take standard as an option.

Do I want my strap tapered or not? This is a matter of taste, but if you are going to use the original buckle, pay attention to the width of the buckle so you get the strap in the right size.

For me the most important thing is that you get the strap you imagine, so please ask for any crazy idea you have and play with: colors, threads, linings, materials, stitching styles and materials.

Here is a list of the materials I use to make my straps, maybe you will find this information useful for your next strap hunting:

·         Calf leather

Calfskin or calf leather is a leather or membrane produced from the hide of a calf, or juvenile domestic cattle. As other leathers there are subtypes of calf leather, look for full grain or top grain which are the best and the ones I use. Calf leather is so diverse in terms of colors, finish and texture that for me is the best material to wear and work with.

·         Alligator leather

Very soft and more durable than calf leather, and also each strap is unique, elegant and exclusive. Alligator leather requires a certificate that proves it comes from trusted breeding centers! All my exotic straps have the CITES certificate.

·         Alcantara

Alcantara is a microfiber material, super soft, easy to clean, comfortable, and vegan. Luxury car brands offer it as an option because this material is so nice. It is a bit tricky to work with, requiring more time than leather to make a strap, but the result is very nice, has a casual/sporty look, and is great to use with a pair of jeans on the weekend.

·         Cork

A tree that has a very unique look, and is my primary vegan option. Beside its softness it is water-resistant, which makes it a great natural material to give your watch a unique appearance.

·         Tweed

A fabric woven in England, I use Donegal which I love for the small dots of different colors that it has. Having in mind the colors of nature, it's my favorite material for winter and autumn.

Hope this information will help you on your quest for your next strap ;) "

One additional point that I would to add to Andrea's tips, is particularly relevant to some of the very colorful watches made by Orient. How do you match a strap to a watch that has many colors?

My suggestion: don't try an equally multicolored strap unless it has the exact same pattern as the dial (which is not likely) otherwise it gets messy. If you wish the dial to stand out, make the strap complimentary, not identical. A good trick is reversing colors – e.g. a dial that's white with red accents can work well with a red-brown strap (just because pure red is too much…) with white stitching; a black dial with blue accents would work well with a blue strap with black stitching; etc.

Pictured: Orient GM on a padded "Carbon Fiber" pattern strap from Teddy Baldassarre, another friend of the blog. The pattern plays nicely with the dial texture, which is matched by the blue stitching.

If the accent color is too much, like yellow or red, tone it down with greyness or brownness. Or – move on to the next option. E.g. If the dial is white with red and black elements, you can just stick to a black strap with red stitching.

Again I'd like to thank Andrea Tugas of Martu Leather for her contribution, and here's a little hint for what's coming up in the near future… an opportunity to win a Martu strap for your Orient, so make sure you follow the blog!

Thursday 24 October 2019

The Orient Star Outdoor Watch Hands-On Review

Orient's line of "Outdoor" watches was introduced earlier in 2019, and very quickly got fans of the brand intrigued. The seemingly simple design, largely devoid of many of Orient's common design features (like open hearts and other non-functional dial elements) made it very clear that this watch is all about the quality of execution. Therefore, I just had to get my hands on one of these, and check how good it was in person! Luckily – I did not get one, but two…

The versions sent for review included the black-plated reference RE-AU0202N (which we'll refer to as "the black" in the review, for simplicity), and the non-plated ref. RE-AU0204L (which we'll refer to as "the blue"). It is worth noting that Orient recently updated the line-up (or rather, released similar watches with new references, RK-AU0209N and RK-AU0211L respectively). Depending on the store / source, you may find either reference being offered, both legitimate – and of course, additional versions of the Outdoor.

The common features to all Outdoor references include a 41mm wide stainless steel case, 49mm lug-to-lug dimension, and thickness of 12.1mm. At the heart of the Outdoor is Orient's caliber F6N43, which hand-winds and hacks, and features a central second hand, date wheel, and power-reserve display.

How It Looks

The Outdoor has been designed by Orient as a "field watch", which implies a military appearance, ruggedness and usability. Some people have described its look as resembling a "pilot watch" which to me makes sense, as I've always felt that a field watch is often the same as a pilot watch, only smaller. Whereas classic pilot watches are often 43mm or larger (Orient's own pilot watch is 42.4) and true field watches were 38mm or less, the size of this model puts it in a very sensible sweet spot in the middle.

Titles and labels aside, it is quite a handsome time piece. The big markers and large crown help it achieve a more substantial wrist presence than the size alone would suggest. This is particularly true for the blue Outdoor, with its shiny metal and more contrasting dial.

The dial layout is very pleasing. Its symmetry is only disturbed by the small date window Рwhich thankfully does not cut into the lovely marker at 3. The black Outdoor features a kind of greyish-brown dial while the markers and hands are mostly "vintage-cr̬me" color Рa very warm, pleasant kind of combination. The blue Outdoor's dial is deep dark blue with a very cool sunburst effect (and a certain texture that's hard to describe but has a sense of deep layer of paint) and white markers and hands Рcreating a different, yet equally attractive impression. Which version is nicer is very much down to personal tastes.

Yet, the Outdoor does not immediately smite you with the sharp, crisp visual impact that some Orient Star models produce. Rather than having an immediate effect, what the Outdoor does is grow on you, slowly. It takes some time to appreciate the subtleties of the design and notice the manufacturing quality.

One such area that reflects the quality is case finishing. It's interesting to compare it with Orient's lower end field watch, the "Defender", which was reviewed on the blog a few weeks ago. While the Defender is definitely a quality offering for its price, it is easy to see how the brushing on the Outdoor is finer; and, compared to the blocky lugs of the simpler watch, the Outdoor's lugs are nicely chamfered.

Another element of the Outdoor that stands out is the crown, which is simply beautiful – especially when examined closely.

How It Wears

The Outdoor wears very comfortably on the leather straps with which the models we received were provided (some Outdoor versions are provided with nylon bands). The straps are supple and of very good quality and their initial stiffness did not require a lot of wearing to soften and adjust to my wrist.

The strap is attached to a folding clasp which is, likewise, of decent quality and easy to use. Its outer side is nicely brushed, and adds to the overall look and feel of the watch.

The one thing that would probably annoy some owners is the 21mm lug width. This size, generally considered non-standard, limits the choice of replacement straps to an extent (although there are still many 21mm strap options).

On the wrist, the watch feels good, just like a 41 x 49mm watch should: it is the perfect size which most buyers should be able to enjoy. The lugs are well curved to keep close to the wrist and give it a good, warm hug.

How It Functions

Operation of the watch is easy enough; the large crown is super-grippy and easy to screw open or lock-down, and to wind and set the time and date.

Now we're getting to the heart of the watch; that is the movement. The two watches sent for review did not perform the same.

The black Outdoor gained 5 seconds per day, a good result which is on par with most Orients reviewed on the blog and of course, well within the -15, +25 specs. The blue piece however gained an exceptional 27 seconds per day; that is outside the specs, and is not typical of the brand. It might be a problem with the loan unit received; anyway, if one were to buy an Orient Star with this deviation, it would be wise to have it replaced (of course, if an older watch gradually speeded up to +27, it would probably be easy for a decent watchmaker to fix it).

Legibility on both versions of the Outdoor was excellent. The blue variant had the higher contrast, but honestly all Outdoor models would be good enough thanks to the large, clear markers and hands.

Lume is also very good, and remained clear and visible long after exposure to even the faint sunlight just before sunset. All in all, this is a core requirement from field watches, to be quickly and easily legible at all times, and the Outdoor performs this part of the job very well.

One last parameter of field watch functionality is its robustness and durability. The Outdoor's water resistance is rated to 100 meters, which is secured using the screw-in crown. That's not exceptional, but sufficient for most everyday uses that do not involve long immersion in water.

The straps, however good looking and matching the watch esthetically, will probably not be the best choice if one wishes to really engage in outdoor activity though. For that, we'd recommend either one of the versions that come with a nylon band, or simply to replace the strap with a nylon or rubber one (or any specialty leather strap that has increased resilience to water and sweat).

The case, too is a consideration, and like we mentioned on our review of the Defender – black PVD is cool, but loses its charm after some wear and tear, so if looking for tool watch usability one of the "bare metal" versions is preferable.

The front crystal is properly tough sapphire; the case-back is mineral crystal though, which is sensible choice but needs to be taken into consideration when taking the watch off "in the wild".

The Bottom line

The Outdoor is a very handsome, well made watch. By and large it does deliver on the promise of sporty, outdoor capabilities, offering good legibility and reasonable (while not entirely "tool-watch-like") durability. Above all, it offers some real nice touches that, while not immediately evident, do present themselves over time and reveal the "Orient Star" quality of the execution.

In comparison with the more basic field watch from Orient, the Defender, the Outdoor has more finely executed case and dial, sapphire crystal, higher quality straps and bands out of the box, and a movement with 50 hours power reserve (10 more than the Defender). It's also worth noting that like most of Orient's line-up, the Orient Star comes with 2 years manufacturer's warranty, versus one year for the non-Star models.

Outdoor versions are officially around 750 USD, and generally available online at around 550 USD. If this was a Swiss watch, it would present incredible value, considering the merits of the watch; yet even as Japanese watches go, it is a very decent offering.

The blog's verdict: The Outdoor is somewhat different from most Orient Star designs – many of which are either classically dressy, or (like the skeletonized models) quite extravagant. Instead it is subtle, very pleasant to look at, but takes time to appreciate its quality. Bottom line is, if you like the style of the Outdoor, its execution will not disappoint you. It is definitely worthy of the Orient Star moniker.

The blog would like to thank Orient – Epson Europe for providing us these Orient Star Outdoor models for review.