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?...


  1. Lovely article as always. I have a yellow orient star saturation diver. And i am in agreement with you that orient just might surprise based on their recent release of air king divers....

    1. Thanks! And yes, keeping fingers crossed for a new OSD...

  2. Always hoping for a new OSD, but how can it beat the old one?
    I would posit that the OSD bezel is the best of any watch - it has made me a true bezel snob.

  3. Es un reloj impresionante. Yo disfruto dos de ellos, el negro y el blanco de la 3ª generación.

  4. ISO-6425? I think not! In fact, it was tested according to Japanese safety standard. Sorry my friend, just want to set the record straight. Bought mine (white dial same as above) in Osaka back in January 2015 and have worn it, diving or on dry land, since. My best investment!!

    1. Hi! Well it makes sense it was tested for JIS. I've seen references of this watch compliant with ISO but probably it's JIS certified. Thanks!