Orient Place

Orient Place

Wednesday 23 September 2020

More New Releases By Orient

Following yesterday's announcement of the new M-Force and Sun & Moon watches, here's a brief overview of some of Orient's other recent announcements – most (but not all) of which are new color schemes and variations of existing models.

Contemporary Semi-Skeleton Orient Star

First up, we get three new references in Orient Star's Contemporary semi-skeleton watch family. Ref. RK-AT0009N, RK-AT0010A, and RK-AT0011A, feature grey, brown, and blue dials, respectively – the latter two being in "butterfly shell" as the translation from Japanese goes (presumably, this is like Mother of Pearl).

While MOP dials are often associated with ladies' watches, the darker shades and the style of the 39.3mm wide case put these on the "men's watches" shelf (although, obviously, all watches are unisex by nature and anyone can wear anything).

Moving Blue

Orient have already released several watches under the "moving blue" tagline last year – and now, here are a few more. And why not, as this seems to be a worthy collection and a very attractive dial color.

The new blue collection features four different models, all of which are no-date, open heart models: these are the contemporary "modern skeleton", the contemporary semi-skeleton, the classic semi-skeleton, and – the only completely new design in this collection – a ladies' semi-skeleton, quite different from the current ladies' open heart models.

Each of the models comes in two distinct references, one being the global version – and the other being a limited Prestige Shop model. The only difference seems to be the extra leather band provided with the Prestige Shop models, despite costing the same.

"IO" Solar Ladies' Watches

Last but not least, Orient have presented five new variants of their solar-powered "IO" branded watches for women. The differences are subtle, and these are all light-colored dials, elegantly designed, 27.6mm wide watches, costing around 200 USD.

New Sun & Moon Watches for Men and Women

Orient announces today a bunch of new Sun & Moon watches – including a new design for the women's quartz watch, and a new matching reference in the men's semi-skeleton Sun & Moon.

The quartz models now feature a cleaner look than the previous line of women's Sun & Moon watches. Measuring 34.3mm wide and 39.6mm long, with a thickness of 8mm and 16mm lug width, these are classically and symmetrically styled.

Four references will be available. Reference RN-KB0002A features a rose-gold plated case and a white dial with a texture that Orient refers to as "butterfly shell". Ref. RN-KB0003S has a more standard white dial, and yellow-gold plated case. Ref. RN-KB0004A features a very attractive blue dial, again with the "butterfly shell" texture.

Finally, reference RN-KB0005E features a green dial and comes on a bracelet – as opposed to the leather strap attached to the other three variants. This one is limited to 700 units.

All four references feature mineral glass crystal, 30m water resistance, and cost a little under 300 USD.

In addition to the above, Orient also presented a new variant of the men's open-heart Sun & Moon, featuring a green dial – reference RN-AS0104E, limited to 1,500 units. With its gold-toned hands and markers, it is specially designed to pair up with the limited-edition women's model.

Like its siblings, this open-heart automatic is equipped with Orient's caliber F6L24. Its case is 41.5mm wide without the crown, 47mm long, 13.8mm thick, and has a 20mm lug width – into which, in this version, a stainless steel bracelet is fitted. Price is around 450 USD.

The blog's first impression, based on the official photos and info: looking good! This time, Orient gives its female customers a very attractive offering. And the matching semi-skeleton piece looks pretty good too with the green dial.

The New 2020 Orient M-Force

While some images of the new M-Force have surfaced a few weeks ago, it is now official: after ditching the famed M-Force moniker a few years ago in favor of the Triton, Orient now takes a swift U-turn and releases a new M-Force. 

First, a quick reminder: the M-Force was Orient's chosen name for a nearly two-decade-long line of tool/dive watches, built to be the brand's toughest timepieces. Take a look here for the blog's review of the M-Force lineage.

The new M-Force sure looks tough. With dimensions of 47.3mm case width, 52mm lug-to-lug and 13.2mm width, and an overall design which is far from subtle, it could easily have been mistaken to be a creation of Orient Brazil. Interestingly, lug width is only 20mm.

We'll get to the design again later, but first – the rest of the specs. The movement is Orient's automatic caliber F6727 which features the time, central seconds and date. Power reserve is 40 hours, and stated accuracy, as usual, +25/-15 seconds per day.

The case, bezel, and bulky crown-guard are all stainless steel. Front crystal is sapphire, and the case-back is solid. Water resistance is 200m, ISO compliant, the bezel is unidirectional, and the crown screws in, to provide the appropriate air-diving capability. 

At this time, Orient is presenting five models of the new M-Force:

  • Reference RN-AC0L01B features a black dial, black bezel, and a stainless steel bracelet that features solid end-links and seems properly tough and should be of high quality.
  • Ref. RN-AC0L02R offers an attractive looking red dial (always an Orient favorite), and the same black dial and steel bracelet. 
  • Ref. RN-AC0L03B features a stealthier version of the black dial, this time inside an all-black case, and attached to a silicon strap. 
  • Ref. RN-AC0L04L has a green dial (which in photos actually looks more like dark teal), again with a silicon strap. 
  • RN-AC0L05G is a limited edition of 1,600 units, celebrating Orient's 70th anniversary. As such, it features the brand's iconic "Jaguar Focus" dial, along with a bronze-plated case and crown guards.

The blog's first impression, based on the official photos and info: well, this is definitely not the most elegantly designed M-Force ever, although we've seen some awkward references in this line's history before. More beast than beauty, then.

The watch does, however, feature some pretty convincing specs, and for the price (which ranges around 630-670 USD, depending on the version), we can hope for an excellent build quality to match.

What do you think of this new M-Force? Voice your opinion in comments below!


Thursday 10 September 2020

The Solid Gold Royal Orient Ref. WE0011EG

There's something about a solid gold watch that's hard to describe. Is it the weight of the precious metal? Is it because of how shiny it is? Or maybe it's just the psychological effect of knowing, the piece you are holding or wearing isn't just gold plated – it's the real thing.

Solid gold watches are generally quite expensive and reside well outside the price bracket where brands like Orient usually roam. Most brands' gold models start at the high four figures (in US Dollars), or five figures if we're talking luxury brands. There are very few entry-level brands that offer gold watches that one might refer to as more accessible, say around 4-5,000 USD, and these would often be very plain looking pieces (and let's not name names here, okay?)

Enter Royal Orient, and its promise to deliver proper luxury (or, if one hates the overuse of the term luxury, call it "a very exclusive combination of rarity and quality"), with designs that are anything but plain, at relatively affordable prices.

In the modern era, Orient has produced three references of solid 18K gold watches. The first was ref. DN00-A0, a 33mm wide piece with a beautiful dial, released around 1998. That model used a famed Swiss hand-winding movement named Peseux 7001.

Ten years later, the brand introduced a new gold model based on the in-house caliber 48A40. At first it was released as "Orient Star Royal" ref. WZ0061EG – and then, as properly re-branded "Royal Orient" ref. WE0011EG. Today we'll take a closer look at the latter one.

Everything about this watch whispers pure class. Case dimensions are 35.5mm wide (without the crown), and 41mm long. I've seen some online websites mentioning case widths ranging from 33 to 36mm, but trust me, I've taken measurements myself…

Is it small? Yes. Is it too small? Well, not really. Dress watches are at their best measuring between 36-38mm wide. And honestly, a 35.5mm gold case has the wrist presence and visual impact of a steel watch a couple of millimeters larger. So this really works, and it wears perfectly even on my wrist, the same one that not too long ago hosted the 48mm beast that is the Orient Netuno.

The case is beautifully polished, and this really brings out the glitter of the metal. I've actually skipped a few options to buy this model that seemed to have too many scratches in photos, before buying this one. Gold is soft and scratches easily (though it can be buffed just as easily, so hairline scratches do not necessarily mean a polish is required). The piece I ended up owning arrived in mint condition, which added a lot to the wearing experience.

The face is just as exquisite as the case. You get a finely textured dial, golden hands and markers (not sure if solid or gold plated), and that beautiful and rarely used Royal Orient logo. I have to admit that while finding the "Star Royal" version (that had the Orient Star logo) was easier, I knew I had to get this reference. The golden royal logo may seem like a small thing, but it adds so much.

Also made of 18k gold in this watch are the crown, and the folding buckle. Together with the high-quality alligator leather strap, the result is impressive. Take away the logo (just for a moment, right, because we love the logo and want it back), and you'll be able to fool any watch snob into believing this is the product of some Swiss luxury watchmaker.

Now what about the movement? Well, Orient has nothing to be ashamed of here. Caliber 48A40 is a beautifully decorated mechanism, offering 50 hours of power reserve, +10/-5 seconds a day accuracy, and a very sweet winding action. And what it lacks in pedigree, it surely more than makes up for with Japanese reliability.

This watch has non-gold sieblings encased in Sterling Silver, ref. WE0031EG and WZ0031EG, which are also beautiful. The version that I do not like as much is the one that has the silver case and gold markers – ref. WE0021EG – which lacks the purity of the all-silver model.

The silver versions can be found at around 1500 USD, give or take, depending on the condition of the watch and the mood of the seller. The solid gold reference can be valued at anywhere between 2-3K USD, again depending on its condition.

Now, this might sound like a lot in the context of most Orient watches; but compare it to other gold watches, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anything offering this level of watchmaking in this price bracket. Personally, I consider this to be not just a good acquisition but a great one. This Orient is an eye candy, a conversation piece, and an absolutely perfect dress watch.