Orient is kicking off 2021 with the introduction of a new Orient Star "Skeleton" model, equipped with a new movement featuring a respectable 70-hour power reserve. This is also a nice nod to the 70th anniversary of the Orient Star brand, being celebrated this year. And it's 30 years since the introduction of Orient's first skeleton movement. Let's party then!
The star (pun intended) of the show is no doubt, the movement, being both in full view and boasting advanced watchmaking tech applied for the first time in an Orient timepiece. The new "46 series F8" movements utilize a new silicon escape wheel developed in house by Epson, Orient's parent company, to make power last for almost an entire day longer than the previous skeletonized caliber 48E51.
70 hours are considered a dress-watch benchmark, enabling owners to take the watch off at the end of the workweek, switch to their weekend attire and (presumably) sports watch for the next three nights and two days, then put the dress watch back on without having to wind it.
Accuracy of the new movement has been greatly improved as well, now declaring +15/-5 seconds per day, instead of the old movement's +25/-15.
Orient is releasing two versions of the new Orient Star Skeleton: Reference RK-AZ0001S has a champagne-colored dial, and its movement is finished in gold. Reference RK-AZ0002S features a white dial and silver-colored movement. The watches house hand-wound calibers F8B62 and F8B63, respectively, differing only in their color, as mentioned.
Case size for both references has been very slightly reduced compared to the older skeleton model: width is down from 39mm to 38.8, while thickness and length remain at 10.6mm and 46mm respectively. Lug width is still 20mm. Water resistance remains at 5 bar.
In comparison to the older Orient Star Skeleton models, it appears that overall finishing has also been taken to a higher level in the new models, offering more elaborate decoration and chamfering of the various bridges and visible parts of the movement.
The view from the case back also seems nicer now, and in the new models is viewed through a sapphire crystal instead of the old models' mineral glass. Front crystal, of course, is sapphire as well.
What we have here then is a very impressive piece of watchmaking. Being positioned as the brand's new flagship, the Orient Star Skeleton showcases the manufacturer's engineering, design, finishing, and overall watchmaking skills.
All this comes at a price, of course. The new models will both be priced at close to 3,000 USD, almost a 20% increase over the older model. However, this increase appears very reasonable considering the many improvements.
The new Orient Star Skeleton should be available to purchase starting March 18, 2021. Till then, watch this space, as within a week or two the blog will feature the story of Orient Star history!