it an open heart dial, call it a semi-skeleton watch, whatever name you use –
the concept of watches that offer a glimpse into the mechanical movement has
been a familiar design theme of Orient since
this year, Orient presented their latest iteration of the concept, dubbed
Skeleton", aiming to add depth to the dial by dividing it into two
stacked layers. Today we'll be reviewing one representative of this new model:
the Layered Skeleton reference RE-AV0B02Y (RK-AV0B02Y in Japan).
When I first saw Orient's official photos of this model, I thought this watch needs to be seen to appreciate whether the design works. When I first saw it with my own eyes, I thought: I need to wear this a little longer to make up my mind. A week later, it becomes clear why there's no easy answer here, as there are a number of aspects involved here.
- Is the watch impressive? It pretty much is. Elements like the case finishing and the five-link bracelet make an immediate visual impact, and the view into the beating heart of the watch can also impress, particularly those who are not used to semi-skeleton dials.
- Is the watch elegant? One might argue that the mixing of steel and gold-toned markers, or even the very notion of multiple dial layers, each with different etching, does not meet the conservative definition of elegance. In terms of outline and proportions, though, it's all very harmonious.
- Is the watch pretty? The answer is obviously subjective. I would say it is definitely not ugly, and it has some cool design elements. However, at no point did I feel I want to stop work and just look at it – which is what a truly beautiful timepiece should make me do.
now that we've established why assessing this model's looks is so complicated
and inconclusive, let's dive into the details.
the dial, which is a complicated affair here. The top layer is brown and
carries a fairly clear herringbone pattern. Underneath it is a blue layer
which, upon closer inspection, shows a kind of paisley pattern with leaves and
flowers. The texture on both layers is subtle enough in most lighting conditions,
though it can burst into a more powerful presence under strong, direct sunlight.
elements above the dial are all quite stylish and finely executed, including
the hands, markers, and the Orient Star logo. If you're not too concerned with the
mixed use of gold and steel hour markers, you will likely find the dial
attractive and well made even under the magnifying glass.
cut-offs in the dial provide a view of the balance wheel and a few other bits
of metal. The sight of the engine room is far from Haute Horlogerie but is not
too shabby either.
famed Orient Star quality reveals itself more prominently in the outer
workings, namely case and bracelet. The case (seen before in other Orient Star
models) has beautifully flowing lines, and its complex shape features
alternating finishes of vertical brushing (top of the lugs), polishing (chamfers
and bezel), and circular brushing (case sides).
bracelet too looks good with broad brushed links separated by thin polished
links, and its visual connection with the case works well. The milled clasp at
its back looks good too.
exhibition case-back allows further observation of the mechanism. The movement's
backplates are adorned with perlage, while the rotor has some very subtle Geneva
stripes and a golden Orient Star logo. Nothing that we have not seen before,
but no flaws here either.
in all, it's a mixed bag. If one were to judge this design by dress-watch
standards, a disappointment would be the likely result. However, consider the
Layered Skeleton a casual, or even sporty, watch to wear to the office and to
the pub with the boys after, and it makes more sense. Like many Orients, you
have to accept that it is not following common conventions other than the
brand's own, and then you can start to like it.
Layered Skeleton is not a lightweight at just over 150g, but it is very
comfortable to wear nonetheless. You feel certain heft, but in a reassuring
way, unless one is really used to very small, light watches. The 41mm wide,
48.3mm long case lies smooth on the wrist, and the downsloping lugs ensure the
bracelet also wears well, spreading the weight evenly around the wrist.
bracelet is definitely high-end, a clear differntiator of Orient Star from
"Mere Orient" watches. It is flexible enough, yet feels robust and
secure. Needless to say, you will experience no hair-pulling at this level of
clasp too is comfortable, easy to use, and does not protrude or push into the
skin as in too many other watches.
it fit under a cuff? The watch is not particularly slim, being nearly 14mm
thick. However, it's smooth enough to slide under your sleeve if it's not too
it's comfortable to wear but isn't too small. What wrist sizes are we talking
here then? I reckon 6.5" and above would wear it well. Under 6.5",
its wrist presence may appear bulky – or manly, depends on one's perception… –
so trying it on before buying would be recommended.
movement driving the Layered Skeleton's is Orient's caliber F6F44. A member of
Orient's current crop of modern, 50 hour movements, it is expected to maintain
its siblings' reputation for long-term reliability. The accuracy measured on
the sample unit reviewed was +12 seconds per day, which is within the stated
all current Orient Semi-Skeletons, this watch includes the power-reserve
indicator, and does not have a date function. And, like many of the brand's
open heart watches, it features the small seconds in a sub-dial. I tend to like
this configuration, as the power-reserve and small-seconds create certain
symmetry on the dial.
is excellent: despite the busy dial, the hands stand out in all lighting
conditions, including direct sunlight – and fairly dark spaces. Telling the
time is therefore always quick and easy. There is some lume on the hands and
dots next to each hour markers, so you get some night-time visibility as well –
not dive-watch levels of it, though, but every little helps.
is fine. You get 100 meters of water resistance, which is fairly good for a
watch that's not a diver or a tool watch. Front crystal is tough, AR-coated
sapphire; The case-back, being less prone to scratches, is covered by mineral
speaking, what we have here is an impressive watch: it is constructed and
finished to Orient Star's usual high standards and features some original
design ideas; and it is a practical, comfortable daily wear that's powered by a
robust and reliable automatic movement. On paper, a very worthy Orient Star.
I was left a bit cold by the Layered Skeleton. Not sure exactly why, but I felt
that the dial was perhaps too technical for my liking, and the color scheme did
not excite me too much either. Possibly, bolder colors could lift this design
to a higher level: imagine this dial having a red top surface, with piano-black
said, colors are indeed very much a matter of personal preferences. If you do
like the overall design concept, it's worth checking out the other references
in the series, as you get versions with a white/silver dial, black, and that
limited edition sparkling green color.
for the Orient Star Layered Skeleton are generally in the range of 800-900 USD,
meaning they are selling at close to MSRP. Not a cheap watch, then, so you'd absolutely
want to make sure you like it before committing to the expense. If the style
speaks to you and you do go ahead and make the purchase, the execution will not
The blog would like to thank Orient – Epson Europe for providing us this Orient Star Layered Skeleton watch for review.