Today we follow up on the Bambino intro posted a couple of weeks ago, with a hands-on review of an actual watch. For this purpose I picked up my friend LM's piece – a second generation Bambino V4, reference FAC08003A0.
This watch immediately creates an elegant impression when you look at it off-wrist. Its big (42mm case) dimensions emphasize the dial design, which is very clean and classy. The curved dial is covered by a curved crystal that flows into the curves of the case… resulting in a very organic and natural appearance.
This particular reference also benefits from a very elegant color combination (in my opinion, at least). The gold-toned markers and hands provide a nicely warm complementary color to the anthracite dial behind them. That said, sharper contrast would have been welcome as from some angles of light reflection the hands get a little lost.
Still there's no denying that's a beautiful dial, sunburst and all, with very few distractions as the dial text (Orient, Automatic, Water Resistant) is small compared to the overall size of the watch-face. The date window cuts into the 3 o'clock hour marker, but somehow it does not take too much away from the elegance of the design.
The looks are further enhanced by the leather strap that Orient chose to bundle this particular reference with. On the outside it is brown suede that reflects the shade of the markers and hands, whereas the lining leather, also visible from the sides of the strap, is dark and works well as a continuation of the dial color.
On the wrist, the watch does reveal some of its weaker visual points. This has nothing to do with comfort – the watch wears comfortably, at least on wrist sizes 7" or larger. The strap is supple and the watch itself sits flat and securely on the wrist.
But, it's big. And now I can definitely relate to those who'd wish it was smaller. I do wear some big watches, and certain types of watch designs make larger sizes work, but the Bambino's dressy style would definitely work perfectly at around 38mm – and not as perfectly at its current width.
And, when you start thinking about it being big, you also start noticing other things – such as, that those hands, which perhaps belong in a 40.5mm model, should really be longer. Ideally, the second hand should reach the minute/second markers, and the tip of the minute hand should also be closer to those markers.
Most of the time when lighting conditions are decent and the watch is legible, then the technical side is all nice and easy. We already know the F6724 movement that's inside very well – nothing too advanced there but it's a solid workhorse that keeps 40 hours power reserve, is reliable and easy to maintain, and offers adequate accuracy.
Everyday usability is fine for office wear – water resistance is minimal at 30m, and crystal is mineral, not sapphire; but again, considering the purpose of the watch, these specs should not be seen as any major disadvantage. And it's so inexpensive most owners would happily just buy a second, more tool/dive oriented watch, for when a gentle dress watch is less appropriate.
Speaking of prices – you can get this model at ridiculously low prices nowadays, typically around 130-150 USD – less than half its original retail price. This is also the range where most Bambino models now sell for. These are plastic-watch-at-the-mall kind of prices that get you an excellent watch that looks great, is reliable and well made, from a respectable brand. What's not to like?
Honestly, at these prices, any disadvantages the Bambino might have seem almost irrelevant – unless your wrists are really too puny for its size. But then again, you have plenty of 40.5mm Bambino options – and, there's that 36mm version too…