Orient Place

Orient Place

Sunday 22 August 2021

Orient Bambino Generation 2 Version 4 Review

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…


Thursday 19 August 2021

New Ladies' Mechanical Watches Added to Orient's Contemporary Collection

Orient has added a new model to its collection of contemporary automatic watches for women, with five references included.

The new model design features a clean, elegant dial, set in a 32mm wide stainless steel case. All references feature 8 rhinestones used as hour markers, a nicely rounded date window at 6, and a steel bracelet. The five references differ mainly in the dial color:

·         RA-NR2006A has a MOP (Mother-of-Pearl) with a gold-colored bezel

·         RA-NR2007A also has a MOP dial, and the bezel is steel.

·         RA-NR2008B has a black dial.

·         RA-NR2009S has a white dial.

·         RA-NR2010P has a pink dial.

The new model uses Orient's caliber 55744, a small mechanical movement made to fit inside the company's smaller watches. This caliber features both automatic and hand-winding up to a power reserve of 40 hours, with stated accuracy of +40/-30 seconds per day.

The front crystal is sapphire, the exhibition case-back is mineral, and the watch is rated to 50m (5 bar) water resistance.

Orient did not mention prices, and it will probably be a few weeks before these watches become available in stores, but they are likely to be around 300 USD – similar or a little higher than previous releases in the ladies' contemporary collection.


Sunday 8 August 2021

The Orient Bambino

The Bambino has been one of Orient's commercial pillars since its introduction. We've mentioned certain members of this vast model family on the blog before – but, I thought it would definitely be worth adding a more general post concerning it.

Most readers would likely be familiar with the Bambino in general. It became hugely popular as an entry-level automatic dress watch, offering classic elegance, good overall quality, and an excellent value for money.

Despite the simplicity implied when aiming at dress-watch characteristics, and the variety of Bambino designs, Orient were able to create a very distinct "Bambino DNA": a clean, spacious dial that curves very noticeably toward its edges; and a mineral crystal dome that curves in matching style to the dial.

Indeed, not everyone are fans of the watch, with the most common gripe concerning the case diameter, ranging between 40.5-42mm on most models, whereas many wish it had more old-school dress watch dimensions of 36-38 mm. Of course, for this purpose one may look to the "female" version of the Bambino, which measures 36mm.


The Different Models

Bambinos comes in different flavors, so let's try to put sort them all out. For clarity's sake, we'll only focus on "classic dial" models in this post, and will set aside other variations like the Small Seconds and Open Heart dial.

We will however include the latest 2021 release, despite being new and not officially a Bambino, we will call it "Version 6" (see versions below). Make no mistake, this is a nickname I'm giving it, so you're not likely to find a "Bambino V6" on Google… yet.

You'd notice Bambino's are often referred to by Version and Generation. What does this mean?

Generations is easy. The first, original "Gen 1" used Orient's old non-hand-winding, no-hacking, caliber 48743. A simple and robust workhorse, but now outdated. You can easily tell Gen 1 Bambinos by the writing "Water Resist" on the dial.

The second generation replaced the movement with the newer caliber F6724, offering hand-winding and hacking. And it updated the dial to read "Water Resistant".

The "version" of the watch refers to its overall styling, which (ignoring the "water resist" thing and some added dial colors) remained the same between Gen 1 and Gen 2, for each version. The following illustration explains this best.

Note that all versions have a case diameter of 40.5mm (without the crown), and the odd 21mm lug width – except, curiously, v4 that has a 42mm case and 22mm lug width.

Also note that versions 1 through 3 exist in both generation 1 and 2. Bambino versions 4 and 5, and so-called "6", were introduced only in the 2nd generation.


And What About The Watch Itself…?

This is all very technical. But how do we feel about the watch itself? Well, worry not. This short post was only an intro to the world of Bambinos. The next post on Orient Place blog will be a proper hands-on review of a Bambino. Stay tuned!


Photos of Bambino models in this review were taken from various Orient catalogs and ads.