Orient Place

Orient Place

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Orient's Soccer Watch

A few months ago, I thought it would be cool to find a watch with a football theme (association football, that is) – mainly, one with a bezel for counting the 45 minutes each half of the game is played – for no special reason other than love of the sport. And I wasn't specifically looking for an Orient.

Later, I found out two things I was not aware of. The first: that most Japanese call the game Soccer, like Americans, not Football. The second: that once one starts searching eBay for a Soccer Watch, rather than Football Watch, one might find the rare vintage piece that is the Orient Soccer Watch.


Okay, you might ask, what is the big deal? Isn't this just a diver-style watch where the first 45 minutes on the bezel are colored slightly differently?

Well yes, and no. Technically you would be correct in asking this. But take the more romantic approach, which is how watch collecting should generally be viewed, and you'll see the difference. I mean – it does say "soccer" very clearly on the dial!


What we have here is a fairly large, sporty watch. The steel case measures 45mm across, not including the crowns, and 49mm lug to lug. This model dates back to the 1970s, and like many sporty Orients was probably considered pretty large at the time. Even by today's standards, it is quite big and hefty.

The size definitely does not make it any less wearable. As its overall length is moderate, this watch should look good on most wrists – referees and couch-footballers alike.


The inner rotating bezel can be turned using the crown at 2. Unlike a diver's bezel, this one is bidirectional. The idea is that you'd simply set it to where the minute hand points at the start of each half of the match, to know when time is up.

The movement inside this watch is caliber 16720. This one never became as popular as the 469 workhorse – perhaps lacking some of the latter's renowned reliability – but it does have some advantages, such as setting the date from the crown. In fact, you can set the date both back and forth, a rare feature.

Winding, setting the date, and setting the time, are all managed using the crown at 4, when in first, second, or third position respectively.


A cool watch with a cool movement, then. Not the rarest Orient ever, but far from common. These seem to pop up at online stores once in a while, with asking prices generally in the range of 200-300 USD, which is reasonable for a well-kept watch.


3 comments:

  1. Hey Mr. Orient, big fan of your blog and I was wondering if I could ask your opinion on this: Orient has no official distribution in Australia, but they are also not allowing any official online sellers to sell Orient watches to Australian addresses. Why are they cutting off an entire country from official sales?

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    1. Interesting, I hadn't really thought about this. I do get plenty of blog visitors from Australia! I can only imagine there's some dispute going on over distribution rights, otherwise it makes no sense. Well good for you there's plenty of unofficial online sellers out there...

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  2. I have been aware of the situation for 18 months, so it's likely even longer. It is quite strange that they would purposely lose sales for such a long period of time over rights issues.

    Unfortunately, the grey market sellers tend to have a much smaller range available at any one time. For example, the 36mm bambino seems to be contintually sold out worldwide, with the exception of official USA sellers who aren't allowed to sell to Australia.

    I have a crazy conspiracy theory - Seiko persuaded Orient (possibly through Epson) to operate this way so that Seiko wouldn't lose Australian sales of their new 5 and Presage lines. Half-joking, but you never know.

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