In 1957, Hamilton introduced a revolutionary watch named Ventura. The Ventura was the world's first electric watch – not quartz, mind you, as that took another 12 years to make – and as such, was given a most futuristic case. Designed by General Motor's famed Richard Arbib, it was the Ventura that introduced triangular watches.
The Ventura's design overtook its novel mechanism in becoming the model's signature characteristic, to the point that nobody cares if modern Ventura reissues are mostly automatic; and it made the triangular case desirable, so that even Patek Philippe rushed to do one of their own, and in 1958 presented the reference 3412, designed by another big name: Gilbert Albert.
It was not surprising then that Orient, in one of its periodic attempts to enter European markets by borrowing from a European design, soon followed with its own little triangle.
Orient Star Dynamic
The brand's first go at the triangle concept was released in 1958 under the Orient Star Dynamic name. Produced alongside other Dynamic models with more traditionally shaped cases, this was a very accurate duplication of the first Ventura.
As Hamilton's watch was made in gold, the Orient was 14K gold filled. It was a fairly small watch, 29mm wide, and around 34mm lug to lug. Like other OS Dynamic versions, the triangular piece contained the Type T movement.
Two versions were made – one that had a black dial, and another with a special two-tone, white and golden dial.
Interestingly, Orient also produced a pocket watch version. That version had a symmetric design, as opposed to the wristwatch's asymmetric case.
Orient Olympia Calendar
A few years had passed, and in 1963, Orient returned to the triangle. This time the source of inspiration was Hamilton's Pacer – a model that followed the Ventura, with not as ornate a case – and the platform was Orient's Olympia Calendar, and its 19-jewel Type LC movement.
The Olympia version was larger than its Dynamic predecessor, at 31mm across and 42mm long. Again, it was produced as a gold-filled case, on a steel base.
Orient Weekly AAA
The Orient Weekly Auto AAA was a fairly common model in the mid-1960s. The non-auto Orient Weekly AAA, however, was much rarer – basically having the Auto's movement with its rotor removed, renamed caliber "Type MCY" (there was also a date-only version, Type MC).
In 1965, Orient used the Weekly AAA as the basis for its next triangular design. This time they manufactured a watch with distinctive lugs, different from Hamilton's, and also larger – being 33mm wide, and 52mm long from lug to lug. No gold plating was applied.
Orient introduced the Chronoace line in 1969. It featured a new family of self-winding movements, cal. 42xxx, and numerous models ranging in pricing and design.
In 1970, Orient took caliber 42 and placed it inside the Weekly AAA's triangular case. The Chronoace's familiar date quickset button was omitted, as there was no place for it in the case.
This was the last of Orient's vintage triangular models. Note how each link in the chain added something new to its predecessor: the Olympia added a date; the AAA added the weekday; and the Chronoace added automatic winding.
in 1996 Orient chose to release a new triangular watch, paying homage to its vintage ancestors. The new model featured a "Pacer" case much like the Olympia, small 29mm dimensions like the Dynamic, markers much like the AAA and Chronoace, and dauphine hands – again much like the Dynamic.
The new model was branded as Orient Star. Two variants were produced: reference NWAA-A0 (or WZ0051NW in Japan) with a gold-plated case, and ref. NWAA-C1 (or WZ0061NW) in steel. The movement inside was cal. 55141, a small mechanism used primarily for women's watches.
Pictures that appear on this post were taken from various sale ads and the 1999 Orient Watch Catalog book.
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