Orient Place

Orient Place

Thursday 27 October 2022

New Shades of Grey for Orient's "Layered Skeleton"

The Layered Skeleton watch was introduced in early 2021. When reviewing it, I wondered whether a more standout color scheme would have elevated the impact of its complicated design; now, however, Orient is presenting two new references of this model with an even subtler color scheme than before…

Reference RK-AV0B06N features what Orient is referring to as a "greige" dial, that is a cross between grey and beige. In pictures, the lower layer appears to be more silver-grey, and the main plate of the dial seems a slightly golden shade of beige. Well, however you want to call it, it's a very pleasant palette that combines well with the metal bits of the movement and the gold hands and Roman hour markers.

Ref. RK-AV0B07E is presented as "olive". It's a calm earth tone, more or less uniform across the layers of the dial. Green is generally accepted as a nice complement to gold, and I think that in the case of this more desaturated shade of green it matches the few golden elements even better.

Both variants are technically identical to the older references in the series, with caliber F6F44 beating inside the 41mm wide case. Both new models include both a stainless steel bracelet, and a leather strap.

The new watches are JDM, and are exclusive to the new Orient Star online shop. They are priced at around 700 USD at the current rate of the Japanese Yen, which is almost 10% more than other Layered Skeleton watches – including the Prestige Shop version that also includes an additional leather strap.

I'm not sure what is the reason for the price difference – but perhaps a positive way of looking at it is, that Orient prefers not to raise the prices of older models (as opposed to many other brands that have increased prices recently) and instead puts higher price tags on new releases.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

New Orient Store With New Mako Models

Orient announced today the opening of a new online store, that is joining the online Orient Star store that opened earlier this year. Both these stores sell and ship exclusively to Japanese destinations, and while numerous websites offer worldwide shipping of domestic Japanese products, it's unlikely that this should be an attractive offering, cost-wise.

What is interesting, however, and might be worth looking into for global delivery, is the launch of two new Mako references, exclusive to the new store.

The Mako model was officially being replaced by the newer Kamasu, which offered a number of upgrades over the older watch. However, the popularity of the Mako (and generally lower prices after the introduction of Kamasu) kept it alive.

Now, Orient offers two new Mako references, both featuring colorful gradient dials (otherwise resembling the Mako II setup of hands and markers), and matching colored bezels (with the larger numerals actually resembling the Kamasu / Ray bezels). And most importantly, both have front sapphire crystals.

Reference RN-AA0817Y features a gradient Orange dial, and an orange and grey bezel; Ref. RN-AA0816L has a blue dial, with a blue and grey bezel. Both are the usual Mako/Kamasu dimensions of 41.8mm wide, 46.8 lug to lug, with 22mm wide bracelets.

One might say these are actually Mako/Ray/Kamasu combos. Possibly Orient making efficient use of leftovers from all types of older models… but nonetheless, they definitely look nice!


Sunday 23 October 2022

Orient "Stylish and Smart" Disk

A few years ago I was reminiscing about how it started, "it" being my deep dive into the history of Orient. I can add one more detail to the story now…

As I mentioned in that post I linked above, I was already collecting watches for a while before my interest in Orient got reignited. The trigger for this renewed interest was, of all models – no other than the humble Disk.

The Disk was introduced as part of Orient's early 2010s "Stylish and Smart" collection, which consisted of fun, mostly colorful and unconventionally designed watches. 

At the time I was hoping to add this sort of unassuming, inexpensive watch to my collection, so I hurried (well, not hurried. But eventually went) to the local Orient AD, just to find out they actually had no Orients on display, and the salesperson – of a shop belonging to the official brand importer mind you! – tried to talk me out of this watchmaker's products altogether.

Well, me being me, and that salesperson being as obnoxious as he was, the result of the brief conversation was the exact opposite of what he'd pushed for. I decided I was going to get an Orient, and that it was time to dive a little deeper into the Japanese brand's line-up and see what they've been up to.

Anyway, back to the Disk watch. The first batch of Disks was released in late 2011. Six references were presented, all sharing one key feature: the hour hand was replaced with a rotating disk that had an arrow-shaped cutout. That cut-out actually served as the "hand", pointing toward the hour markers, which were similarly cut out instead of applied on top.

Technically, this was very simple, but quite innovative. The color under the cut-outs added some style, thus fitting the "Stylish and Smart" tagline. The six versions presented differed in their dial color schemes, as well as the case and bracelet or strap colors.

Another notable feature shared by the different models was the tinted case-back crystal, which revealed the movement – in this case, as in all later men's Disk models, Orient's automatic caliber 48743. This movement did not feature hand-winding and hacking.

In 2012, Orient released a couple more versions aiming to be even more playful in their use of color. The "Rainbow" Disk had a multi-color plate under the dial, so that the hour markers were in all the colors of the rainbow, and the hour "hand" would change its color to match, as it rotated. The "Tricolor" Disk was a bit more restrained: its hour hand would simply switch from a red rectangle and blue triangle to a blue rectangle and red triangle, gradually as it moved around.

The overall construction of the watch was similar to the first models. All of these versions featured the same 41.4mm wide case, stretching 47.4mm lug to lug, and having 11.3mm of thickness. The lug width of all these models is 22mm.

In 2012 Orient did the sensible thing and presented the women's model of the Disk. Five references were released, featuring different color schemes. Some of the designs were unique to the new references, and some were made to match the men's watches, as "pairs". A new men's reference, WV0821ER, was introduced as a white-dial version of the Rainbow, creating an additional pair.

Technically similar to the original model, the women's Disk watch was smaller in size (measuring 29mm across, and 35mm lug to lug), and used the smaller, no-date automatic caliber 55542.

The final batch of Disks arrived in 2014. This time, the twist was in the shape of the hour markers. These were cut out as numbers, instead of simple sticks. The hour hand was also changed, now made of three squares.

Four references were presented under the new "Typography" Disk line-up, three men's and one women's.

All these models were originally sold as fairly inexpensive models, generally under 200 USD. However, as the Disk model was discontinued, and is gradually becoming harder to purchase, online prices are going up, and I'm seeing both NOS and pre-owned ones asking for much higher prices. I think a new or "as new" Disk at no more than 200-250 USD, can still make a nice addition to one's collection.


Pictures that appear in this post were taken from Orient website and catalogs.

Sunday 2 October 2022

How Do You Collect?

Are you a collector? Are you a hoarder? Technically if you have more than a couple of watches, you collect – as all those articles discussing "the perfect three-watch collection" provide evidence to.

Orient is definitely a brand that lends itself to collectors; the great variety of models, and the generally affordable range of prices, mean that the typical watch enthusiast does not need to hold back on adding another item to his watch box now and then. And that box doesn't have to be particularly fancy, we're not looking at a high-end watch winder and safe set here! We're keeping it modest.

So, how do you collect?

Some follow a theme. I know this guy who has every Seiko diver since 62MAS. From each family of divers he has one per year. 1965, 1966, 1967… Some of them really look the same to me, but I appreciate the tenacity. Personally, I could not spend so much time (and money) on sourcing so many watches that are so similar. I think there are so many designs, colors, styles, and materials out there… I need the variety.

Some tick boxes. They know they need a diver, a dress watch, a beater or tool watch, perhaps a chronograph or a GMT… they make sure they have one (or more) of each type. I actually dig this, though it could make one a bit preoccupied with checking a box, while missing out on other nice watches that could actually fit their lifestyle better.

Many methods of collecting then… For me, I have one main rule, which is to diversify as much as possible. I don't focus on one particular style, colorway, era, size, and so on. I don't really even focus on the brand; I keep returning to Orient as I feel I know the brand and its history well, and I prefer to make knowledgeable purchases. But I do have plenty of watches from other makers, Japanese, Swiss, and other countries.

Out of the diversity emerges the versatility of the collection. Even when limiting myself to just the Orients I have, I can find a match for every occasion. And every color.

Another rule I follow, is that watches are meant to be worn. I do not buy safe queens, and I do not buy a watch if its mechanical or cosmetic condition means I am unlikely to wear it. This also means I do sometime have to regrettably pass on interesting opportunity to get vintage models that might be cool, but are simply too small!

Yes, some of the items in my collection are gentler than others. Some I'll only put on indoors, working in the office, and not on a day out. Some I'd be more careful with near water. But they all get wrist time.

What about you? How do you collect? You're welcome to comment, here, or on the Facebook/IG post that brought you here J