We're now going back in time to the earliest documented history of Orient. We know some facts about its incorporation – how it launched as Tama Keiki Co. in 1950, and was renamed Orient a year later and launched its first "Orient Star" model – But there's very little record of the factory's watchmaking activity between then and 1955.
Then, in 1955, Orient launched its first documented in-house designed movement, the "T-S Type": a hand-winding, central seconds, 18,000 BPH caliber.
We do know it was not 100% made in-house, as some of the parts could not be manufactured by Orient at that time – it took two more years for Orient to accomplish the finishing of some of the finer parts of the mechanism. And obviously the design borrowed from an existing movement (I believe one by Citizen).
One of the interesting features of the "T-S" type was its hacking mechanism. This was not a very common feature at the time, and it seems its implementation by Orient had not been perfect.
Generally, when the second-hacking mechanism is engaged, it puts a sudden stop to the movement of the second hand, which can cause the balance wheel to stop abruptly as well. This sudden stop can cause additional wear and tear on the watch movement, especially if it's done repeatedly or incorrectly. Possibly, the "T-S" was not properly designed to withstand the additional stress caused by the second-hacking mechanism. Ultimately, many watchmakers removed the hacking mechanism when the "T-S" was brought in for repair.
Anyway, the movement was good enough to form the basis for the brand's new watch, the "Orient Star Hinomatic". It was not, of course, automatic – all Orients at the time were purely hand-winding machines – but it was manufactured at the brand's Hino factory in Japan. And it also became the brand's first export, as Hinomatics began selling in China.
Note that while some sources mentioned the Hinomatic as the first central-second Orient, it was in fact preceded by the Orient Star Center-Second (that used a non-Orient movement).
The Hinomatic Sports was produced in a number of versions until 1957, when the T-S type was replaced by the improved T type movement that spawned an abundance of new models. But – that would be the topic of a new post…
Pictures that appear in this post were taken from the 1999 Orient Watch Catalog book, and old Orient sale ads.