Orient Place

Orient Place

Sunday 9 June 2024

Traveling With… An Orient

We often talk about watches being rugged and capable of surviving the rough outdoors, beyond the office doors and the neon lights under which they look so nice and clean. In my reviews, too, I often take note of features such as water and shock resistance, as well as suitable appearances (I think a little gold dress watch would look very much out of place, getting beaten up and soaked in some river, even if technically it would not be damaged).

To make this a little less theoretical, today's blog post is about my experiences with Orients in the wild. Once again, it's the M-Force models that take up center stage, but whereas my recent post about them was a bit academic, this time, we'll be taking a deep dive into the real world.

The first Orient to accompany me on my journeys was the EX00. I was about to go on a two-week trip in the Pacific Northwest and was looking for a watch that would be sporty, tough, yet comfortable. An ad by a familiar seller caught my eye. This first-generation M-Force, with its titanium lightweight case, seemed right for the job.

And it was! The EX00 was almost 20 years old at the time, which is not old at all for this type of watch. The convenience of titanium made it a perfect companion for this relatively long journey. And while the region – particularly in the mountains – generally has a cool climate, it was still summer (Seattle in particular was scorching on the day I visited there!) so the cool feel of this metal was also appreciated.

In the pictures above, by the way, are Mount Rainier and Smith Rock State Park. These are just two of many spots making the PNW trip memorable.

Jumping a few years forward, when planning a trip to Iceland in 2021 I already had bought the then-new 3rd generation M-Force, and had gotten used to (and even grown fond of) its bulky crown guard. Being perfectly comfortable on the rubber band and seemingly more robust than the old 1st generation model, I chose it as my wrist partner for the trip.

To be honest, by that time I was already thinking of the older M-Force as "vintage". With its non-sapphire crystal (and particularly the easy-to-scratch cyclops), I wanted to keep it safe. I was planning some hikes in Iceland, and not knowing exactly what to expect on the remote island, going for sapphire and a newer case construction seemed to make sense.

Plus, to be honest, despite getting used to its design – I still felt I'd rather get the newer watch scratched than the old one (or any of my other dive/tool watches)…

The pictures above are of Vestdalsfossar waterfall and Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. It is honestly impossible to pick photos from a trip around Iceland. The picture with the watch, of course, was taken at the famous Reynisfjara beach.               

The newer M-Force was also my watch of choice for a shorter trip to Spain. More driving was planned than hiking this time; however, I always find the time for a short (or not so short) walk in the outdoors, so a watch that's ready for anything that might come its way is always a good thing.

The photo shows the lovely view of Málaga as seen from the Mirador de Pocopán. It is an easy 5 km hike with a surprisingly steep and slippery slope to the viewpoint…

Meanwhile, the 2nd generation "Beast" arrived. Possibly the toughest and boldest of the lot, this one also has two critical features: it's the heaviest of the lot, and – my favorite, design-wise. The combination of heft and not wanting to get it scratched or banged, means I don't usually take it on long journeys.

I do still take it, occasionally, on short trips close to home…

For the next trips, I went back to the 3rd gen M-Force. In Norway, this choice made sense. I arrived in October, intentionally aiming for the end of the tourist season. The timing earned me beautiful views of trees in fall, and much less crowded viewpoints over the fjords.

It's a risky affair, of course, as I did had to cancel one planned trip due to road closure (granting me instead a trip through the 25 km of the longest road tunnel in the world, Lærdalstunnelen, also a kind of experience). And I did find myself on a road that began to freeze with snow, forcing me to stop and wait for a little sunshine.

This also became my rainiest trip – though I was preparing for it. As I drove further away from Bergen, things got better, but I still found myself on some very slippery trails – one of which I just had to abort two-thirds of the way to the top, as things got too muddy. That was definitely a time when having a waterproof watch with decent case protection proved to be effective, as on some parts of the path I had to use my hands to climb safely.

Pictured below, a small stream just off the amazingly scenic road to Geiranger, and a place near Fjærlandsfjorden where I'd honestly be happy to retire to, one day... I must admit that among all the beautiful countries I have visited, I found Norway to be the true beauty queen.

A good place to wrap up this story would be the Faroe Islands. Going to this usually cloudy, often foggy location, with plenty of hikes and the memory of skiddy Norwegian paths in mind, I again went for the newer M-Force, now becoming sort of a habit – my go-to watch for remote trips.

The islands proved to be less rainy than I feared; indeed, I arrived in late May (yes, just a couple of weeks ago) relying on statistics showing this was actually the least rainy time of year, despite July – September being warmer. I really don't mind the cold.

Throughout the week I spent on these beautiful, calm – almost dreamy – islands, I encountered one really rainy day, five days that were cloudy but mostly dry during the day, and surprisingly – one day of sunshine and blue sky. As you can see above, in these two pictures taken near Norðradalur. 

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