Bulova Marine Star Review – The Beautiful Oceanic Chronograph

Bulova Marine Star Review 96B256

In today’s post, I’m going to write about Bulova Marine Star review, a beautiful chronograph watch with diver’s watch look. What’s special about this watch? Well, for a start, it’s designed nicely and looks great with modern styling. Just look at that deep blue watch face… Hats off to Bulova’s design team for creating a very exquisite timepiece!

 

Marine Star 96B256 – Beautiful Oceanic Blue Dial

Since there is quite a number of Marine Star watches, I’ve chosen the most gorgeous of them all to review, the 96B256 model with blue metallic dial. The watch is a perfect combination of polished stainless steel case, “marine” blue dial with metallic sunburst effect, white markers/hand and orange accent on the smaller hands.

Despite the elegance of the watch, the Marine Star lineup is supposed to be the brand’s diver’s watch line – except that it’s not really a diver’s watch… More on that later on.. Let’s have a look at Bulova Marine Star review shall we.
Bulova Marine Star Chronograph Review

“.. with dive-look details.” This means the Marine Star watches are not real diver’s watch, just a look-a-like. A real bummer to be honest but the watch sure looks damn good!

 

Bulova Marine Star Specification (96B256)

Diameter: 43 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Dial: Blue metallic sunburst dial
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword hands
Markers: Index markers with lume
Inner Dial: Rotating inner bezel with minute markings
Subdials: Running second hand (bottom), 1/10th second chronograph (right), 60-min chronograph measurement (left)

Movement: Bulova Quartz chronograph movement
Movement Features: 1/10th second chronograph function
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per month
Power Reserve: 2-3 years

Water Resistance: 100 m / 330 feet
Other Features: 1/10th second chronograph, Date window, Rotating outer ring for dive measurement

Bulova Marine Star Manual: Click Here For Manual (Source-Bulova Website)

Best Place To Buy: Amazon. MSRP is $425

 

Diver’s Watch With Chronograph Subdials

This Marine Star is packed with diver’s watch look details. It has big index markers and sword hands for optimum visibility. On top of them, lume are applied exhaustively for usage in low light situations.

The biggest attraction is of course the marine blue dial, applied with a metallic sunburst effect on the watch face. I like blue, and I’m really smitten by this watch’s dial color. It just looks totally gorgeous!

The usage of white markers/hands and the orange accents (on the subdial hands, main seconds hand tip, date) really complement the blue dial beautifully. It’s like a work of arts!

Around the outer ring of the dial are minute markings that is can used to track diving time. This outer ring can be rotated by using the crown at top left (10 o’clock) position. I kinda like this outer ring design as it gives more dial area to wonder at that luxurious blue watch face. Not to mention the outer chapter ring is sloped from the dial to the crystal giving a nice 3-D effect.

 

Bulova Marine Star Review 96B256x

It’s a really good looking watch. The oceanic blue metallic dial is very befitting of the “Marine Star” line up. The polished stainless steel case also make it more stylish

 

The 96B256 is a chronograph version of the Marine Star watches (there are also the normal watch version). It has 3 extra subdials: running second hand (bottom), 1/10th second chronograph (right) and 60-min chronograph measurement (left).

It really looks gorgeous and symmetry, save for the date window at bottom right (which is a great addition to function btw). Usage of the blue and white colors are just nicely done. With some orange colors sprinkled on it, the dial design looks perfect. It looks sleek, very sharp and modern.

 

No Minute Markings On The 60-Minute Subdial

The only thing that I’m not satisfied with the dial is the left subdial (60-min chronograph measurement). The markings on the subdial are for every 5 minutes which is not appropriate. I really wonder how can we actually figure out for certain how many minutes has the chronograph run since the markings are every 5 minutes? It should have a marker at every minute.

 

Bulova Marine Star Review

No minute markings on the 60-min chronograph subdial (9 o’clock position). A bad decision that reduces the practicality of the chronograph

 

I believe this is done for aesthetic reasons as putting a marking at each minute will make it look busier. Bulova also wants to make the 60-min subdial to be symmetry with the 1/10th seconds (both only have minimal markings on them). I concede it look great too.

But then what good does it do if we cannot accurately know how many minutes has passed with the chronograph? The minutes are the MOST important measurement. Most people only run their chronographs for a few minutes at a time. To not able to tell it accurately is a real flaw to a chronograph watch.

 

Finely Crafted Case

The polished stainless steel case really just make the Marine Star looks great. The 43 mm diameter case is not too big nor too small, a good size for many men’s wrist. It has a thickness of 13 mm which is just average for a chronograph. The lug width is 22 mm and attached to a stainless steel bracelet.

 

Bulova Marine Star Review

Look at how detail and fine the craftsmanship of the Bulova Marine Star case

 

Bulova certainly put lots of effort on the case. The case is crafted in such a way that it looks being cut by laser. The bezel sides are textured – there is no indication of cutting corners here. Just like the Bulova Precisionist, the brand really knows how to design a good case. Just like the dial, the stainless steel case also looks elegant and sharp.

 

No Screw Down Crown/Pusher

The first thing that I noticed is missing from this “diver’s watch” is the screw down crown and pushers. That’s when I figured out that this is not a real diver’s watch.

The thing is, the crown plus the 3 pushers/knobs are 4 highly critical area for water ingress into the watch. Not having screw down protection on all 4 of them is not that good for sure.

Since it has 100 m water resistance, I think we can use it for swimming (I’ve had a non-screw down watch too and used it for swimming for many times. No issue at all). But to use this watch for deeper dives? Nope. I don’t think that a wise thing to do.

 

Only Mineral Crystal?

Another thing I’m having trouble understanding is the mineral crystal that it has. Mineral crystal is not as scratch and impact resistant as sapphire (read this post on differences between watch crystal types).

But then Bulova listed this at $425 MSRP – perplexing since watches at that price point should always have sapphire instead of the much cheaper mineral crystal. Other brands (even the Swiss) would throw a sapphire for anything above $400.

Fortunately, this watch is also selling on Amazon for a much cheaper $220. If you guys want to buy the Marine Star, I’d suggest to get it from Amazon for cheaper and more sensibly price for the watch.

 

Bulova Marine Star on hand

 

Bulova’s Quartz Movement – Chronograph With 1/10th Second

Inside the Bulova Marine Star is a quartz movement with chronograph. By using a quartz movement, Bulova is able to keep the profile of the watch thinner while also keeping the costs down.

Automatic chronographs are much more expensive with the cheapest ETA chronograph movement can be had at more than $500, but will it comes with lesser function and thicker profile.

In my opinion, a quartz chronograph is the way to go especially if you are limited on budget. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m still leaning heavily of automatic movements as I believe they are more sophisticated, have character and I just love those mechanical moving parts.

 

Bulova Marine Star Review 96B256

Quartz chronographs are the better choice in my honest opinion. More functions, more accurate and much cheaper than their automatic counterpart

 

But for chronographs, I’d prefer a quartz movement because it’s much more functional and can be designed to have lots of functions. And of of course it’s more friendly to our wallet =)

Just take a look at the Bulova Precisionist. It has a 1/1000th second chronograph with very beautiful gliding seconds hand action. Mind you, these are the kind of things can never be replicated by an automatic watch (only to my knowledge.. if there are automatic chronographs that can achieve those feats, I’m sure it will cost a bomb).

Another advantage of quartz movement is how accurate it is. A +-15 seconds per month accuracy is fairly typical for a quartz while an automatic can gain or lose that much in a day. The power reserve of this quartz is around 2-3 years, though it relies on how heavy the chronograph is being used.

 

Bulova Marine Star Review

 

Who Is The Bulova Marine Star For?

If you love blue, then this Marine Star 96B256 is the watch to get. It has that beautiful blue sunburst dial that’s very lovely to look at. Plus, the white and orange colors of the subdials/markers works beautifully with the blue dial for a gorgeous look on the dial.

If you love chronograph with modern style, this is the perfect watch for you. Its strength lies in the beautifully designed dial and detail case shape that’s just gonna attract attention of those that laid eyes on it =)

 

Who Should Not Get This Watch?

But if you want a real chronograph diver’s watch, then sadly this is not for you. Its lack in markings of the 60-min subdial measurement make it not a great or functional chronograph to use. Without screw down crowns and pushers, it’s not a really dependable diver’s watch either.

Some might disagree with me by saying a screw down is not needed for water resistance. That’s true as seals and gaskets can be placed around the crown/pusher stems inside the watch to avoid water ingress. But how long can this last? A screw down is the best solution for good and reliable water resistant watch – the one that diver’s need the most.

 

For the best chronograph watches, check out my compilation here

 

For a good diver’s watch, I’d suggest to check out the Seiko SKX007/SKX009 and SRP777 Turtle, two great diver’s watch with affordable price tags. The Seiko Monster is also a good choice, though it has an aggressive look that might not be everyone’s preference.

 


Watch this video by Bulova of the Marine Star watch

 

Pros And Cons

Below are the summary of pros and cons about this watch. Disclaimer: this is based solely on my opinion. If you guys disagree with me, kindly leave your comments down below. Let’s have a nice discussion about this =)

Pros:

  • Beautiful metallic sunburst blue dial
  • Great chronograph with 1/10th seconds measurement
  • Sleek and elegant watch perfect for sports or casual use
  • Accurate quartz movement

 

Cons:

  • Mineral crystal can be easily scratched and not shatter-proof
  • No screw down crown and pushers
  • Not a “serious” diver’s watch
  • 60-min chronograph measurement subdial only has markings at 5-min intervals

 

Want To Buy The Marine Star? Get It Cheapest On Amazon!

The MSRP of this Bulova Marine Star is about $425 (from Bulova’s website) but we can always get it cheapest from Amazon. Amazon currently lists this 96B256 model for just about $220, almost 50% less than the MSRP. Amazon also has other models of the Bulova Marine Star watches on the site that you can see. Click the link below to check it out!

 

->Click Here To Check Out Bulova Marine Star 96B256 On Amazon<-

 

Final Thoughts

Bulova has created a really beautiful watch in the Marine Star 96B256. It’s metallic blue sunburst dial gives the oceanic look to it, complementing the “Marine Star” name of the line up of watches. Having a diver’s watch and chronograph elements make the watch looks more busy, but elegant and modernly styled. As I’ve mentioned above, if you like blue, then this is the watch to get =)

 

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I hope you guys enjoyed this article on Bulova Marine Star review. If you have any comments or feedback, just let me know.

 

Leave your comments in the section below and don’t forget to subscribe =)

Till next time then.

Cheers!
Isaac

Orient Ray II Review – An Improved Orient Ray Diver Watch

Orient Ray II review

Affordable Automatic Dive Watch – An Orient Ray II Review

Today, I’m going to write about Orient Ray II review, a follow up of some sort to the review of original Ray I made sometime ago (you can read my review of the original Orient Ray HERE).

Back then, I was impressed with the beautiful design, day date function and the fact that its a very affordable automatic watch.

But the main disadvantage of the original Ray is the outdated movement (non-hacking and non-manual winding), a problem that the original Mako has too.

Luckily, Orient was very sensitive to its fans needs and released this new improved version – the Ray II (along with the new Mako II) that comes with updated movement.

The use of modern automatic movement in this second generation Ray is very welcomed, and I’m not the only one that is happy about this.

Now, let’s get on to the Orient Ray II review shall we.

 

Orient Ray II Blue

Update: I’ve recently featured the Orient Ray II in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

In A Hurry? >> Get Your Own Orient Ray II HERE

 

Orient Ray II Specification

Diameter: 41.5 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Dial: Black or blue dials
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shaped hands with lume
Markers: Circle index markers with lume
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating diver bezel with 120-clicks

Movement: Orient Caliber F6922 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: Japanese made in-house movement, 22 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Luminous hands and markers, Date display, Day display, Screw down crown, Unidirectional rotating diver bezel

Where To Buy: Amazon (usually less $200, than Click the link below). It’s MSRP is  $335

 

Sporty Diver Watch Dial

The look of the Ray II is a typical normal diver watch – but executed perfectly. It’s what people will call the modern dive watch with the customary circle index markers and minute markings on unidirectional rotating bezel.

Unidirectional rotating means the bezel can only be rotated in counter clockwise direction. This is a standard for all dive watch because the bezel is used to time diving time so the bezel. So a unidirectional bezel is used to avoid divers accidentally rotate it as this could spell trouble.

 

Orient Ray II Blue

 

The dial comes in two colors, either black or blue. The black is matte black but the blue on the other hand has this majestic sunburst metallic effect to it. It’s really beautiful to look at seriously. The old Ray has a more darker sunburst blue dial by the way.

So if you like a watch that catches people attention, I recommend to get a watch with sunburst dial like this. People are surely going to complement about it =)

Apart from the traditional circle markers, this watch also has the customary big bold hands of diver watches. The hands are sword shaped like, with the hour hand having a two-tier design which is a nice little Easter egg in this watch.

 

Good Looking Lume On The Dial

 Orient Ray II Black

 

Both the hands and markers have lume applied on it substantially giving the watch a nice lume performance.

The seconds hand is stainless steel with a red painted tip.

On thing that I love is how Orient went to great lengths to apply a small amount of lume on the tip.

This level of detail is very surprising, especially for a watch costing $200.

 

 

 

Orient Ray II lume shot

 

Day Date Display For Convenience

A great thing about this watch is the inclusion of day date function. To have these two features are very beneficial, especially if the owner intends to use it as a daily beater watch for work.

It will give a higher level of convenience to the wearer. There is no need to ask around or check our smartphones for what is the date of today. A glance at our wrist is all it needs to know the date.

Overall, the dial design of the Ray II is almost the same with the original Ray, just a brighter blue shade of sunburst dial.

It has a diver watch look, with all the elements done perfectly. The watch is moderately proportioned and not too busy. The usage of day and date brings the watch to a higher level of functionality.

 

orient ray ii on hand

 

A Diver Watch Case

The watch case of this Ray II is almost exactly the same as the original Ray. It has 41.5 mm diameter which is a very nice size for any men’s wrist. It’s not too big or too small in my opinion.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about 6 things to consider when choosing your wrist watch, a suitable watch for the size of your wrist is a must. Just like a fine tailored suit, a watch with the perfect size to YOUR wrist will look much much better compared to an over-sized watch (no matter how expensive it is).

It’s also quite thick at 13 mm. With all of this, the watch is by no means light. This will be good for those that prefer heavier watch. It’s certainly feels more rugged and sporty.

The lug width is 22 mm and attached to a stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is nice, but comes with hollow end links to the lugs. This gives it some rattling noise. But for this price point, the bracelet is quite passable. Orient certainly took pride in their products as they engraves their logo on the bracelet clasp.

 

Want The Ray II? >> Get Your Own Orient Ray II HERE

 

Orient Ray II Nato strap

If you don’t like the bracelet that the Ray II comes with, a Nato strap can also be paired with the watch. With today’s booming online shops, these cheap Nato straps are just a click away.

 

The case also is rated to 200 m water resistance, thanks to the usage of screw down crown and caseback. But there are many complaints of how there are some water ingress into the watch just by swimming in a pool or showering.

For me, I’ve swam a watch with only a 100 m water rating without any screw down crown and it’s still ok. I believed those that got water into their watches don’t tighten the screw down crown properly.

But still, since this watch is not an ISO rated diver watch, I’d stay away from any deep dives. Leave those to the real diver watch such as the ISO rated Seiko SKX007 and SKX009.

Another thing to add is this watch uses mineral crystal. For those of you that don’t know what is that, I suggest you read my article on types of watch crystals (the glass on top of the watch if you may) HERE.

Mineral crystal is the cheapest but it’s not the strongest to resist impact, and can be scratched easily. So I would suggest anyone that has this watch to really be careful on what you do. A deep scratch on your watch glass can be very painful – to your heart and also your wallet.

 

3 Styles To Choose From

Orient has produced 3 different variations for the Ray II: Black dial, Blue dial and Black dial with gray IP coated case and bracelets (also known as Orient Black Ray Raven II). The IP coated version will costs more since it require a special method to coat the stainless steel with gray color.

In my opinion, the Ray II Blue is the most distinctive with the glowing sunburst dial, followed by Black Ray Raven and lastly the black dial version. Below are side by side comparison of these 3 watches.

 

 Orient Ray II Black Orient Ray II Blue Orient Black Ray Raven II

 

Shown above from top: Orient Ray II Black (FAA02004B9), Orient Ray II Blue (FAA02005D9) and Orient Black Ray Raven II (FAA02003B9).

 

Updated Orient Caliber F6922 Automatic Self-wind Movement

A celebrated update from the old Ray is the new Caliber F6922 movement. This movement is updated from the older 46943 movement.

The old 46943 movement is a very basic automatic movement without any hacking (stops the second hand/time when setting the time) and manual winding (able to recharge the mainspring by rotating the crown. Read my guideline on how to wind a watch here).

The day change also is not built inside the movement, hence the need to have an additional pusher just for the sake of changing the day display.

With the new F6922 movement, these flaws are all corrected. Orient has made it hacking and manual winding. They also incorporated the day change into the watch too.

The result is a modern automatic watch movement. In doing this, the jewel count in this movement has increased from 21 to 22 jewels. They kept the beats per second the same, at 6 beats per second. The power reserve is also comparable, at 40 hours.

On accuracy, the published rate is +- 15 seconds per day though most Ray II owners will report that their watches gives a higher accuracy, some as little as +- 5 seconds per day.

But these accuracy are not always come right out of the box. It will normally take some time until the movement can “break in” and become more accurate.

Also as I’ve pointed out in my article of accuracy of automatic watches, it will surely help to manual wind our watches to give it a full power reserve once in a while. It will definitely help in increasing its accuracy.

 

Comparison Of Orient Ray Vs Ray II

So how did the new Ray II compare to its older brother? Let’s find out!

Side by side comparison of the black version of Original Ray (top) and the new Ray II (bottom)

 

Dial: The dial of these two watches are basically similar. The Ray II just take the design without changing it – which make total sense because if it’s ain’t broken, don’t fix it =). A difference is on the bezel where the Ray II has 120-click bezel while the original Ray has only 60-click bezel.

 

Case: The biggest difference is the pusher at 2 o’clock that Ray has. It’s purpose is to change the day display. Ray II got rid of it by incorporating this function into the movement/crown itself. The other aspects of the case is almost the same.

But I have to say the pusher actually gives the Ray a more unique look, a different character. Ray II has the more normal diver watch look to it, while the original Ray is distinctive and out of ordinary.

 

Movement: This is the part where the biggest difference is. As I’ve mentioned above, the F6922 movement is used inside the Ray II while Ray has the older 46943 movement.

Both movements are in-house made by Orient but the F6922 is more modern with hacking and manual winding features. The result is a better movement technical wise.

 


A video review of the Ray II plus a comparison with the original Ray

 

So which one is better? The original Ray or Ray II? In my opinion, the Ray has a very distinctive look, unlike the Ray II with normal diver watch design.

It’s definitely more unique and very different than other countless automatic diver watches out there.

But the Ray II has a better technical specification with the new movement. The manual winding is just so beneficial and functional. For this, I would have to go for the Ray II purely on the better and more modern movement.

Plus, last time I checked the prices of Ray is higher than the Ray II – most possibly because of reduced production or what not.

So for those undecided between these two great watches, that’s another incentive to get the Ray II, a cheaper and better (technically) watch =)

 

Like This Orient Ray II? Check Out Orient Watches For Sale At Amazon!

If you like this Orient Ray II, you might want to take a look at Amazon. Currently, Amazon lists Orient watches for prices lower than its MSRP.

The MSRP for this Orient Ray II is about $335 (source: Orient’s website) while at Amazon you can get it for around $150 to $200. That gives up to 40% discount! Click links below to check out these Orient Ray II deals on Amazon.

Orient Ray II Black (FAA02004B9)

Orient Ray II Blue (FAA02005D9)

Orient Black Ray Raven II – Gray IP Coated Stainless Steel Case (FAA02003B9)

 

Conclusion

Are Orient watches any good? Well, I have to say they are. And many people also have the same opinion. The previous Ray version has a lot of character, but its not a really really good automatic watch for me (no hacking, manual winding). It’s still looks good though and is high value for money.

But this new Orient Ray II has improved it much more with the new F6922 movement. With a classic diver watch look, 200 m water resistance and very affordable price for an automatic, this is a great watch that’s hard to pass by.

 

I hope this Orient Ray II review has been very helpful to you guys. If there is any question or comments on the watch, feel free to drop it down below. Till next time.

Cheers!
Isaac.

Orient Defender Review – Unique Looking Military Watch

Orient Defender Review

Hi there! Today’s post is going to be about Orient Defender review. It’s an automatic self-winding with military or field watch styling. But the big difference is on the dial design – it has these 2 subdials for 24-hours time and day indicator – making it a very interesting military style watch while being very functional. And it’s quite cheap for a full automatic watch! Read on for the full Orient Defender review.

Orient Defender Leather Strap

Orient Defender Specification (ET0N002B/K)

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug to Lug: 48 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Matte stainless steel case
Strap: Leather strap with pin buckle

Dial: Matte black or gray dial
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shaped hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume
Subdials: 24-hour subdial (left) and Day display subdial (right)

Movement: Orient Caliber 46B40 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: Japanese made movement, 21 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m
Other Features: Luminous hands and markers, Date display, Day subdial display, 24-hour time subdial, Screw down crown

Best Place To Buy: Amazon at $250

 

Origin Of Field Watches or Military Watches

For those of you that are not aware, field watches or military watches are those watches that have this distinctive simple and easy to look styling. Their name “military watches” comes from the fact that these are the kind of watches used by army men during the first and second world wars. An interesting fact is these military men are those that initially popularized the usage of wrist watches.

 

Shown above is the Hamilton Khaki Field Officer (left) and Seiko 5 SNK809 (right), two examples of military watches. Notice how the similarity of their styling (also with the Orient Defender) with the rugged look and clear visibility to make it easy to tell time

In the earliest days of watch, it is used more as a pocket watch. Wrist watch is rare and only worn by women but as a “bracelet watch” for the simple reason that women don’t wear jackets with pockets to store their pocket watch. Men only limit their watch to pocket watches as it’s considered to be more gentlemanly to wear one. But around this time (18th century), watches are considered jewelry of high value (most are hand-made mechanical watches) and can only be afforded by the most affluent people.

During the war periods, the army men discovered the importance of synchronizing attacks without relying on hand signals which can give your position away and are not reliable (in the dark for instance). Thus they begin to use wrist watches as we know it today and the popularity of watches continued to boom afterwards.

Nowadays, I’m sure most military men would use prefer a digital quartz watch as they offer more functions (backlight to tell the time in the dark please!) so these military watches with analog are not having that much military time anymore. But the simple styling and vintage aesthetic look of it continue to win people over and it’s still in demand nowadays.

Orient Defender Gray ET0N002K

Orient Defender Gray ET0N002K

Unique Military Watch Dial With 2 Subdials

The dial of this watch is very unique and different than other military watches. Right off the bat we can see the two subdials on top of the watch face. The top left subdial is dedicated for 24-hour time display which I really love. The problem with analog watch is we don’t know what time it is (am or pm) as the hour hands only display 12-hours. This is not really important but I find it a bit annoying when I have to restart a watch from stop – since you don’t know what time (am/pm) the watch is in, more often than not you are going to encounter the annoying problem of the date/day displays change at noon. That’s very inconvenient and downright embarrassing when you are one day ahead of everyone.

The second subdial at right position (3 o’clock) is for the day display. It uses a circle instead of a normal day display (something like the date display at the bottom of the dial) which is quite unique I would say. At the bottom left is Orient’s logo and signatures. These elements make the dial unsymmetrical but very practical and unique. The 24-hour GMT subdial, day and date displays are very useful and make the watch highly functional.

Orient Defender Black ET0N002BOrient Defender Black ET0N002B

There are two colors for this watch: black and gray. Both color variations comes matte. The same design is also applied to the matte stainless steel case – a true military watch cannot be shiny because it will attract attention in battle field. It also make the watch look more tool-like and vintage. The markers are big and bold to assist in easily reading the time. The same is with the sword shaped hands. Both of these got lume applied on top of them to help with visibility in the dark. There are clear minute markings at the outer edge of the dial for more accurate reading of time.

Orient Defender Lume ShotOrient Defender lume shot

All in all, the dial is far from the simple and rugged styling of typical military watches. I believe Orient designed this watch with the intent of making it stand out from normal – the usage of 2 subdials and asymmetry dial make the look more interesting and busy but still following the standards of big bold markers and hands with matte finishing of military watches. It’s also very functional with the 24-hours time, day and date displays.

 

Matte Stainless Steel Case

The case is made from stainless steel with matte finish. This finishing (instead of the ordinary polished or brushed finishing) and the solid construction are clearly to make the watch more rugged and suitable for actual usage in harsh environments (war zones, mud, etc.). The usage of screw down crown and caseback also gives credibility to this. Because of this, the watch is rated up to 100 m water resistance. Since it has a screw down crown, there is no issue of using this watch underwater – you just got to be sure to screw it in properly beforehand. The case also is simply constructed without any complex case designs – it’s a $250 watch after all.

Orient Defender Review

It’s properly sized to most wrists with a 42 mm diameter and 48 mm lug to lug which is totally inline with today’s trend. It’s not too big for small wrists and not too small for bigger wrists. It’s also only 12 mm thick and quite light. Again, as a full military watch, the weight of the watch is important to be kept as low as possible. Our military men are going to have to carry those heavy equipments all around the battle field and it’s more beneficial to wear a light watch. The positioning of the screw down crown at the 4 o’clock position instead of the normal 3 o’clock also helps with making the watch more ergonomic. I find that the normal crown position will hinder our wrist movement to flex upwards and the unorthodox 4 o’clock position is much better (just that it look a bit weird though).

The Orient Defender comes with a leather strap attached to its 22 mm lug width. By having a normal lug width, it’s fairly easy to find a replacement strap if anyone don’t like the strap it comes with. I’ve seen a lot of owners pair this watch to a black or brown Nato straps and it look amazing. At the back is a normal screw down caseback and the top comes with a mineral watch crystal. I’m not a fan of mineral crystals as it’s not really scratch resistant and lack the ability to be polished (like acrylic does). But for a watch that comes in this price point, mineral is the standard. You guys can read my post here introduction to watch crystals for more info.

Overall, the stainless steel case is a tough and rugged case designed for actual field works. The matte finishing is meant to make it more functioning – no military men in their right mind would wear a shiny timepiece on their wrist which will blow their locations to enemies. The usage of matte finish of the dial is also because of the same functional reason. I like how it has a screw down crown that helps with its 100 m water resistance rating. A watch that can be used in and above water is very versatile for its users.

Orient Defender On Wrist

Orient 46B40 Automatic Movement

Inside this watch is the Orient 46B40 automatic self winding movement, Orient’s own in-house movement. Orient has been known to only use in-house movements for all their automatic timepieces – something that most Swiss brands can’t say the same. The usage of in-house movements give them the flexibility of altering or modifying any movement to suit the design of the watch. A simple change in the movement can be done by using parts that they have in hand. This makes Orient able to produce variable watch designs at lower cost than other watch companies.

The movement comes with 21 Jewels and vibrates at 21600 per hour or 6 beats per second. It’s non-hacking and has a 40 hours power reserve. In short, it’s a normal Japanese quality movement except with the addition of 24-hour time and day display subdials. Many reviews online about this movement has praised it to be quite accurate, with some even +-6 seconds per day. Though I would suggest if you want to get this watch, don’t expect very high accuracy for it. It’s best to downplay our expectations of accuracy for any non-COSC chronometer watches to about +-15 to +-20 seconds a day.

As I’ve written in this post here on difference between automatic and quartz watches, automatic watches is the less accurate, by a lot of times. Even a chronometer (the most accurate automatic watch) will gain or lose up to 6 seconds per day. A quartz will gain/lose that much in a MONTH. That’s a lot of difference in accuracy between these two and you will have to reset the time once every few days.

I believe it’s important for those joining wanting to buy their first automatic watch to know this fact to avoid regretting buying the watch. But in return, you are getting a piece of old technology that is kinda romantic, unique, has gorgeous sweeping seconds hand and very different than those boring and common electrical powered quartz or smartwatches most people wear today =)


Watch this video review for upclose view on the Orient Defender

 

Conclusion

It’s not hard to tell that this is an interesting and unique watch. The dial design with 2 subdials for 24-hour time and day display is not common after all. This with the applied lume on top of the hands/markers make this military watch very functional for day-to-day use. Not only that, the matte stainless steel case also lend some toughness and rugged look to it. With a slim body and light weight, it’s comfortable watch to be used for outdoor activities. Having a 100 m water resistance and a screw-down crown gives it’s owner more confidence too. For an interesting take on military watch, Orient’s little timepiece here surely impress.
I hope you guys like this Orient Defender review. If there is any questions or comments regarding this watch, feel free to drop it inside the comment section below.

Cheers!
Isaac

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Get Orient Defender On Amazon

Wanting to buy the Orient Defender? Amazon currently is listing it inside their website. It might be tough to find Orient watches at normal brick and mortar stores because not many carries them. So an online store like Amazon is the perfect place to shop these little known Japanese watches. Click the link below to check out the best deals on Amazon.

 

->Orient Defender ET0N002B (Black Dial) On Amazon<-

->Orient Defender ET0N002K (Gray Dial) On Amazon<-

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review (96B175)

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review

Today, I’m going to write about Bulova Precisionist review – a massive Chronograph watch. As Bulova has produced a couple of Precisionist models over the years, this review will be specifically about the Precisionist 96B175 model.

So what’s so special about this watch? First of all, it’s something we’ve never seen before –  a very cool racing inspired watch with huge and massive case (in fact it is 46 mm in diameter – very big indeed).  Secondly, the cutting edge Precisionist chronograph movement.

So now let’s take go to the Bulova Precisionist review shall we.

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph 96B175 Specification

Diameter: 46.5 mm
Thickness: 18 mm
Lug to Lug: 60 mm
Lug Width: 24 mm
Case: Stainless steel case

Dial: Gray carbon fiber dial
Watch Crystal: Mineral Crystal
Hands: Skeleton hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume
Subdials: 4 subdials for chronograph functions

Movement: Precisionist Chronograph High performance quartz movement. 262 kHz frequency
Water Resistance: 300 m
Other Features: Chronograph accurate up to 1/1000th second, Sweeping seconds hand, Date display, Luminous hands and markers, Tachymeter scale

Best Place To Buy: Amazon, MSRP is $825 from Bulova’s dealers

Bulova Precisionist Watch Movement

First off, what is Precisionist? Well, it’s basically a quartz movement watch. But it’s not a normal quartz watch as it’s a technically higher grade of quartz. There are two marvels that Bulova managed to innovate and put inside this watch: the sweeping seconds hand and the high accuracy of the watch.

A typical quartz watch will have a ticking seconds hand. The manufacturers can always make it so the the watch sweeps (like an automatic watch) but they didn’t because that will use too much battery. In short it’s designed to be ticking for practical purposes.

Bulova managed to make this watch sweeps while also keeping the life time to about 2-4 years (like any normal quartz watch) which is a huge achivement for the company. Little information was released on how they did it but the fact is the sweeping is very smooth and will beat most automatic watch out there.

I’ve attached a video here so you can see how fluid the seconds hand move and it’s downright gorgeous!

 

Watch the video review above to take a closer look at the watch. Notice how smooth the seconds hand sweeping motion is

 

Another technological achievement that the company did is with the quartz movement. A typical quartz uses a two-prong quartz crystal for its timekeeping device. Bulova uses three-prong and this increases the accuracy and frequency of the movement.

Normal quartz has a frequency of around 32000 Hz (means it will oscillates/move at 32000 times in one second) while this watch is 8 times of that at 262144 Hz – hence the 262 kHz sign on the bottom of the dial.

This high frequency movement as well as the three-prong quartz helps to increase the accuracy of the watch further with advertised accuracy of +-10 seconds per YEAR. As a comparison, normal quartz has a typical accuracy of +-15 seconds per MONTH. An automatic? Even COSC Chronometer movements will deviate by +-6 seconds per DAY. Now that’s a huge achievement by the company.

If you are one who dislike the inaccuracy of automatic watches but still would love to have a sweeping seconds hand, then this is the watch for you. Super accurate and has that glorious sweeping hand. Just remember to change the battery after a few years – it’s battery powered after all!

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review On Hand

It’s a huge watch for sure. Only the manliest wrist can pull it off perfectly

 

Massive 46 mm Diameter Watch Case

Let’s face it. It’s a massive watch. It has 46 mm diameter with an 18 mm thickness making it super big. For those with small wrists, I’d recommend you to stay away from this watch. But this watch is not just a big watch. Bulova made the watch to have this distinctive industrial look design, with sharp cuts everywhere on the stainless steel case.

There are lots of elements on the case, from the big bezel, the hex screws at the four corners (which is just for decoration only), the big ass square lugs and so on.

In short, this watch looks massive but in actuality many thoughts have been given on the case design. It’s totally unique and will definitely make a statement. You will either love it or hate it. I’d say you won’t be able to find a case with this much detail and design elements in this price range.

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review

The watch (case and crystal) has a slight curve to it

 

One thing that I really like is how Bulova make the case and crystal of the Precisionist to have a slight curve downwards. It’s really pretty in my opinion. It seems that Bulova has this penchant for curvy watches (one of their latest watches, the CURV has the most prominent curvy case around). The curve makes the case more unique: where do you find a big watch that also has a curve to it?

The crystal is mineral which is something that I don’t prefer – it’s easy to scratch (I’ve written an article about watch crystals here). With an MSRP of $825, it’s only appropriate for them to give a sapphire instead. After all, most Swiss watches which has a lower price tag has sapphire.

In my opinion, this is the weakest aspect of this watch. The glass also curved giving that nice visual effect by distorting the view. Another great aspect of the watch is the 300 m water resistance rating which is very very high.

I doubt that most people that buy this watch will actually use it for scuba diving because it’s quite heavy, but to put that high water resistance sure won’t be a harm. If anything, it gives the peace of mind that this is a very tough and rugged watch that can withstand all and any punishments =)

The stainless steel bracelet attached to the 24 mm width lug is very thick, much thicker than any other bracelets I’ve seen. It’s a good fit though – you can’t have a big watch with a thin bracelet right? It’s nicely done, with detail polishing strips on it.

Overall, the watch is very massive, and solidly built. It will definitely make a bold statement about yourselves. The high level of details on the case also makes it exceptional and unique than other watches out there.

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review

Motorsport Inspired Dial

The dial inspired from motorsports, with the a gray carbon fiber textured background. It’s a totally busy and flashy dial (as expected from any chronograph). I like how they use stainless steel and silver elements to contrast with the gray dial background. It really looks nice but also make the watch more readable.

The hands are big skeleton hands with lume while the seconds hand is yellow in color. It’s a very nice little design detail there. The markers are index markers with lume applied on it. There is minimal signatures on the dial with only the “Bulova”, “Precisionist” and “262kHz” on it.

There are a few updates to the dial with the first version having a bulova tuning fork sign at the top. The tuning fork used to be the company’s logo, but it seems they have decided to put it only at selected models. Honestly I’m not sure why they didn’t put it in this watch as it’s very special too!

4 subdials are on the watch which function as the time indicator for the chronograph. The top subdial is for 1/10 and 1/100 seconds measurement while the bottom is for 1/1000 seconds. The left subdial is for minutes while the right is for hours (until 12 hours only). The use of bigger subdials with silver outline for the top and bottom subdials keeps the watch face to have a symmetry look.

To conclude, the watch face is a very flashy and busy one as expected from a chronograph. It’s motorsport inspired with subdials that look like racing cars gauge panels. Colorful and cool looking dial on a big and rugged watch case.

 

Chronograph Accurate Up To 1/1000th Second

The chronograph function of the Precisionist is one of a kind as it can read time accurate to the 1/1000th second. This means it is a stopwatch that can tell you accurately that 57.768 seconds has passed.

Now that is a very big improvement over typical analogue chronographs that can only tell time up to the seconds only (i.e 57 seconds). This makes the watch as functional as a digital quartz stopwatch.

There are three pushers to operate the chronograph. The left bottom pusher is to change the mode from normal to chronograph. Top right pusher will start and pause the time while the bottom right pusher will reset the time.

Simply push the bottom left pusher to change the mode to chronograph. At this point, the seconds hand will beautifully glide to the 12 o’clock position and stay there until you push the top right pusher to start the time. Push it again to stop and take measurements.

Once finish, use the bottom right pusher to reset the time. (you can download this user manual for more information on the watch and its chronograph function)

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph Watch Review

A diagram showing the various elemtns locations and its functions

 

What I love about most quartz chronograph watch is how the seconds hand become a running seconds hand (ticking normally) and also be the stopwatch seconds hand. This is a huge advantage over automatic watch chronographs in which the seconds hand can only do one function only (normally become the stopwatch seconds hand and will remain stationary when you don’t use it.

There is also a tachymeter scale at the outer edge of the dial as a tool to know the speed of an object by using the chronograph and knowing the distance it traveled.

The chronograph function looks very nice (you can see the chronograph in action in the above video attached) but you have to beware that this is a battery powered watch.

Unlike the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph which is powered by solar – means it can run forever, the Precisionist battery will lasts from 2 to 4 years and using the chronograph frequently will reduce the battery life significantly.

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph 96B175 Price

If you’re interested to buy the Precisionist, then Amazon is the best place. Amazon usually has huge discount from the MSRP price of $825 from Bulova’s dealers. Click the link below to check out the best prices on Amazon.

->Click Here To Check The Best Price Of Bulova Precisionist Chronograph 96B175 On Amazon<-

 

Conclusion

The Precisionist is a very interesting watch. Hugely, boxy, highly detailed and solidly built watch case with a cool flashy motorsport inspired dial, this watch for sure will make a bold statement about the owner and grab people’s attention to it.

But I’ve got to say the most interesting point on this watch is its highly accurate quartz Precisionist movement. A deviation of just 10 seconds per year is totally unbelivable! The 1/1000th second chronograph also is something extraordinary for an analogue watch. For a one of a kind watch, this is it folks. Just make sure you have a big wrist or it won’t fit!

 

I hope you guys enjoyed my Bulova Precisionist review in this post. I would love to hear any comments or questions from you. Don’t forget to share this on if you like this article. Subscribe to my site (subscribe form is just at the right sidebar) so that you won’t miss exciting stuffs in future.

Cheers!
Isaac

 

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

 

Orient Symphony is another classy dress watch by the Japanese brand, and this review is dedicated for this beautiful timepiece. It’s in the same class as the Bambino, another beautiful dress watch by Orient.

Both are affordable and have the same classical look with the biggest difference in the crystal shape. Let’s get on the Orient Symphony review shall we!

 

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Orient Symphony in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

Orient Symphony (ER27007W) Specification

Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case (also comes in gunmetal and rose gold PVD case)
Strap: Leather strap with pin buckle

Dial: White dial (also comes in black dial version)
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Dauphine hands
Markers: Index silver markers

Movement: Orient Caliber 48743 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: 21 Jewels. 21600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second. Non-hacking and non-manual winding.
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day

Water Resistance: 50 m
Other Features: Date function, Exhibition caseback, Push pull crown

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Orient Men's ER27007W Classic Automatic Watch
List Price: $110.00
Price: $110.00
Price Disclaimer

Classic Looking Dial

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review ER27007W

The Orient Symphony has a nice traditional dress watch look. It has a good proportion due to its almost symmetry dial design. All the elements on the dial are moderately sized with respect to each other.

It has minimal signatures on it, with only the Orient logo, “Automatic” and “Water Resist” signatures on it. They are done in stylishly small italic font, which further give the watch a classical look.

The markers are stainless steel index markers. But what is interesting is the markers are beveled instead of flat, which gives a very nice dimensional look due to it reflecting lights from different angle.

The dauphine hands also has the same beveled design. On top of the markers at the outer edge of the dial are minute markings which is useful to help tell and set time accurately.

There is also a date window at the right for some functionality which is very beneficial, especially for those wanting to use this watch to work.

The dial comes in two color variations: black and white. I much prefer the white dial as I like how it harmonize with the silver stainless steel markers and hands.

The black dial on the other hand does not really go well with the hands and markers as they are light reflecting elements.

Moreover, there could be a problem to tell time in low light condition with the black dial if the markers and hands are not painted.

All in all, the dial is nicely done with various elements complimenting each other in harmony. Truly a nice design.

 

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

Slim Stainless Steel Case With Flat Mineral Crystal

The case of this gorgeous watch has an average diameter of 41 mm, with a thin profile of 12 mm. The Orient Symphony also has small short lugs, which will keep the watch short.

The use of short lugs will make sure that most wrists will be able to pull it off perfectly while also keeping the look of the watch compact and elegant.

This is very different that sports watches that have big bulky lugs which will really look more rugged on a men’s wrist.

But for this watch, the design is more to dressy and casual like so pairs of short and slim lugs are the wisest design decision.

It has a mineral watch crystal which is flat. This is the biggest difference of the Symphony and the Bambino, another popular dress watch by Orient.

The Bambino has a very domed mineral crystal, which looks great to look at. There are also some difference in the dial design but the difference in watch crystal form is the most obvious between these two lovely watches.

 

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

As you can see, the profile of the Orient Symphony is this and looks really sleek and stylish

 

The lug width is 22 mm, and is fitted with a leather strap that comes with pin buckle. There are 3 variations of the case finish: stainless steel, gray gunmetal and rose gold colors.

The gray and rose gold case colors are achieved by using Ion Plating technique to “paint” the stainless steel case. The rose gold version comes with a special markers and hands which also have the rose gold finishing on black dial, which to be honest looks great too.

Unlike Seiko, Orient seems to be more willing to fork out more money to produce different variations of a single model. This is a very good thing as not all people have the same taste =)

 

Orient Symphony Automatic Watch Review

Above is the Orient Symphony ER27006B with a black dial and silver stainless steel case – for those that prefer the cool black watch face look

 

Powered by Orient Caliber 48743 Automatic Self-Wind Movement

This watch uses the Cal. 48743 automatic self-wind movement made in house by Orient. The usage of automatic movement means that it basically does not uses any battery like a quartz watch.

Instead our wrist movement will rotate the rotor inside the watch (which can be seen from its open caseback) and then will tighten the mainspring. The mainspring is the source of power for the watch, which will last up to 40 hours in the Symphony.

Inside this movement, there are 21 jewels that act to reduce frictions at various moving parts inside the watch. It’s also moving at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second.

This means the sweeping seconds hand is actually ticking 6 times in one second. It’s without a doubt not as fluid as most Swiss movements that have at least 8 beats per second, but then we will get what we pay for right?

Swiss watches typically will go for more than $400, so for a watch that can be gotten at $200, it’s totally an unfair comparison right?

A big disadvantage with the movement is that it is non-hacking and non-manual winding. These two features are kinda normal for most automatic watches right now (I can’t even think of any Swiss watches that don’t have these functions) so to not have these features are a shame.

Hacking means the seconds hand will stop when you want to set the time – great to get the watch set accurate to the atomic clock.

Manual winding means the mainspring that powers the watch can be tighten by rotating the crown as an alternative of using the watch.

Both have big advantage to the usability of an automatic watch, though I have to say that in my opinion manual winding capability is a much bigger advantage to have (read my post here on why and how to wind an automatic watch for more info).

Overall, the movement is a robust and has been used in many Orient’s for many years without much issues, though I kinda feel Orient should upgrade all of their watches with their newer movement.

 

There Are Variations For Everyone

As mentioned above, Orient has produced at least 4 different variations of the Symphony. There are the black and white dials, that comes with either silver stainless steel, IP gray gunmetal or IP rose gold cases. You can see below pictures on the various variations of this watch.

Clockwise from top right:

1- Orient Symphony Black Dial With Silver Stainless Steel Case (ER27006B) 2- Orient Symphony Black Dial With Gray Gunmetal IP Case (ER27001B)
3- Orient Symphony Black Dial With Rose Gold IP Case (ER27002B)
4- Orient Symphony White Dial With Silver Stainless Steel Case (ER27007W)

Best Place With Cheapest Price To Buy Orient Symphony?

What’s the best place to buy this beautiful watch at the lowest price? The watch typically retails around $230 in Orient’s website but you can get it for a cheaper price on Amazon. Click the links below to check the latest deals on Amazon.

 

-> Click Here To Check The Best Deals Of Orient Symphony (ER27007W) On Amazon<-

Orient Men's ER27007W Classic Automatic Watch
List Price: $110.00
Price: $110.00
Price Disclaimer

End Thoughts

Orient Symphony is a beautiful classic looking watch with gorgeous dial and case design. It’s dial is very balanced, and all the elements are in harmony – befitting its Symphony name.

The stainless steel case has a thin profile and comes in 3 colors (silver stainless steel, gray and rose gold). The Caliber 48743 automatic in-house movement by Orient is a robust and workhorse movement.

All in all, this is a watch for those looking for a more affordable automatic dress watch that does not look cheap at all.  For a great value for money watch, this Orient Symphony is the one to have!

 

********

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this Orient Symphony review. Feel free to drop your comments or questions that you have for the watch. Till next time.

Cheers!
Isaac.

 

Introduction To Watch Crystal : What Is It, Types, Problems, Repair And Replacement

Introduction To Watch Crystal : What Is It, Types, Problems, Repair And Replacement

What is watch crystal? What is dial window? Can they get scratched or break? Can watch owners repair or replace them? These are some of the questions that anyone wanting to buy or already own a watch will surely have in mind – regardless of automatic, mechanical or quartz watch. Here I will cover all of these questions.

 

What Is Watch Crystal or Dial Window?

A watch crystal (aka dial window) is the glass in front of a watch and is as important as the case to protect the internal mechanism inside. As we use our watch to go to many places, it is the watch face that is most exposed to dirt, rain, water, or even impact from sharp edges. This is the job of the watch crystal – to protect the actual watch face (or dial) from these threats. Because of this, the crystals need to be strong and durable for it to be effective. It also needs to be clear so that we can still look at the watch to tell time. And lastly, it has to be secured to the watch itself to provide any water resistance rating needed.

 

Watch Crystal Types

There are typically 3 types of common watch crystals used in watchmaking.

1 – Acrylic Crystal

Acrylic is basically a type of plastic but not the soft easy to torn of kind of plastic. It is a special kind of plastic with the scientific name of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). A result of the chemical reaction gives a clear, durable and tough plastic which looks more like a glass due to its transparency. It has wide usage in our life today from kitchenware to lab equipment even to decorative items.

 

Lichtenberg figure in block of Plexiglas Acrylic

A typical decoration encased in an acrylic block

 

Acrylic is the among the first material to be used for watch crystals, which is why if you bought a vintage watch, then most probably it has acrylic crystal. Plexiglas and hesalite are some of the trade names for acrylic that is normally used for watchmaking.

Below are the characteristics of acrylic crystal:

  • Cheap
  • Very prone to scratch
  • Very hard (does not shatter or break easily. It’s plastic after all)
  • Looks different than other crystals (mineral and sapphire)
  • Can be molded into shapes (very domed crystals)
  • Warmer than normal glass crystal
  • Will wear and have yellowish fog after some time
  • Not as transparent as other crystals
  • Can be polished

 

Omega Speedmaster Hesalite Acrylic

An Omega Speedmaster with Hesalite acrylic crystal. Notice how domed it is? That’s an added advantage of acrylic – it can be molded into various shapes

 

It might seem that acrylic is not a good material to be used right? Even though it is very easy to be scratched and will wear out with time, it has one big advantage compared to the other crystal types: it can be buffed out. By using polishing material such as Polywatch (more detail below) and Brasso, and some fine sand paper for deep scratches, an acrylic crystal can be made new in just minutes! That’s a very big advantage of acrylic crystal.

Another thing to note is commonly vintage watch has acrylic crystal for good reasons. First, that’s what is accessible at that time (other glass are just too expensive to be used in a watch). Second, acrylic can be shaped into domed crystals with very distinct and gives beautiful reflection under light. It will scratch easily of course, but these watch owners know that acrylic can be polished. Not to mention it also does not shatter like glass will, and have a higher impact resistance than other glasses. If you have a kid with a slippery hand, than this is the watch crystal you need to buy for your kids.

 

2- Mineral Crystal

Mineral crystal is basically glass that has been hardened by chemicals or heat treatment to make it more scratch resistant than normal glass and acrylic. It is also harder to break than normal glass (window glass, kitchenware, etc). Being a glass, the transparency it gives is also much better than acrylic and somewhat around sapphire quality. It is also very cheap, with most of affordable automatic watches using this crystal in their watch.

In terms of performance, mineral crystal is actually not that good. Sure it has a higher scratch resistant than acrylic, but it is still a glass, and glass shatters easily (more than acrylic/plastic). So it sits between the very scratch prone acrylic and the virtually not scratch-able sapphire crystal in scratch resistance, but bottom of the class in impact resistance. The only remedy for a scratched mineral crystal is by replacing it.

Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time Hardlex Crystal

Above is Seiko SARB065 “Cocktail Time” with Hardlex crystal. Seiko loves to use it on many of their low to middle range watches

 

Knowing the issues with impact resistance of mineral, some watch companies have made their own proprietary mineral crystals with enhanced properties. Seiko has developed their own Hardlex crystal, which is basically a toughened mineral crystal. It has a higher scratch resistance and higher knock resistance than normal mineral (though not as good as sapphire).

Sapphire_ring

A gorgeous blue sapphire ring gemstone. This baby can cost thousands of dollars while a synthetic sapphire crystal used in a watch can be had for a fraction of the price

 

3 – Sapphire crystal

Last but certainly not the least is sapphire crystal. Most of us knows that sapphire is a type of gemstone that can be in many colors (commonly blue) and is very expensive. Other than being pretty, sapphire also has a unique and desirable trait – it is very hard. It sits at 9 on the mohr hardness scale , below diamond (10) and another material called moissanite (9.5). This level of hardness means that it’s very scratch resistant. It’s also very transparent making it a great material for watchmaking.

But due to its very expensive price, naturally mined sapphire is not widely used until the invention of synthetic sapphire. By producing sapphire synthetically, the production cost is reduced by a lot, making it viable to be used for watch crystal. A lab made sapphire also has the advantage of being more clearer because it does not have impurities usually comes with mined sapphire.

 


A video showing how to synthetically make a sapphire glass in a factory. It’s truly fascinating how the advancement in technology have enables us to make our own gemstone!

 

The high scratch resistance of sapphire crystal makes it a very popular among watch lovers and it is being used in many middle to high end watches. You can own a sapphire crystal watch, use it everyday for years and at the end, it won’t even have any scratch marks on it. It is tougher than mineral but still not as tough to impact as acrylic. A very sharp impact (like dropping it onto the road filled with pebbles – but how can you be so careless like that?) can make a dent to the sapphire. Due to this, watch manufacturers usually give a special treatment to the glass or even thicken it to further toughen it up. One more thing to consider is it’s much more expensive than acrylic and mineral. So please treat your sapphire crystal watch carefully will ya?

 

Tissot le locle T41.1.423.33 Sapphire Crystal

A Tissot Le Locle with a Sapphire crystal. Most of Swiss brands use sapphire on their watches

 

And The Best Watch Crystal Material Is…

So what is the best watch crystal material? Mineral is the worst (not so scratch resistant as sapphire, cannot be buffed out, not so impact resistant like acrylic) but is the cheapest. Acrylic is highest in impact resistant, easily scratched but can be polished, and cheap. Sapphire on the other hand is very expensive but super scratch resistant and somewhat good in impact resistant (higher than mineral, but lower than acrylic).

In my opinion, sapphire crystal is the best for any watch. It’s high resistance to scratches means no heartache when you suddenly noticed a small hairline scratch on your watch. Sure, it’s not as impact resistant as acrylic but what are the odds of you breaking your watch glass? But all these comes with a higher price. But for that, you will get a highly scratch resistant dial window, that is also very transparent.
Problems

2 common problems with any watch crystal are scratches and breaks/cracks. Scratches are very common, not just on the dial window but also on the case and bracelet too. Acrylic is very easy to get scratches – just looking at them can give you one, while mineral is a bit better on this. Sapphire is highly resistant and will give you smooth crystals for years to come.

Watch crystals breaking is more uncommon and can happen to the most unfortunate guy (or if you are not careful with your watches). Acrylic is very hard to break, followed by sapphire and mineral. But another problem with acrylic is it can develop fogging which is typical with any plastic material.

 

Repair or Replacement?

Fortunately for acrylic watch owners, the crystal can still be repaired if it’s scratched or fogged. And it can be done at home, DIY by using polishing products. A very popular polishing products is Polywatch. It is more preferred over other products such as Brasso because it is specially designed for the fine acrylic crystal.

Just apply some of Polywatch onto the crystal and start giving it a circular massage with higher pressure on the scratched area. What will happen is the Polywatch substance will sand down some of the plastic and fill in the scratches. For very deep scratched, you might want to use sand paper first before using Polywatch.

But then will it thin down the crystal? Of course it will. But I won’t be too concerned about that because the thinning is very limited since we are using our hand to polished it. Polishing using machines is the real concern here because it can easily thin the crystal down. The end result is a clear flawless crystal. You can also use this to give life to vintage watches that have fogged acrylic crystal.

 


A video showing how to use Polywatch to polish and remove those scratches. It’s very cheap too (less than $10 a tube) and can be bought from Amazon. The most recommended way to remove those scratches for your acrylic (and is the cheapest way too)

 

Scratches on sapphire and mineral? Don’t bother with Polywatch as it can’t do a thing. The only way to deal with it is by replacing the crystal. There are some ways to polish a mineral or sapphire but these are not easy to do yourselves and will require machining which will thin down your crystal. In any case, it’s much better to replace it completely.

You need to be more careful with broken crystals. The broken shards from crystals (especially glasses – mineral and sapphire) is very small and can get inside the movement and blocking the movements of the gears inside. I would suggest to quickly stop the watch, and then throw the broken glasses off the watch. Be careful not to touch the hands or dial as these are sensitive. Throw off the glasses by flipping the watch upside down. Get a new replacement crystal as soon as possible, while protecting the uncovered watch in the meantime.

 

I hope you guys enjoy and have learned something from this article. It is important for all watch owners to know are the types of watch crystals and what are the characteristics so that he/she will know what to expect from it. And remember that you can easily polish the scratches off an acrylic crystal with just a $10 Polywatch tube and some discarded clothes instead of spending more to get it “professionally” polished or replaced at your local watch shop. Feel free to drop any comments below. Till next time.

Cheers!
Isaac.

Orient Mako 2 Automatic Diver Watch Review – An Update To The Beloved Mako

orient-mako-2-automatic-diver-watch-review

With the Orient Mako, watch enthusiasts worldwide are the ones that benefited the most as there is an alternative to the Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 in the budget diving watch section.

The Mako was, and still is beloved due to its beautiful and balanced design.

But some people are not too happy with it due to many issues such as outdated movement, extra pusher for date change (which add one more critical area for water ingress), and the less than satisfactory mineral crystal.

Orient then released the new Mako 2 as a response to those comments (or wishlists from fans lol..). Let’s take a look at the Mako 2 and how it fares up against its older brother.

 

orient-mako-2-automatic-diver-watch-review

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Orient Mako 2 in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

Orient Mako 2 Automatic Diver Watch Specification

Diameter: 41.5 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug to Lug: 46 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Dial: Matte black or sunburs blue dials
Dial Window: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword style hands
Markers: Numeral and index markers
Bezel: Unidirectional diving bezel

Movement: Orient Caliber F6922 automatic self-winding movement
Movement Features: 22 Jewels, Manual winding, Hacking, 6 beats per second
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m or 660 feet
Other Features: Screwed down crown, Day and date display, Lume on markers and hands

Best Place To Buy: Amazon. MSRP is $325

 

 

Mako 2 – The Beautiful Diver Watch

Orient chooses to keep the design of the Mako 2 just like the original Mako. The dial or watch face actually is the same. Orient knows the looks of the Mako is well loved by fans and I really agree with their decision to keep it like that.

The only difference (and a major one) is the absence of the pusher at 2 o’clock in the original Mako. Due to the upgraded Orient Caliber F6922, all day/date/time change is controlled by the crown.

This is a very welcomed improvement by many Mako fans. A dedicated pusher to change day indicator is very outdated and no brands are doing that anymore.

Not to mention the pusher is a critical area for water ingress thus eliminating it will reduce the chances water get into the Mako 2 while underwater. But in my opinion, the pusher actually makes the Mako looks unique as without it the watch will just look like any ordinary diver watch…

 

orient-mako-2-automatic-diver-watch-review

Orient Mako 2 Blue

 

The hands of the Mako 2 uses the same design as the Mako that is sword shaped hands. Mako 2 also has the exact same marker design that is the numeral markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock and index markers elsewhere.

These type of markers are usually referred to as “explorer markers” due to the similarity with Rolex Explorer, the watch that popularized this marker design.

The bezel are unidirectional diving bezel with minute markings on it. Orient improved the bezel by giving it 120-clicks versus the 60-clicks on the original Mako. This gives it a more expensive feeling while using the bezel.

One thing that Orient don’t improve is the dial window crystal. The Mako 2 still uses mineral crystal which is a scratch magnet. Well, I don’t think Orient can do much about this part.

It’s very difficult to give a much higher quality sapphire crystal while maintaining the low price of the Mako 2. My only advice is to ensure you guys don’t overuse the Mako 2 unless you want the dial window full of scratches =P

 

orient-mako-2-automatic-diver-watch-reviewOrient Mako 2 Black

 

2 Versions To Choose From: Matte Black And Sunburst Blue

There are two dial variations of the Mako 2 that Orient releases: matte black and sunburst blue dials. These two versions also comes with matching bezel color. The black dial looks very cool and elegant while the sunburst blue dial is very beautiful and it’s very hard to take your eyes of it.

Want an elegant and understated wrist watch? Go for the black dial. Want something that will attract attention? The blue dial will do the job.

It seems that the orange dial and pepsi bezel versions from the original Mako didn’t make the cut. It’s a shame though because I know there are a lots of people on that loves the orange dial and pepsi bezel.

Perhaps Orient want to cut some cost as probably they know these versions are not as popular as the black and blue versions.

orient-mako-2-automatic-diver-watch-review

 

Sturdy Stainless Steel Diver Case

The stainless steel case of the Mako 2 is surprisingly has the same dimensions as the Mako. It has all the same numbers: 41.5 mm diameter, 13 mm thickness, 22 mm lug width and 46 mm lug to lug distance.

Just like the dial design, it seems like Orient don’t want to mess up with a proven formula. The case is not too big and can it most guy’s wrist comfortably. After all it’s designed for the small Asian wrist of the Japanese guys. I’m very sure most guys can pull it off without any issue.

As mentioned earlier, the only difference that the Mako 2 case has with the Mako is that it don’t have the pusher at 2 o’clock. The other bits are just about the same.

The screwed down crown has Orient logo engraved on it (which is a very nice detail btw). It is protected by a crown guard that is extended beautifully from the case. The sides of the case is polished while the top is brushed. There is a slight sloping on the bezel which is quite nice to look at.

Surely, the case isn’t as pretty as pricier watches (like the Seiko SARB033 or Tissot PRC 200 Powermatic 80 ) but then we have to remember that Mako 2 is about half the price of these watches.

The case might be a “normal” looking stainless steel watch case but the Mako 2 compensates that with a beautiful looking dial =)

 


Watch this video review above for a closer look on the Mako 2

Upgraded Orient Caliber F6922 Automatic Self-Wind Movement

A major improvement on the Mako is the upgraded Orient Caliber F6922 automatic movement. As stated in my review of the Mako (you can read it here), the non-hacking and non-manual winding movement (Cal. 46943) is a huge flaw for me.

Not being able to manual wind my watch is a very big problem as you either have to wear it everyday (not possible for those with many watches. What’s the point of buying that Omega/Rolex/Tag only to collect dust inside your wardrobe right?) or use a watch winder (more $$$).

If not, then the watch will stop and it’s really a bother to have to adjust the time, day and date. Keep in mind you also have to adjust the am/pm for the watch too which is a pain in the arse.

By having a manual winding capability, the F6922 movement just makes life easier. If you are thinking of laying down the Mako for a few days, just give it a good 20-30 rotations on the crown each day to keep it running.

Then after a couple of days when you started missing your Mako, you can just pick it up and wear it. It’s as simple as that. No need for a watch winder which can be quite expensive as they are not that durable.

Moving on to the specification of the movement. It has 22 jewels and beats 6 times per second. It has an accuracy of +-15 seconds per day though many people report that the accuracy of their Mako 2 is much higher than that (some up to +-4 seconds per day which is just awesome). It also has a modest 40 hours power reserve.

Comparison of the Mako (top picture) and the Mako 2 (bottom)

Orient Mako Vs Orient Mako 2

So how does the new Mako 2 fares up against the original Mako? I’ve summarized the details in below table:

 

Mako Mako 2
Dial Same dial design Same dial design
Case Has pusher at 2 o’clock which is actually quite nice as it breaks the symmetry. But it is not practical to have that because of water ingress potential and most other movements don’t require a dedicated pusher to change day indicator Much more “normal” watch look without the pusher at 2 o’clock
Dial Window Mineral crystal Mineral crystal
Bezel 60 click bezel 120 click bezel
Movement Orient Cal. 46943. Automatic self-wind with no manual winding and non hacking Caliber F6922. Automatic self-wind with manual winding and hacking

As stated above, the main differences between these 2 are the pusher for day change and also the movement. But make no mistake the movement improvement is a giant leap from the original Mako.

For those that has passed on the Mako due to its old movement, then the new Mako 2 might spark that interest once again =)

Where To Buy Orient Mako 2?

If you are looking to buy the Orient Mako 2, look no further than Amazon. The website has everything, including the new Mako 2.

The site lists both variations of the Mako 2 (black and blue dials) for around $150 to $200 apiece ,compared to the much pricier MSRP of $325 on Orients website. Click the links below to check out the best deals of Orient Mako 2 on Amazon.

 

>Click Here To Get The Best Price Of Orient Mako 2 Black On Amazon<-

->Click Here To Get The Best Price Of Orient Mako 2 Blue On Amazon<-

Conclusion

Orient Mako 2 is a beautiful diver watch that is very affordable for an automatic. It has great dial design with improved movement than the original Mako.

The improved movement also makes it a better automatic watch than its direct competitor such as the Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 as both are non-manual wind and non-hacking (just like the original Mako). I have no doubt that the Mako 2 will be a very sought after watch due to this and the affordable price range.

Orient Ray Review – Comparison Between Two Orient Dive Watches : Ray Vs Mako

orient-ray-automatic-dive-watch-review-comparison-between-two-orients-ray-vs-mako

In this post, i’m going to write about Orient Ray review. After the success of their Mako automatic dive watch, Orient follow up to that with their Ray automatic dive watch line which is basically a redesign of the Mako. Both of these are hugely popular among Orient’s fans – you can see many debate of Mako Vs Ray in watch forums with no conclusion.

Both are actually the same watch (movement and casing are the same) but with major difference in their design. We are going to cover the differences between the Ray vs Mako, but before that, let’s have go through Orient Ray review.

Orient Ray Automatic Dive Watch Review

Orient Ray Automatic Dive Watch Specification

Diameter: 41.5mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug to Lug Width: 46mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet options

Dial: Varies (Black/orange matte dial, Blue metallic dial)
Dial Window: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shape hands with lume
Markers: Combination of circle and index markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock
with lume
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel with coin edge. 60 clicks

Movement: Orient Caliber 46943
Movement Features: 21 jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour (6 beats per second), non-hacking, no manual winding feature
Accuracy: +-10 to 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Day and date display, screw down crown with Orient engraving, screw down pusher (at 2 o’clcok position) to set day display

Best Place To Buy:

Orient Orange Ray EM6500AM – Amazon at $140
Orient Ray Black PVD EM65007B – Amazon at $300
Orient Black Ray EM65008B – Ebay at $270
Orient Blue Ray EM6500CD – Ebay at $320

orient-ray-automatic-dive-watch-review

Dive Watch With Rolex Submariner Look

The Orient Ray is a beautiful looking watch that has all the classic submariner look – big markers, big hands, and big bezel with minute markings. All about this watch is to make it look like a true dive watch. It is one of the striking difference with the Mako.

The Orient Ray has a 41.5 mm diameter which is perfect for most guy’s wrist. It has a 46 mm lug to lug width, not too long and should stay right your wrist. A bit thick at 13 mm but that’s to be expected for any dive watch. Overall, the watch is designed with perfect proportion and not too big which I really like.

There are 3 variation of the dial: black matte, orange matter and blue metallic dials. All three are actually the same as the Mako with the exception of the blue metallic – the Mako has a matte blue dial variation. On the dial are the Orient logo, “Automatic, “Water Resist” and “200m” signatures. Just like the Mako, Orient chooses to keep the signatures on the Ray to minimum.

The markers of the Orient Ray is a combination of circle markers and index markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. The markers are big and easy to read which is one of the main features that a dive watch should have.

It’s a standard design of many dive watches nowadays which have taken the cue from Rolex Submariner. Lume are generously applied on the markers to give extra visibility in low light condition.

orient-ray-automatic-dive-watch-review-3

The hands of the Orient Ray are sword shaped hands with lume applied on it too. The hands are big and bold, which will give ample of space to put lots of lume on it. The second hand is silver stainless steel. Lume is applied on the tip with red linings. There are also silver borders around the day and date display. These are the details that Orient have put on the Ray which I really like about.

The watch has an 60-clicks unidirectional rotating bezel. The low click count of the bezel is something that does not go well with some people, but you have to remember that this watch is a low end mechanical piece and it will have some flaws so that Orient can keep the price down.

On top of the bezel is minute markers which is bigger than what you can see on the Mako. Legibility is an important aspect of any dive watch. Truly, the Orient Ray is more of a dive watch than its older brother Mako.

Orient Ray With Date Change Pusher For An Unsymmetrical Design

Just like the Mako, Ray also has the pusher at 2 o’clock to change the date. This is due to the old movement that it has though (the new Mako II and Ray II has an updated Cal. F6922 movement that eliminates the pusher). It’s a disadvantage of the movement of course, but the pusher gives the Ray a unique unsymmetrical design that no other watch has.

Water resistance wise, the Orient Ray can go up to 200 m water resistance. The pusher and crown has screw down, which helped to achieve that water resistance. But it has to be noted that the Orient Ray (and also the Mako) is not an ISO certified dive watch.

Even Orient advises that the watch to be used only for skin diving i.e only for snorkeling etc and definitely for deep dives. For a cheap ISO certified dive watch, I would recommend that you check out Seiko SKX007, a tried and tested dive watch that is very popular with divers around the world.

Watch this awesome review of the Orient Ray to have a closer look at the watch

Orient Cal. 46943 Movement

Like the Mako, the Ray is powered by the Cal. 46943 which is a very trusted movement. It has been used for a long time in most of Orient’s affordable automatic watches.

The Cal. 46943 has 21 jewels and vibrates at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It also has a 40 hours power reserve. Accuracy wise, it is accurate up to +-10-15 seconds per day. It is non-hacking (the second hand will not stop when you want to set the time) and cannot be manually wind.

Not being able to hack the movement is not a big deal for me. But to not being able to manual wind is something else. I really prefer a watch that can be manually wind to keep it running so that I don’t have to reset the time when the watch drop dead when I’m not wearing them.

Not being able to manually wind the watch will leave me with no choice but to use a watch winder, which something that I would only reserve for my most expensive watch and definitely not for the Orient Ray.

Different Dial Colors To Suit Your Taste

Just like the Mako, the Ray also is produced with 3 different dial colors: Black, Blue and Orange. The pepsi bezel of the Mako line is not reproduced in the Ray though. Instead Orient released a black PVD case version of the Ray (which really looks cool!). Check out these 4 variation of the Orient Ray below:

Orient Ray Automatic Dive Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

Below are the pros and cons of the Orient Ray Automatic Dive Watch:

Pros:

1- A beautiful dive watch with traditional looks
2- Day and date displays are very useful features
3- Unsymmetrical design due to the pusher at 2 o’clock makes the watch looks very different than other diver’s watch (e.g Seiko SKX007, Invicta Pro Diver, Rolex Submariner, etc)
4- Orient Cal. 46943 movement has been used for decades and has a very good track record as a beater movement with good accuracy and robust performance
5- Affordable price makes it a very good first watch for those starting out with automatic watches

Cons:

1- Mineral crystal dial window scratches easily and not as durable as sapphire
2- Non-hacking and no manual winding movement movement
3- Not an ISO certified dive watch

Orient Ray Vs. Mako

I’ve summarized the difference between the Orient Ray and Mako below for your easy reference. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Ray and Mako are basically the same watch (case, movement). What sets them apart are the dial design and bezel.

Orient Ray looks more sporty with the dial and bezel of a traditional dive watch. The Mako has a dressier look with the numeral markers and small minute markings on the bezel.

Orient Ray (left) side by side with its older brother, the Orient Mako (right)

 

CRITERIA ORIENT RAY ORIENT MAKO
Case: Same (diameter, thickness, etc) Same (diameter, thickness, etc)
Markers Circles and index markers which give more sporty vibe and true to traditional dive watch Index and numeral markers – make the watch dressier and more unique
Lume More lume applied on the circle markers giving better lume Less lume applied
Hands Double layer hour hand design. Lume on tip of second hand Normal sword shape hands
Bezel Bigger minute markings on bezel Smaller minute markings on bezel
Momement Same (Cal. 46943 Movement) Same (Cal. 46943 Movement)

 

I can’t say the same for you but for me, I like the Mako more. The design of the Ray is just like any other dive watch out and there is no sense of character in them, to be honest. The Mako is a bit different and stylish. Again, this is just my opinion. Feel free to state your preference of the two in the comment section below. I would love to hear what you guys think =)

Conclusion

Orient Ray automatic dive watch is a beautiful and affordable dive watch by the Japanese watchmaker. It has the traditional dive watch look and a unique unsymmetrical design. It’s not an ISO certified dive watch, but then let’s be honest: how many of us actually deep dive? If you are only desk diving (like me lol), then this is one the watch that you have to check out.

I hope you guys enjoy this Orient ray review and comparison with Mako. If there’s any question, feel free to drop it down below. Till next time then.

Cheers!
Isaac

*****************************************************

Looking To Buy The Orient Ray?

The Ray is a bit hard to be found as it’s an old model. Orient seems to favor the newer (and pricier) Ray II models currently. Fortunately Amazon and Ebay have them in their listings. Below, I’ve listed the cheapest sellers on Amazon and Ebay for the variations of the Orient Ray. Simply click the links below to go to the sellers page:

Orient Orange Ray EM6500AM – Amazon at $140
Orient Ray Black PVD EM65007B – Amazon at $300
Orient Black Ray EM65008B – Ebay at $270
Orient Blue Ray EM6500CD – Ebay at $320

You might also want to check out these affordable diver watches:

1 – Orient Mako
2- Orient Mako 2
3- Seiko SKX007
4- Seiko SKX009
5 – Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53

Orient Bambino Automatic Watch Review FER24004B0

Orient Bambino Automatic Watch Review FER24004B0

Today I’m going to write about Orient Bambino watch review, which is one of Orient’s popular watches due to a number of reasons: it is a very affordable watch for an automatic and also very good looking. Orient release quite a number of Bambinos over the year with some minor upgrade here and there (you can refer to the Orient website here for more detail).

In this post, I’m going to specifically review the FER24004B0 version which is the black dial version. Without further ado, let’s look at Orient Bambino review!

 

Orient Bambino Watch Review

 

Orient Bambino Automatic Watch FER24004B0 Specification

Diameter: 40.5 mm
Thickness: 11.8 mm
Lug to Lug: 46 mm
Lug Width: 21 mm
Case: Stainless steel case with screw down caseback
Strap: Leather strap with buckle

Dial: Black dial with silver index markers and date display at 3 o’clock
Hands: Dauphine shaped silver colored hands
Dial Window: Domed Mineral crystal

Movement: Orient Caliber 48743 automatic self-wind movement with 21 jewels. 21600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second. Non-hacking and non-manual winding.
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day

Water Resistance: 30 m or 99 ft

Best Place To Buy: Amazon for around $200

 

Orient Bambino Review

Up close on the retro dial

Orient has always been one of my favorite watch manufacturer because of their quality products that comes at a very affordable price. The brand has about 60 years of watchmaking experience which is quite young actually if you compared with some of American and Swiss brands that can have more than 100 years of history such as Tissot, Hamilton, Bulova and Heuer.

But one thing that makes Orient unique is they predominantly sell affordable watches with movements that they produced on their own. Now that is very interesting as some brands nowadays uses movements from other company (Tissot, Bulova, etc).

This tenacity to hold on to their tradition despite challenges in the current world is what makes Orient and interesting and unique brand.

 

A Beautiful Retro Watch

On a first glance, you can notice that this is a retro styling watch. The totally circular case with the black dial and index markers really give it away. There are many versions of Bambino released by Orient by I like this one the most because of its cool and stylish black dial.

It makes is more versatile to be worn with any jeans or suit. The silver index markers and dauphine hands really complement the black dial nicely. The pointy index markers looks sharp and a nice design choice by Orient.

Orient chooses to put minimal signatures on the dial. There are only the Orient logo, “Automatic” and “Water Resist” signatures on the dial. All of them save the Orient logo have a minimal size. The watch is almost symmetric if not because of the date display and crown at 3 o’clock position.

There is no bezel on the watch making the dial to cover the entire 40.5 mm diameter case. As a result, we are getting more dial and can cause it to look bigger than it actually is.

 

Orient Bambino Watch Review FER24004B0

The Orient Bambino watch viewed from an angle. Notice the curvature of the protruding dial window at the top of the watch

 

Unique Protruding Domed Dial Window

The lug to lug width is only 46 mm. One interesting thing is the watch has a full thickness of 11.8 mm. But the stainless steel case covers only 70% of the thickness while the remaining thickness is due to the domed dial window.

The mineral crystal window is really something that is very unique and reminds me of the Tissot Visodate. It is really protruding out from the case and gives a nice touch to the watch. One important thing to note is that the dial window is mineral crystal which is not really as scratch resistant as sapphire.

Care should be taken while wearing this watch to make sure the dial window is not scratched (because it will be very easy to be scratched because of the protruding dome shape). I recommend to only wear it for indoor activities only.

One thing that I don’t understand is the 21 mm lug width of this watch. 21 mm is a rare lug width for a watch. Typical lug width for a watch with a 40-45 mm diameter are 20 mm and 22 mm. So a 21 mm lug width is quite rare to find. It will also make it difficult to buy a matching strap to replace the strap if you don’t like the black leather strap it comes with.

One way to get around this is to use a 22 mm strap but the strap’s end connecting to the lug need to be tapered/cut off a bit to make it fit. I really hope Orient will change the lug width to 20 mm in future upgrade versions of this watch.

Orient Bambino Watch Review FER24004B0

Looking at the Orient Bambino from side

 

Orient Cal. 48743 – A No Frills Automatic Movement

The watch is powered by Cal. 48743. It is an automatic self-wind watch movement with 21 jewels. It has 21600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second which is the minimal standard for automatic watch nowadays. The low beat movement will cause the second hand to move not as smooth as an expensive watch though it is much better than a tick-tock quartz watch of course. The watch also has 40 hours power reserve and a +- 15 second accuracy per day.

 

Orient Bambino Review FER24004B0

It seriously looks great with anything. It will looks good in suits and even jeans (shown above)

The movement can be considered Orient’s lowest grade movement as it do not have hacking and manual winding feature. Without the hacking, we cannot set the watch to a precise time. The manual winding is something that is quite important. As an example, I will usually rotate my watches so there are some days that some watch won’t get any wrist time.

Being a mechanical watch, it is important for it to be continuously running so that it will keep its accuracy and keep its parts well oiled (think of a car that have difficulty to start after sitting in the garage for a long time). A manual winding feature will allow me to increase the power reserve of my unused watches so that it can last for one whole day without being worn.

An automatic watch without manual winding is not really convenient in my point of view. But the counter measure to this issue by making the rotor to be very easy to rotate. This in theory will make it able to store more power reserve with less wrist time than an ordinary automatic movement.

 

Orient Bambino Watch Review FER24004B0

Apart from its original black leather strap, it also looks good in this brown strap for a more casual look

 

Orient Bambino Automatic Watch FER24004B0 Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summarized the advantages and disadvantages of the Orient Bambino below:

Pros:

1- Good looking retro watch with fine details
2- Domed dial window is very unique and a great design by Orient
3- Black dial with silver hands and markers look sharp and beautiful

Cons:

1- A 21 mm lug width will make finding a replacement strap quite difficult
2- Non-hacking and non-manual winding movement features are absent in this watch.
3- Mineral crystal is easy to be scratched

 

Where To Get Orient Bambino Watch?

If you are ;ooking to buy the Orient Bambino, Amazon has the watch listed on their website for around $200. There are also other version of the Bambino that can be browsed in Amazon. Click the link below to check out the Bambino deals on Amazon.

 

–>>Click Here To Check The Best Prices Of Orient Bambino On Amazon<<–

 


A detail video review of the watch. The watch just looks more beautiful in this video than on pictures – well, most watches are not really photogenic =)

 

Conclusion

Orient Bambino is a very affordable and beautiful dress watch. Sure, there are lots of things that I would wish the watch to have (hacking and manual winding, sapphire crystal, 20 mm lug width, etc.) but then we have to remind ourselves that this is a $200 watch.

For just around $200, we are getting a classic looking Orient Japanese automatic watch which is built with their famed high quality detail and craftsmanship. If you are looking for a beater watch that looks beautiful to look at, then this watch fits the bill nicely.

Hope you gained some insight from this Orient Bambino review. I hope you can leave any comments or any questions regarding the Bambino. I would love to hear what you guys think about this amazing watch. Till next time.

Cheers!

 

Orient Mako Automatic Diver Watch Review

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Review

Orient Mako automatic dive watch is one of the most popular affordable automatics and this post is dedicated for the Orient Mako review.

For over 6 decades, Orient has been producing affordable automatic watches for the masses. They are also one of very few companies that still produce their own movement in-house for their watches and that’s something that every Orient’s watch owners should be proud of.

Very affordable while at the same time being very stylish, it’s no wonder his little timepiece has been a staple beater watch, rivaling even the Seiko SKX007.

Let’s move on to the Orient Mako review and see what it has to offer and why it is very popular.

Orient Black Mako Review

Orient Black Mako

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Specification

Diameter: 41.5mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug to Lug Width: 46mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Case: Polished Stainless steel
Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet options

Dial: Solid color dial with 3 color options: black, blue and orange
Dial Window: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shape hands with lume
Markers: Combination of index and numeral markers (at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock) with lume
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel with coin edge

Movement: Orient Caliber 46943
Movement Features: 21 jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour (6 beats per second), non-hacking, no manual winding feature
Accuracy: +-10 to 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Day display, Date display, screw down crown with Orient engraving, screw down pusher to set day display

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

A Less Sporty And Dressier Dive Watch

Looking on the Orient Mako, one could not resist continue looking at it. It’s seriously a very handsome watch. The polished stainless steel casing is beautifully crafted.

The 41.5 mm diameter of the watch case is just perfect for most guy’s wrist. With a 46 mm lug to lug width, it is not too long and will rest comfortably on your wrist.

It’s a bit thick though, at 13 mm but that’s about the normal thickness for any dive watch.

The 22 mm lug width of the watch is something that I do not like about as I feel it is more suitable for a bigger watch (more than 44 mm diameter). But overall, the watch is of perfect proportion and solidly built.

On the watch is a black color dial, with Orient logo on it. “Automatic”, “Water Resist” and “200 m” are the signatures on it signaling its automatic movement and 200 m water resistance.

The italic font of the signatures is a nice design touch and looks good on it. The markers are a combination of index markers and number markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock.

They are quite big and easy to read. The usage of these markers instead of the typical circle markers in many dive watches is what make it looks different and less sporty in my opinion.

Circle markers can store more lume of course, but is too sporty. An index marker like this gives it a less sporty look, while making it more stylish.

Orient Mako Review - Pepsi Bezel

The Orient Pepsi Mako

The hands are sword shaped hands. Like the markers, there are lume on it too. The second hand is silver with a red tip, a very nice detailing there.

The watch has an unidirectional rotating bezel (it is a dive watch remember) with small minute markers on the black bezel.

The bezel has coin edges and slightly tapered down to the case, giving the watch an angular shape if you look from the sides. Overall, the design of the watch is very beautiful and stylish.

Day And Date Features For Added Functionality

Two features that I really love are the day and date display at 3 o’clock.

Date is typical in many watches but to have a day display is quite rare and is a welcomed addition. These two functions make the watch much more functional.

Now there is no need to check your smartphone to know what date/day it is. A glance at your watch is what you need!

Unique Unsymmetrical Design

The crown is designed as a screw down crown to ensure the watch can have a 200 m water resistance. On it is Orient’s logo engraving, a surprisingly nice touch for a watch at this price point.

One thing that I like is the pusher at 2 o’clock. It’s also a screw down pusher and used to change the day.

Frankly speaking, it’s not really needed as most watches can change the date via the crown. But what I like is watch has this nice unsymmetrical design due to the pusher.

The pusher makes the watch to be unsymmetrical and very different than watches on the market now. Typically, normal watches has a crown at the 3 o’clock.

Chronograph watches will have 2 pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. With just one pusher at 2 o’clock, it makes the watch to have an unsymmetrical design which is very unique and something that I really like.

4 Different Design: Black, Blue, Pepsi And Orange Makos

There are actually four different designs for the watch: Black, Blue, Pepsi and Orange versions. All versions have both bracelet and rubber strap options.

They are different only in their color schemes but all parts, case and internal movement are the same. All 4 of them are very gorgeous on their own right.

The Orange version is very bold with the orange dial. The Pepsi design on the other hand has the blue and red Pepsi bezel design that is very cool.

Among them, my pick would be the Black version because of its elegance and stylish black dial. It’s the most classic look of them all, and also the most handsome for me.

The Trusted Orient Cal. 46943 Movement

Inside it is the tried and tested Cal. 46943 movement by Orient. The movement has been around for very long time and used in most of Orient’s affordable automatic watches.

It has 21 jewel and vibrates at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It is fairly accurate, with official accuracy around +-10 to 15 seconds per day.

It is non-hacking (the second hand will not stop when you want to set the time) and cannot be manually wind. The movement specifications really mirrors the Seiko SKX007’s 7S26 movement.

It is not surprising since Seiko basically owns Orient so some technology or design transfer should be there.

Looking at the specification, we can tell that the movement is really a low budget movement but then again it is for an affordable watch.

There’s not much that we can expect with that price range of $100 to $200. There is one thing that this movement excels in: durability. Just like the Seiko SKX007, many people around the world has used the watch for many years for lots of outdoor activities and it still works fine.

It’s the testament of the build quality of the movement and watch. Not to mention since the vibration rate is low and it has smaller number of parts, the wear and tear of it is lower than normal automatic.

Because of that, there is no need to service it as regular as other normal automatic watches.

Orient’s Mako, Mako II, and Ray

You probably has heard about the Mako, Mako II, Ray and Ray II line of the Orient Diver’s Watch right?

Fact is the Mako II and Ray are derived from the Mako. Mako II is the same as Mako except that it does not have the pusher.

Orient Ray on the other hand is considered an updated version of the Mako but with sportier look.

Apart from that, there is also the Mako USA version which is the upgraded Mako (with sapphire crystal, stronger lume, etc) but is notoriously hard to get.

A video showing the Orient Black Mako in action. Now that is a seriously good looking watch!

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

Below are the pros and cons of the Orient Mako automatic watch:

Pros:

1- Great combination of sporty and dressy looks. Can be easily dressed up or dressed down with different straps (Nato, leather, rubber)
2- Day and date displays are very useful features
3- Unsymmetrical design due to the pusher at 2 o’clock makes the watch looks very different than other diver’s watch (e.g Seiko SKX007, Invicta Pro Diver, Rolex Submariner, etc)
4- Orient Cal. 46943 movement has been used for decades and has a very good track record as a beater movement with good accuracy and robust performance
5- Affordable price makes it a very good first watch for those starting to dabble in automatic/mechanical watches =)

Cons:

1- Mineral Crystal is easy to scratch and not as durable as sapphire
2- Non-hacking and no manual winding movement are two important features that are absent with the Cal. 46943
3- It is not an ISO certified dive watch.

Conclusion

Orient Mako is a seriously good looking and affordable automatic watch. It is a direct competitor to the Seiko SKX007 and Invicta Pro Diver 9937 due to their price range in the affordable automatic dive watch category.

Unlike the others, it is not too sporty and still have that stylish charm in it giving it the best of both worlds.

With the trusted Caliber 46943 movement, this is one of the most affordable automatic watch that you can get.

I hope you guys find this Orient Mako review helpful. You can always ask any questions or comments on this watch down below. I’ll be very grateful to ask any of your questions. Till next time then!

Cheers!
Isaac

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Thinking Of Buying The Orient Mako? Get It From Amazon!

If you want to buy the Orient Mako, Amazon has the best prices for them. Do note that the price will vary substantially depending on the model.

The Orange Mako is the cheapest as you can get it from around $130 online (depending on availability and season). But the Blue and Black Mako are very popular and are more expensive to get due to its high demand.

The bracelet versions will have a higher price though I would not really recommend it because of the low quality of the bracelet. Anyway, click the links below to check the prices on Amazon.

 

–>>Click The Links Below To Check The Best Prices For Orient Mako In Amazon<<–

Orient Black Mako With Bracelet
Orient Black Mako With Rubber Strap

Orient Blue Mako With Bracelet

Orient Pepsi Mako With Bracelet
Orient Pepsi Mako With Rubber Strap

Orient Orange Mako With Bracelet
Orient Orange Mako With Rubber Strap

 

You might also want to check out these affordable diver watches:

1 – Orient Mako 2 (update to the Mako with improved movement that can hack and manual wind)
2- Orient Ray

3- Orient Ray II
3- Seiko SKX007
4- Seiko SKX009
5 – Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53