Note: This review was originally written for the Watchuseek.com forum.
Background: I’m currently into this Japanese affordable watch collecting bug. I already have an old school G-Shock, a couple of affordable Seikos and even a J.Springs (see previous blog post) so I was on a mission to get an Orient and a Citizen “representative” (and I’m still searching for the latter).
There is another review about the Orient Vintage that you may want to read first, as I will not go into detail of what has been mentioned there. Even before reading the above-mentioned review, this model already caught my eye among the dozens of Orients displayed in stores. At the time of purchase, I was see-sawing between this Vintage and a Mako. The Vintage won because of its features that will be described below…
I parted with $185 for this, and let me immediately say that it’s truly a bang for your buck watch. Design wise, it’s a poor man’s Grand Seiko, Aqua Terra, Carrera or Seiko SARB. It’s a “basic” watch, with Orient’s signature power reserve indicator as an added feature. I like the modern 40mm (excluding crown) case size which is just right on my wrist. Personally, I find watches below 38mm to be too vintage looking. 38-40mm is perfect for this day and age. The Vintage has a dressy, thin case profile. It’s the perfect tool for cubicle drones and is just the thing to peek on shirt cuffs. It’s light and comfortable on the wrist too.
I would be delusional to say that the workmanship and quality is comparable to Swiss megabrands. Realistically, it feels like an affordable swiss watch like a Certina DS-1, which is a compliment. The case and bracelet are prominently brushed and it’s as if you can see each and every micro groove etched onto them. The bracelet is straight, not tapered which sets it apart from a Rolex, Omega or other watches inspired by them.
The lugs are slightly tapered at the tips; a nice detail. In this shot you can again see the warm look if the deep, brushed finishing in the case. I also like how the bezel is saucer edged, enhancing the elegant mounted look on the case.
Hard to see in this photo, but the movement has some light “cotes” swirls on it, not as elaborate as on a Swiss, but not as bare as a Seiko 7S26 either. The logo on the rotor weight is not only pressed, but silk-screened with 2 colors. The rotor twirls with the slightest pitch of the case (an Orient movement trait), so the watch winds up quickly.
The dial has a pearlescent color, enhanced by three different guilloche patterns. The blued hands add some prestige, and it is noteworthy that the seconds hand is thinner than a human hair which might’ve been a challenge to mount. A smooth, high-beat 28.8k movement would’ve given the slender seconds hand even more grace. The beveled, polished and striped hour markers (usually found in more expensive pieces such as a Grand Seiko) twinkles and shimmers with the light that lands on them. There is so much shiny stuff in the dial that the whole “face” of the watch seems to glow. I am a sucker for symmetric dials so the location of the power reserve meter is in my favor. Lume on the hands is pathetic.
Quick conclusion: pictures don’t do justice for the Vintage; it has a deceptively premium presence to it which have earned me (the wearer) a lot of double takes. And it has the quality to back up its great looks. I dare say that if I can only own one affordable watch, this would be it! It would make an excellent “office beater”, if you will.