Orient is the name of a Japanese watchmaking firm that is usually known to watch enthusiasts who are in the world of JDM watch collection. Compared to Seiko who have been making waves outside their land lately, Orient until now, have been staying low under the radar for many. They have been in continuation to produce high quality, yet attainable timepieces since the early 1950s, while the firm can further trace back to its roots in 1901 by Shogoro Yoshida opening a pocket watch shop. Unfamiliar, we bet most of you guys are unsure of that Orient started in 1950 as an independent company, producing reliable mechanical in-house movements even until today. In early 2000, Orient had gone under the umbrella of Seiko Epson, as the name suggests, pursuing traditional horology of reliable and affordable timepieces, in parallel to Seiko Watches in true Japanese fashion.
Orient Watches until today, is still one of the widely-recognized watchmakers in Japan, building their quality timepieces and sticking to their “JDM” route. They have a wide variety of selections that cater to anyone with a particular theme in mind, from cocktail event elegant timepieces to ever-ready sports watches that one can take it out for some action.
Orient Star Contemporary Modern Skeleton Blue Ref. RK-AV0004L
Like Seiko’s luxury line Grand Seiko, we focus on Orient Star; their own JDM luxury line which then further breaks down to three main categories: Classic, Sports and Contemporary, and we focus on the latter.
Dating back to 1951, Orient Star first introduced the market, with their in-house chronometer “true star” timepieces that feature a dressy case blued hands, mechanical movement and timeless dial design. From there, Orient Star came to producing elegant watches like the Orient Star Dynamic, even skeleton-style: Orient Mon Bijou during the 1990s. They along with Seiko and Citizen in launching their sports divers with the Weekly Auto Orient King Diver Ref. 19410 which uses the brand’s first-ever automatic mechanism.
Caliber F6F44 with power reserve indicator
Fast forward 50 years, in 2019 Orient have just introduced their premium modern watch- the Orient Star Contemporary Modern Skeleton Blue Ref. RK-AV0004L, their modern collection 100m everyday kind of watch with a multi-finished bracelet topping off with a balanced yet intricate sunburst blue dial.
As we all know, openwork watchmaking is not stranger to Orient Star, they have done so since 1991, and even more significant in October 2003, where Orient Star presented their first-ever semi-skeleton watch - the Orient Star Ref. WZ0011FH.
For a start, the Orient Star Contemporary Modern Skeleton Blue Ref. RK-AV0004L offers a solid SUS316L stainless steel case. Further, measuring 41mm wide, 12.1mm thick and 48mm lug to lug, paired with a push-pull crown while still bears a decent 100m water-resistant. Since this falls under Orient’s premium line, the case gets a byzantine satin-brushed and polished finishing while the back of the watch features full polishing. Even the bezel gets the full high gloss polish treatment tastefully.
Orient Star's top of the line Semi Skeleton watch
Seen through its flat sapphire crystal, the Orient Star Contemporary Semi-Skeleton goes intrinsically with the design- a sunburst blue background with applied faceted metallic hour markers, with fancy Roman numerals at 12 o'clock for a start. What enlivened Orient Star watches its fan-shaped power reserve indicator at 12’o clock, showing how much juice left on the watch. Thankfully, even while having this complication along with skeletonized cut-outs at 2, 4 to 7 and the main one at 9 o clock to showoff the balance wheel, the legibility on the dial is excellent.
That said, the legible handset bears the same color tone luminous with those on top of the hour markers, to aid the semi-skeleton dial. Speaking of which, the Contemporary Semi-Skeleton’s openwork at 9’ o clock showcased their attention to detail by framing it with metallic trim, and high-polished balance bridge for the wearer to indulge when glancing at the time. Lastly, the beautiful sub-second dial is metallic, fitting with the opened work and rest of the applied markers. With it placed at the bottom of the dial, giving it a more balanced look in coherence with the power reserve indicator at the top side.
Glows green in the dark
Displayed through the screw-in casebook, the in-house caliber F6F44 is the top of the line automatic movement that solely fitted on Orient Star timepieces. The Orient Star Diver Blue Power Reserve feature this incredible horology engine. The 24 Jewels, 50-hour power reserve F6F44 Automatic runs at a daily tolerance of +25 to -15 seconds per day, beating at 21,600bph with a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock (somewhat iconic across the whole Orient Star flagship line), a sub-second display at 6 o’clock, and a visual open-heart at 9 o’clock.
Pairing the watch case is a well multi-finished solid end link bracelet. Solidly made from SUS316L stainless steel, the bracelet enhances much elegance of the whole watch, while it feels still feel sturdy and fitting. This assures the wearer a safe and secure fitting when strapping the Orient Star Contemporary on the wrist.
Overall, the Orient Star Contemporary Modern Skeleton Blue Ref. RK-AV0004L feels modern while allowing one to enjoy the impeccable openwork through the dial, and functional while having a delicate balance of Orient’s legacy in watchmaking since the 1950s. In the Orient Star line, and though it will not be cheaper than the other entry Orient dress model, it is their“luxury” line watch under its top line. Orient Star Contemporary Modern Skeleton Blue Ref. RK-AV0004L feels sturdy, robust, and well done as anyone could ask of a JDM mechanical watch. Therefore, with the semi-skeletonized watch design paired with a 100m water case clad with its unique Orient Star automatic power reserve caliber and sub-second dial, this watch offers a lot for your money and definitely to collectors, it is one hell of a watch.