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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 Star Diver Blue/Red Pwr Rsv Ref. RK-AU0306L|
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.
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, Contemporary and Sports, 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 joins Seiko and Citizen in launching their divers with the Weekly Auto Orient King Diver Ref. 19410 which uses the brand’s first-ever automatic mechanism. However, Orient divers are mainly found in their staple main Orient line, while having the now discontinued Pre-Seiko Epson era Pro-saturation divers under the Luxury Orient Star, there have not been a updated single "luxury" dive watch in its current Sports collection. Not until recently.
|Caliber F6N47 with power reserve indicator|
Fast forward 50 years, in 2020 Orient have introduced their latest premium dive watch- the Orient Star Diver Blue/Red Power Reserve Ref. RK-AU0306L, their premium Sports collection 200m diver with a special classic “Pepsi” coloured bezel and sunburst blue theme.
For a start, the Orient Star Diver Blue/Red Power Reserve Ref. RK-AU0306L offers a SUS316L stainless steel case measuring 43.6mm wide, 14mm thick and 51mm lug to lug, making it a profound 200m dive watch. Since this falls under Orient’s premium line, the whole case gets a byzantine satin-brushed finishing while the back of the watch features full polishing. Even the bezel gets the satin treatment, with its intricate grooves polished that results tastefully.
The two-tone blue/red “Pepsi” coloured bezel made out of aluminum for the insert, set into its SUS316L steel bezel, with the ever so essential diver’s elapsed time markers where first critical 15 minutes are highlighted in red, and it rotates smoothly with 120 clicks in an anti-clockwise direction. It is further featuring a luminous green pip at 12 if one ever needs to use it in a dark environment to time something. The bezel lays on top nicely while offering tight clicky action, feeling solid as what it should be from the top of the line Orient.
|Orient Star's top of the line dive watch|
Seen through its sapphire crystal, the Orient Star diver goes intrinsically with the design- a sunburst blue background with applied capsule-shaped hour markers. What makes Orient Star watches stands out from the others includes 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 a date display at 3, the legibility on the dial is excellent. That said, the semi-skeleton handset bears the same color-tone luminous with the hour markers and bezel’s pip, to aid the already legible dial. Lastly, the Orient Star logo with additional “automatic” and “Diver’s 200m” is placed at the bottom of the dial, giving it a more balanced look in coherence with the power reserve indicator at the top side.
The in-house caliber F6N47 is the top of the line automatic movement that solely fitted on Orient Star timepieces. The Orient Star Diver Black Power Reserve Ref. RK-AU0309B feature this incredible horology engine. The 22 Jewels, 50-hour power reserve F6N47 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 date display at 3 o’clock.
|Glows green in the dark|
Pairing the watch case is the sports bracelet. Solidly made, the 22mm bracelet features the same satin finish at the top with polished sides, with a double folding clasp with diver extension. The bracelet folding clasp is signed with the flagship brand logo and assuring the wearer a safe and secure fitting when strapping the Orient Star diver on the wrist. Further to complete the package of this new release, Orient Star have provided an additional 22mm sporty silicon rubber strap. Solidly made, the rubber strap feels soft but study and totally fit. The rubber spots a classic tang buckle.
Overall, the Orient Star Diver Blue/Red Power Reserve Ref. RK-AU0306L feels modern, 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 divers, it is the latest “luxury” line dive watch under its top line. The Orient Star Diver Power Reserve feels sturdy and well done as anyone could ask of a JDM diver. Therefore, even with the solid bracelet and additional rubber strap, 200m water case clad with its unique Orient Star automatic power reserve caliber, this watch offers a lot for your money and definitely to collectors, it is one hell of a watch.