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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 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 Sports Outdoor Blue Ref. RK-AU0211L|
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 sports divers with the Weekly Auto Orient King Diver Ref. 19410 which uses the brand’s first-ever automatic mechanism.
|Caliber F6N43 with power reserve indicator|
Today we are on the field watch context where they traditionally built for battle purposes. Throughout the years these Japanese manufacturers have their field watches, produced with form-follows function in mind. These timepieces are perfect tool watches for everyday use with durability for one to strap it on and explore the outdoors without any worries. We are not just talking about the case and bands, but also the movement has to be qualified and robust enough. Therefore, field watches are nothing new to these brands, where Seiko have their Seiko 5 SNK series, Orient with their Defender Multi-Eye, and Citizen’s Promaster Automatic Field watch.
Fast forward 50 years, in 2019 Orient have just introduced their first premium outdoor watch - the Orient Star Outdoor blue Ref. RK-AU0211L, their premium Sports collection 100m field watch with a deep sunburst blue dial colorway.
|Orient Star's top of the line Outdoor field watch|
For a start, the Orient Star Sports Outdoor Blue Ref. RK-AU0211L offers a solid stainless steel case measuring 41mm wide, 12.1mm thick and 48mm lug to lug, paired with a screw-in diamond style crown typically found on military watches, making it a profound 100m field watch. 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 semi-concave bezel gets the satin treatment tastefully. Though it might sound hefty, it isn’t, by just weighing at 91g throughout on the wrist.
Seen through its flat sapphire crystal, the Orient Star Outdoor goes intrinsically with the design- a quirky sunburst deep blue background with applied Arabic and 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 broadsword military-themed handset bears the same color-tone luminous with the hour markers, to aid the already legible dial. Lastly, the Orient Star logo with additional “automatic” 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.
|Glows green in the dark|
Displayed through the screw-in casebook, the in-house caliber F6N43 is the top of the line automatic movement that solely fitted on Orient Star timepieces. The Orient Star Sports Outdoor Blue 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.
Pairing the watch case is a subtle mocha leather strap. Solidly made, the leather strap feels soft but sturdy and fitting. The strap sports a classic deployant buckle, assuring the wearer a safe and secure fitting when strapping the Orient Star Outdoor on the wrist.
Overall, the Orient Star Sports Outdoor Blue Ref. RK-AU0211L 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 sports model, it is the first-ever “luxury” line field watch under its top line. The Orient Star Sports Outdoor Blue Ref. RK-AU0211L feels sturdy and well done as anyone could ask of a JDM sports watch. Therefore, with the field watch design paired with a 100m 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.