Before we begin, I have to say, dutyfreeislandshop.com blew me away with their service. I received this watch 6 days after ordering it. I don't think it's physically possible to receive it any faster.
(Reviewed on 11/5/2016)
So how about the watch? Wow. An absolutely stunning watch.
First of all it's important to acknowledge the movement. The Orient Cal. 48743 automatic movement is made in-house! This is a stunning achievement in its own right. It shows that Orient have a great commitment to their craft. They're watchmakers first and foremost, and take pride in giving their watches history and a legacy.
This practice is generally seen on more expensive watches, so it's quite a feat to see it in a watch of this price. And it works wonderfully. They easily could have purchased a palette of generic movements, and for this price, you wouldn’t blame them. But they didn’t. Respect.
It does, however, have some drawbacks. It doesn't have hacking capabilities (seconds hand doesn't stop ticking while changing the time), or manual winding (can only be charged by wearing it or shaking it).
The former isn't a big problem because mechanical watches are known to tick faster or slower depending on circumstances such as the position of the watch, or even the environment.
This may seem like a negative to buying mechanical watches (and it can be), but unless split-second precision is absolutely necessary (co-coordinating attacks in the military, or timing Olympic athletes for the record books), an automatic watch is a fantastic time keeper.
I mean, when was the last time you needed time perfectly accurate to the second? Most people tell the time in 15 minute intervals (quarter to 7, etc.) anyway. It’s really a non-issue.
So why automatic then? Well, each watch is an engineering marvel. A combination of tiny gears and jewels that work together as close to perfectly as possible to give you the time.
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say mechanical watches have a personality of their own. Strap it to your wrist to wake it up. With every swing of your arm, it harnesses energy. It becomes a living, breathing machine, completely dependant on you, to tell you the time. It's really quite beautiful. Like a close friend in a dynamic-duo. It has soul.
As I mentioned earlier, this watch doesn't have manual winding, so it must be worn to charge. It takes about 8 hours to fully charge, which will last about 2 days. Your general movement should charge it fully without a problem. It doesn't require any special effort to charge whatsoever. Wear it out normally and it's good to go.
If left in storage and it dies, just give it a shake for about 30 seconds, set the date (make sure to set the time to 6am or 6pm before setting the date to avoid potential damage to the date gears), then set the time.
If you wear it daily, it will go on forever. Get it serviced every 5-10 years and it’ll last you a lifetime.
But that's enough about the movement. How about the styling?
Well there’s a good chance that’s what drew you to this watch. The beautiful Bauhaus inspired classical 60s dial.
The finish on the dial can only be described as exquisite. The satin paint combines beautifully with the curved dial, forcing light to constantly dance around with incredible depth. It's easy to get lost chasing the light into the beautiful dark abyss of the blue, grey and black models, or the stunning shimmering pearl on the white.
It's hard to choose a favorite, and at this price you can afford to buy them all haha. I chose the blue because of the uniqueness of the colour and beautiful depth.
The rest of the dial is very simple. Applied markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9, along with the straight minimalist hands which are all finished in a polished silver. The tip of the minutes hand curves slightly with the dial, again showing the level of attention to detail that went into this watch.
Under 12 o’clock, the applied Orient logo is beautifully done, with a high level of detail for such a tiny piece. Printed Orient lettering rests underneath it, followed by “Water Resist” above the 6 marker, which I think the watch could have done without personally.
Speaking of water resistance, the watch is water resistant to 30 atmospheres, which basically means it can take is a splash. Take it off to wash the dishes or have a shower. Forget about taking it for a swim. That’s what we have diver’s for.
But if it wasn’t the dial that sold you, there’s a good chance it was the lovely domed crystal. It really goes the extra mile in creating a classical looking timepiece. It has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated, and is the cherry on top of the already amazing cake.
The crown is surprisingly signed with the Orient logo, another feature rare at this price range.
And all of this for only $150 AUD?! How is that even possible? The RRP is $260 USD, and it’d be worth every damn penny at that price. Hell, this watch holds its own against $500 watches… so for $150 AUD, the value is simply, truly unbeatable.
If you prefer divers or sportier watches, but need a dressier watch for the occasional formal event, this watch is absolutely perfect.
If you’re just getting into watches, and you’re looking for a nice entry level watch, this watch is absolutely perfect.
If you want a stylish classically-styled watch to wear daily, this watch is absolutely perfect.
Of course, for the price, not everything is possible. The domed crystal is not sapphire, so it is prone to scratching. If it had a sapphire crystal though, the price would not be this low. It’s impossible. So it’s a completely understandable compromise and certainly expected, I’m putting the information out there.
Also the band is relatively comfortable, but it’s not the greatest quality. Again, this is completely understandable. Costs had to be cut somewhere. Frankly I’m happy costs were cut on the band over the watch.
The band is easily replaceable anyway. I have already ordered a light brown leather band, which I think it will compliment the blue dial much better than the standard black band.
That’s the beauty of watches, changing the band can breath new life into the watch and change its look completely. Dress it up with ostrich leather, or dress it down with a nato strap. Depending on the situation, you have a very versatile watch.
Oh and the band size is 21mm. This is the most annoying issue I have with the watch. It’s such an awkward size to buy for. You can find 21mm bands online, but they’re few and far between. I’ve ordered 22mm instead, they’ll squeeze on easily. You’ll want to avoid 20mm, as watches tend to look strange with a visible springbar. Always best to go 1mm larger than smaller.
So in summary, buy this watch. Worth every cent.