If you are in the market for an affordable dress watch, precisely, the mechanical variety, then chances are you’ve come across the Orient Bambino watch series. The Bambino collection contains some of the best Orient watches, due to their popular classic design and affordable price.
This popularity is not surprising considering the classic design and attractive price point of Orient Bambino watches. It has an elegant and refined vibe to it combined with an affordable price tag, making it popular.
The Orient Bambino collection encompasses two generations and five watch variations. The number of watches in the collection and the release of new watch versions is a testament to the popularity of the Bambino line. However, this causes a lot of confusion, especially when it comes to differentiating between different versions and generations of watches in the collection.
So, if you are looking not only for an introduction to the Orient Bambino but everything concerning this classy dress watch, then you have come to the right place.
Orient Brand History
Founded in 1901 by Shogoro Yoshida, Orient began as a small and independent wholesale watch shop. Back then, the company was still known as the Yoshida Watch Shop and specialized in selling imported pocket watches. By 1912, the shop has included wristwatches in their catalog.
By 1934, The Yoshida Watch Shop changed its name to “Tokyo Tokein Manufacturing” and started developing in-house timepieces. The company once again went through a name change as the Tama Keiki Company, but this didn’t last long as, after a year, they re-christened the company to what we know today as the Orient Watch Company.
Due to the effects of the Second World War, Orient found themselves working their way back up the ladder. Fortunately, Orient managed to steadily grow during the next couple of decades to the point that they have retained their previous reputation in the watchmaking industry.
One of Orient’s more famous watch lines is their dive watch collection, which is among the most highly-rated in the market. There is also the Orient Bambino dress watch series which is our main focus in this write-up.
Today, Orient is still among the most well-recognized Japanese watchmakers in the industry. Since 2009, Orient has become an official subsidiary of Seiko, which further boosted its global reach.
Orient Bambino Watch Generations vs. Versions
Choosing an Orient Bambino timepiece can be quite daunting once you encounter this watch line’s somewhat confusing naming practice. At the moment, there are two generations of Bambino watches circulating in the market.
While that doesn’t seem too difficult to keep straight, considering that there are up to five versions for each generation and even separate unique alternate edition models, and you see where it gets a bit muddy.
To help you adequately set apart the different generations and versions, know that the versions refer to the different aesthetics such as the dial, styles of hands and indices. In comparison, generation denotes what that particular model is utilizing as an internal watch mechanism.
Difference Between Bambino 1st Generation and 2nd Generation Watches
Aesthetic-wise, both Gen 1 and Gen 2 Bambino timepieces are virtually the same. However, a closer inspection will reveal an interesting difference between the two.
The first-generation Bambino watches use an Orient automatic caliber 48743 movement, a pretty solid watch mechanism in its own right. For the second-generation Bambino watch line, Orient uses an upgraded Orient caliber F6724 automatic movement. The main difference is that the Gen 2 movement is hand-winding and has the “hacking seconds” feature – which makes it easier to set the exact time since the second hand stops ticking when you pull out the crown to adjust the time.
If you’re looking for a quick way to tell apart a Gen 1 and Gen 2 Orient Bambino you can just look at the dial.
If you look closely at the bottom of the dial if you see the words “Water Resistant” printed prominently, you have a 2nd Generation Bambino watch.
1st Gen models just had “Water Resist” (a rather awkward term to put on the dial in our opinion so glad they changed it).
While this is not the main difference between the two watch model generations, it is an easy way to tell the difference between the two.
Bambino Watch Versions
Now, besides the two Bambino generation models, there are also the different versions of each to contend with. These versions are distinctive from specific aesthetics revolving around the dial design.
Keep in mind that all Bambino watches are affixed by the signature domed crystal window and dial. This aspect is the one constant throughout each version.
The first-generation Bambino watches came with three available versions. The second generation added two more to push that number to five. This collection doesn’t include the two specially designed models which we’ll discuss below, so we can total the entire Bambino watch versions to seven.
For these examples, we are going to show all Gen 2 Babminos since those are currently what is most widely available and often the only option you find if searching online for new watches.
Orient Bambino Watches
Now, let us go through all seven of these Orient Bambino watches and find out the key differences of each entry.
Orient Bambino ‘2nd Generation Version 1’
The original design of this outstanding Japanese dress watch series, the Bambino Version 1, comes with all the aesthetic features that helped propel the watch brand’s reputation.
When it comes to the Bambino V1 style, it is all about class and simplicity, as can be seen with the silver and gold-tone models, lack of numerals, and simple indices and markings.
The pristine dial comes in white or black variations, both of which are pretty subtle in their sharp appearance. There is also a thin bezel to further accentuate the dial, case, and strap synergy. As for the dial’s key details, we get the classic dauphine style watch hands along with rhomboid index hour markers.
Key specifications of the Bambino V1 include its 40mm stainless-steel case that enhances the dial. The leather strap also adds a nice touch of class, and you can choose from either the brown or black leather variants.
Other notable features include a date display neatly positioned beside the 3 o’clock marker and a decent 30-meter water resistance rating.
Additionally, the Bambino V1 also comes in different dial options to further add versatility to its charm. See all 2nd Gen versions on Amazon.
Orient Bambino ‘2nd Generation Version 2’
The Bambino V2 features a wholly overhauled aesthetic with its more refined Roman numeral hour markers. There is also a different minute marker design on the dial’s outer ridges that incorporate a dual line design.
The case is also slightly thicker than the V1, and the overall aesthetic of the dial makes it visually active compared to the neater presentation of the Bambino V1. However, Orient balanced this busy dial vibe with thinner hands.
Another notable difference is the more oversized crown that is present in Bambino V2 watches. There are also currently five dial options available for the Bambino V2.
Orient Bambino ‘2nd Generation Version 3’
The Bambino V3 was my first encounter with this watch brand, precisely the stunning deep blue dial option that holds a special place in my heart. Going back to a cleaner dial style, the V3 does away with V1’s rhomboid and V2’s Roman numeral markers. Instead, the Bambino V3 incorporates super-thin index hour markers, which complements the baton-style hands.
The Bambino V3 features a more minimalist approach with its appearance. The 40mm stainless-steel case and signature domed mineral crystal window provide a pleasant backdrop to the aesthetics. Other features found in the V3 include a date display and a slightly improved 50-meter water resistance build.
This model is a gorgeous Bambino timepiece and, personally, a considerable improvement from the V2 regarding its aesthetics. Additionally, the V3 comes in four dial options: white, blue, black, and gray variants.
The internal mechanism also gets an upgrade using the in-house Orient caliber F67 automatic movement that still includes the hand-winding and hacking functions.
Orient Bamboo ‘2nd Generation Version 4’
The Bambino V4 is an example of learning from your past. This dress timepiece is an amalgamation of V1’s clean dial design with V3’s refined visual flair. The return of the rhomboid hour markers and dauphine hands is highly welcome, especially once both overlay the versatile color gradient dial style of the V3.
The Bambino V4 also incorporates a thin seconds’ hand with a red accent tip which improves visibility on all dial color options. You will also notice a more significant 42mm case compared to the previous three versions.
The V4 once again incorporates the vibrant sunburst dial that comes in emerald green and blue dial options. There is also a black and gray dial available that is more subdued for those who prefer something visually lowkey.
The V4 uses an Orient caliber F6724 automatic movement, which is similar to the mechanism utilized by the V2 timepieces. All in all, the Bambino V4 is the likeliest progression from the V3; it is a homage from all three prior versions while ironing out all the kinks.
Orient Bambino ‘2nd Generation Version 5’
For the 5th Bambino version, which launched back in 2018, Orient decided to go a whole different route with its design.
Since Orient has experimented with Roman numeral hour markers with the V2, the V5 now comes with a decorative Arabic numeral marker design.
The size of the Bambino V5’s case returned to its conventional 40mm diameter measurement this time around as well. As for the dial hands, the V5 features a leaf-like design that adds a certain elegance level compared to the dauphine and baton-style of previous versions.
The V5 comes with three case options at the moment – gold, rose gold, and silver-tone. The rose-gold and silver-tone case features polished blue dial hands, while the gold-tone case incorporates more conventional silver-tone dial hands.
As for features, the Bambino V5 has the standard date display, which is ever-present in all Orient Bambino versions. Within the classy housing of the V5 lies the in-hour Orient caliber F6724 automatic movement, which also features the hand-winding and hacking function. Additionally, this automatic movement provides approximately 40-hours of power reserve.
The transparent back case allows wearers a bird’s eye view of the intricate automatic movement inside.
Orient Bambino Spin-Off Models
Orient Bambino ‘Small Seconds’ (Model: RA-AP0002S10A)
Looking to spruce up their Bambino watch line further, Orient released additional variations aside from the main five versions that we have.
One of which is the Orient Bambino ‘Small Seconds’ model, which features a second’s sub-dial rather than integrating the traditional three-hand analog dial design.
The addition of a small sub-dial adds a bit of visual flair to this Bambino timepiece. The dial combines the outline of both the V1 and V5 models by combining rhomboid hour markers with Arabic (3, 6, 9, and 12) numerical markers of the latter.
Since the sub-dial is at the 6 o’clock position, the “Water Resistance” label has been deleted altogether. However, the Bambino ‘Small Seconds’ watch still comes with a solid 50-meter water resistance rating.
Let us take our attention back over to the dial. This Bambino timepiece also brings back the dauphine hands into the spotlight along with the Arabic and rhomboid hour markers. The 40mm stainless-steel case comes in several options, all of which complement the sunburst style dial.
The date display maintains its position beside the 3 o’clock hour marker. The heart of the ‘Small Seconds’ also sees a notable upgrade in the in-house and debuting Orient caliber F6222 mechanical movement.
Orient Bambino ‘Open Heart’
Finally, we have the most visually dazzling Orient Bambino – the ‘Open Heart’ model. As the name implies, this Bambino watch features an ‘open heart’ or skeletal design on the dial. However, rather than the entire dial incorporating the skeletal structure, Orient contains it into a tiny area of the watch.
This design choice allows the Orient Bambino ‘Open Heart’ to retain a relatively neat appearance compared to the V1 and V3 models. Speaking of the V1 model, the ‘Open Heart’ utilizes the timeless rhomboid hour marker and dauphine hand style of the original.
However, the Bambino did drop the date display this time around, favoring the skeletal sub-dial instead. However, having a skeleton dial design is all for naught if the watch doesn’t offer an exciting view within.
This design choice is why Orient decided to use this type of design to introduce their in-house Orient caliber F6T22 automatic movement. Only with an automatic movement can you truly appreciate the skeletal aesthetic choice.
As for other variations of the Bambino ‘Open Heart’, there is the: gold, silver, and metallic silver option. The silver case version features a black dial that presents the model in a completely different and striking light.
Should You Buy an Orient Bambino Watch?
Now that you are well-acquainted with the Bambino watch line, you might have already made up your mind whether this is a watch that complements your style. Let us give you our quick rundown of the pros and cons of the Orient Bambino timepiece for those who are still undecided.
Buy it, because:
The Orient Bambino is an excellent entry-level dress watch and is one of the most affordable automatic watches on the market today.
The Orient Bambino timepiece has up to seven significant dial designs, with each having different dial and case options. Aesthetic versatility is not an issue with the Orient Bambino. Add the refined signature domed crystal and dial design, and you have yourself one of the classiest and most versatile watches around.
Don’t buy it, because:
Most versions, except for the Bambino V4, are a bit large to be considered a dress watch. There is also the uncommon lug width used in most Bambino timepieces. The Bambino V4 uses a more common 22mm lug width while other versions feature a 21mm version, making it tricky to find a compatible strap.