Japanese watch technology produces some of the most popular and best-selling watches in the world. The craftsmanship, durability, and continuous innovation keep the country’s watch brands in high demand.
Some of the most famous brands include Seiko and Citizen. A simple online search will also lead you to one of the country’s most respected watch brands—Orient.
If you’re curious about this Japanese watchmaker, read on. This article will let you in on some of the most important things that you need to know about the brand, from its humble beginnings to its current success all over the world. We will also be taking a closer look at some of its best watch models and the technologies behind them.
- 1 Orient Brand History
- 2 Where Are Orient Watches Made?
- 3 Orient Watch Brand Reputation
- 4 Orient Watch Collections
- 5 Are Orient Watches Good Quality?
- 6 How Much Do Orient Watches Cost?
- 7 Where To Buy Orient Watches?
- 8 Is Orient a Luxury Brand?
- 9 Is Orient Owned By Seiko?
- 10 Orient Warranty Policy
- 11 Related Video:
Orient Brand History
Orient started out in 1950 as an independent company. This is the same year that the famous Orient Star was introduced to the market.
Orient is currently owned by Seiko Epson, a Japanese electronics company known for being one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of computer printers and other imaging equipment.
“To offer high-quality, attainable timepieces with enduring style,” reads the company’s mission. “Our heritage is rooted in craftsmanship, reliability, precision and beauty that stand the test of time.”
Orient is one of the few watch brands that manufacture their mechanical movements in-house. On their website, there is a page devoted to this movement, as well as quartz functions. Here, they will provide you with the distinctions between mechanical and quartz watches, and explain how they function. Some of the other sub-topics include hand-wound and self-would watches, and the advantages of having a mechanical watch.
In 2001, Seiko Epson became the majority shareholder of the company and later in 2009, the Orient Watch brand became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Epson.
Where Are Orient Watches Made?
All of Orient’s watch movements are made in Japan. The brand’s official website does not clarify if all production processes—from the creation of movements to assembly—takes place in the country.
According to this discussion, however, it is likely that some Orient watches are manufactured in Japan, but are assembled in other countries (such as Hong Kong) under quality control by a Japanese official. The more expensive Orient models, such as the Orient Star, are made in Japan entirely.
Orient Watch Brand Reputation
Orient is one of the best and most widely recognized watchmakers in Japan. They are now a subsidiary of Seiko, but they continue to build their own movements, which is why the quality remains excellent.
This discussion will give you an idea of the high quality of Orient watches. One watch collector said that his Orient Dive watch, which cost him less than $200, gets the same respect as his $22,000 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. An Orient collector also pointed out how accurate the movements are, and relatively affordable considering that they are made in-house.
According to this article, which focuses on Orient watches, the brand’s dress watches is one of the best-priced entry-level watches one can have–one that made it to their list is a Bambino.
When it comes to top-notch Japanese quality and value, Orient is a trusted brand. Whether it’s a dress watch, a diver, or something that you can match with your daily outfit, the brand has a wide array of options to choose from. Below, we’ll discuss the most notable ones.
Orient Watch Collections
The company’s products can be divided into four categories: Classic, Bambino, Sport, and Orient Star, all of which we’ll cover and discuss below.
We will talk about some of the best Orient watches from each of these collections.
There is also the Orient 3-Star and Royal Orient. The former is an export line, and the latter is another luxury brand (more expensive than Orient Star).
These are “OG timepieces for a reason,” as the Orient page would say. This is a collection of timeless designs
that will look good with both casual and formal wear–they’re sleek and professional-looking, so you can wear them at work, and they’re fashionable enough to wear as a dress watch.
One line off this collection is called Sun and Moon, which has a few versions. The Sun and Moon Version 2 is one of the older but classic models that continues to be a favorite to this day (the latest is Version 4). This watch, as the name suggests, shows the user the current phase of the moon—this may not always be necessary function-wise, but the intricate detail is undeniably excellent, and the artistry that went into its construction is admirable.
Made of stainless steel and sapphire crystal, this model has an automatic movement, a 42. 5mm case, legible Roman numeral markers, a day/date calendar, and a leather band.
For those with smaller wrists, there’s also the Sun and Moon Petite, which is 34mm. The Sun and Moon Open Heart, which has a small window at 9 o’clock and an exhibition case back that allows you to see the movement.
Other Orient classic watches can be found here.
Bambino is a collection of simple yet very elegant dress watches, having the clean aesthetic that Orient is known for.
This article calls the watch one of the most affordable dress watches in the market. Like the Orient Classic, this collection has watches of the same kind that have different versions.
We’ve included the Bambino on our list of top Men’s dress watches under $500.
Version IV of the Bambino made our list of Best Affordable Automatic Watches for Men
One of the latest models is the Bambino Version 5, which is a 40.5mm stainless steel watch with an attractive domed crystal and dial, and a mechanical hand movement. One of the things that makes this watch special is the shape of the hands, which are curved and leaf-shaped—a nice touch that makes all the difference.
The Orient Bambino 5 has received excellent reviews. This one by A Blog to Watch highlights one of the biggest updates on this version: the printed hour indicators (which the writer compared to a Breguet design), dotted seconds, and the leaf-shaped hands. Aside from the classic look that will make the watch look great with any outfit, this version is also constantly praised for its value, with many reviews saying that it’s one of the most affordable dress watches on the market today.
Another line from the Bambino collection is the Small Seconds, another watch praised for its value and outstanding design. Instead of having a long seconds hand, this one has a small seconds display at 6 o’clock, thus the name. This is the only Bambino that has Arabic numeral hour markers on 12, 4, 6, and 9 o’clock. Like the Bambino Version 5, this has a 40. 5mm stainless steel case and available in rose gold and white.
To see other models off the Bambino collection, check out this page.
The Orient Mako USA II is one of the most popular models from the brand’s extensive sports/dive watch collection. Usually, compared to Seiko’s SKX007 (which is considered by many as one of the best affordable dive watches), this watch started out when Orient asked a Reddit watch community for input.
We’ve included both the Seiko SKX and the Orient Mako on our list of best dive watches under $500.
Orient listened to the suggestions and eventually came up with a watch that incorporated some of the most requested features such as solid end links and a sapphire crystal. This is the line’s latest iteration, and it continues to gain praises from users and experts—Orient calls it their “most robust casual dive-style watch to date.”
The Mako USA II takes its features from the first Mako, as well as the Ray II. This watch was improved with Orient’s newly developed mechanical movement: caliber F6922, which also allows hand-winding. It’s also highlighted that this one has a second hand halt mechanism: “the seconds hand will stop when the time of the watch is being adjusted, allowing for greater synchronization and accuracy.
A noticeable change is the removal of the pusher at 2 o’clock. The Mako II got rid of the separate pusher—with this model, the user can manage everything using the crown at 3 o’clock. This review praised this change: “a far more streamlined case with no extraneous protruding parts.” If you would like to compare this model and the Seiko SKX007, check out this article which places the two side by side.
One of the most affordable watches off Orient’s Sport collection is the Defender, a 42mm outdoor watch that the brand describes as “a bridge between technical pieces and everyday sports watches.” This is Orient’s version of a modern field watch—it has a 24-hour dial, legible hour markers, and a screw-down crown. This watch has two strap materials available: brushed stainless steel and pebbled leather. We included the Orient defender here on our list of best field watches under $500.
One of the most expensive models from the collection, on the other hand, is the Orient Triton, a Japanese Industrial Standard, or JIS-compliant diver watch (which means that it’s suitable for recreational SCUBA diving) that boasts of a shock-resistant case. The Orient Triton takes different inspirations from Orient’s classic diver watch collections: for instance, the hour markers from Ray, and the brushed steel hands from the Pro Saturation Diver
See the complete Orient Sport collection here.
The company calls the Orient Star collection their “most distinguished and exquisite timepiece brand. ” Some of the main features of these watches include GMT, power reserve indicators, skeleton and semi skeletons, and retrogrades.
The Orient Star Classic, which is also considered an upgraded version of the Bambino watch series, is an excellent watch for both business and pleasure: it’s simple, functional, and elegant. This watch is known for its striking domed crystal and onion crown, which highlights its vintage appeal.
The most expensive watch of this collection is the Orient Star World Time. This watch is packed with many features which could easily make the watch look crowded (the outer world time ring and subdials), but Orient was able to build it in an organized manner. This one has a sapphire crystal with Orient’s own anti-reflective coating, stainless steel polished with a Sallaz finish (a technique that creates a beautifully polished surface. There are two options for the dial: Jet Black or Midnight Blue.
You can view the entire collection here.
Are Orient Watches Good Quality?
Orient watches are known for making quality watches at an affordable price. The Bambino line is one of the best-selling affordable dress watches in its price range and dive watches such as the Orient “Mako” and “Ray” are widely regarded amount watch aficionados.
Although they are very competitively priced, Orient watches offer sophisticated designs such as the popular “Sun and Moon” or “Open Heart” semi-skeletonized dial, from a quality standpoint these watches exceed the expectations considering the price range and competition.
Orient also makes its own in-house automatic mechanical calibers which is a testament to the quality.
While the overall Orient collection may not have the breadth or depth of models compared to fellow Japanese brands Seiko or Citizen, they do offer value for money and meet the market need for good value at an affordable price.
How Much Do Orient Watches Cost?
While prices in the watch market are always fluctuating and there is a wide price range among the different Orient collections, many Orient watches sell in the sub-$300 range and many under $200, including entry-level Bambino dress watches and Mako dive watches.
Here is a sampling of the MSRP prices from 2021 on some of the best-selling Orient watch models to give you a better idea. These are the recommended retail prices but you can often find discounted watches online or on sale in retail stores (see where to buy below).
*Note, this is just for reference. Prices change often and online retailers (and even Orient’s own website) often sell these for 50% off the suggested retail.
|Watch||Model Number||Price (MSRP)|
|Orient ‘Mako II’||FAA02002D9||$340|
|Orient Star Diver||RE-AU0307E||$650|
Where To Buy Orient Watches?
Orient watches can be purchased on the brand’s website. Aside from seeing the watches categorized under collections, you will also be able to easily find the perfect watch using different shop categories on the website.
This page, for instance, has the new arrivals section where you will see some of the latest models, and the closeout section, which will take you to a page of watches that are on sale. If you’d like to see it worn by other people, there are also categories that will allow you to explore the different looks of people on social media.
If you’d like to go watch shopping in an actual store, you can also visit this site to locate Orient branches anywhere in the world.
Is Orient a Luxury Brand?
This is a common question we get from readers. The short answer is, no, Orient is not a luxury watch brand.
Although Orient has a long history of watchmaking and even some own in-house calibers, the brand doesn’t meet the definition of a luxury watch. Orient is a well-respected Japanese brand that makes quality affordable watches, while they are a level above fashion watches they do not meet the criteria we use for luxury or “haute horology“.
Is Orient Owned By Seiko?
As mentioned in the intro, Orient is now held as a subsidiary of Epson which is part of the Seiko Group. More specifically, in 2001, Seiko Epson became the majority shareholder of the company with 52%. Then in 2009, Orient became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Epson.
What many consumers might not realize is that it’s quite common for larger conglomerates to acquire other watch brands. Like many brands in the watch industry, Orient is owned by a larger group but is produced and marketed as its own brand. If you’d like to learn more about the biggest watch groups in the industry click here. You may be surprised how many watch brands are owned by other companies.
Orient Warranty Policy
Before you make your purchase, you need to be aware of the brand’s repair and warranty policies. According to the Orient website, the company will repair a defective watch for one year from the original purchase date “If the ORIENT specified in this guarantee experiences a failure under normal use and service resulting from any defects in material or workmanship.”
Orient specifies that the following will void the guarantee during the following cases: Failure resulting from misuse or carelessness; Failure caused by fire, earthquake, and other disasters; Failure resulting from an improper repair and modification; and The guarantee booklet is not submitted with the watch to be repaired or the information listed on it is incorrect or invalid.” For more information, you can view the warranty policy here.
Here’s a short video by Orient that describes their watchmaking process and shows one of the brand’s production plants.
We hope you learned a thing or two about Orient in this article. This company not only produces reliable watches but also keeps on improving designs and styles while staying true to its roots.
The collections are very wide, so if you’d like to know more about the watches, we suggest you either explore their websites further or visit actual stores so you can try the watches on. Reading forums frequented by watch collectors and experts, such as the ones we mentioned above, will surely be very helpful, too.