It’s often difficult to buy a watch in the mid price range as the quality can vary enormously between brands in this sector however Orient watches offer a great catalogue
The more expensive timepieces from the lower-end brands and also the less expensive Swiss-made watches tend to be part of this category. But even a $50 variation in price can see a drastic change in the quality of the watch.
So, if you’re looking mid-range – typically under $1000 – you are well-advised to do your homework on the brand that you’re interested in. One brand that is worth a look is Orient, which offers decent quality at a reasonable price.
Founded in 1950, Orient is a Japanese watchmaker offering premium timepieces. It have a great reputation for making really high-quality mechanical offerings at competitive prices.
Orient is known for its hand-winding and self-winding mechanical watches, but also dabbles in solar and quartz. Today, Orient is a wholly-owned subsidiary of watch giant, Seiko. You can still find the movements in their watches being made in-house in Japan.
Superior movements aside, it also offers some seriously sleek designs that walk a fine line between playfulness and sophistication. After 70 years there’s an extensive collection with many, many designs to pick from.
If you’re looking for a dress watch on a budget, the Bambino collection is for you. It has simplistic but beautiful designs. Inside are some of the best mechanical movements you can find at this price level.
The Bambino V5 is quite similar to its predecessors with a 40.5mm case which is 12mm thick. It has crystal on the dome covering the dial, which has Arabic numerals on a sunburst-effect dial, and very polished hands. The side of the case is matte and brushed. You can pick it up in three different colours.
Orient’s Star collection is considered the best by die-hard fans. It has some of the more sophisticated design and a marginally higher price in comparison to other ranges, but it it does combine some of the more modern tech, movements and design features.
The Classic Star is the most popular model because it has a very versatile design that means you can blend it in with any outfit for any occasion.
The Classic Star also has the on-brand sunburst dial and crystal dome. Both shiny and sophisticated. It has dauphine hands and, again, the highly polished markers. This offers a strong contrast against the pure white dial so it’s incredibly readable in all lighting.
The case is 38.5mm and 13mm thick. It has a vintage look which oozes class.
The Mako II is the most popular in the sports range and a real bargain.
It’s a little chunkier than the rest, at 41.5mm and 13mm thick. The stainless steel case is polished on the sides as well as on the crown. It’s popular with divers as it offers an incredible 20ATM water resistance; almost unheard of at this price.
If you’re into diving or generally any extreme water sports, the Ray II ($129 / £107) is exceptional.
The dial has the starburst pattern in the background. It doesn’t just look good, it’s been designed to be seen underwater, where it can withstand 200m of water pressure.
The face has minimal details, again purposely done so the wearer can easily see the time when needed.
The unidirectional bezels edge is scalloped and on the whole, very slim. It has a luminous pip at the 12 position so you’re never unsure of the exact time. For the price, you’d be hard pushed to find a dive watch that would be this reliable.
Coming back to minimalistic design, the Mako XL offers the clearest design of all. It’s minimal but elegant. It has the right amount of text and markers to remain uncluttered. The dial and hands are made to be totally sharp. The markers are luminous but could be a little brighter.
The bezel rotates, but it’s sturdy and of better quality than most on the market. The bezel has a 60 marker, rather than the typical triangle. It takes a while to get used to.
Orient watches offer decent quality, with sophisticated designs and reliable movements baked in. The sports watches, in particular, offer exceptional value, especially as this is one of the few affordable brands still making its own movements in-house.
If you like the sound of Orient but want to window shop a little further around the mid-range, you should check out a couple of our reviews. Guess is a great start and a better-known brand if you’re not sure about Orient. Check out what we thought here. If you are interested in a brand you may not immediately recognise, see what we said about the Nixon brand, here.
Last Updated on October 5, 2020