In this corner, wearing the distinctive bezel that people love to hate, the Orient diver with a heart of gold: Orient Star 200m WZ0351FD Revolver!
And in this corner, a fellow whose bezel and hands have had their own share of controversy, the crowd favorite: Seiko SBDC005 Sumo!
OK, here’s how this thing is gonna go down: Observations relating to specific topics will be made regarding each watch. I am going to try and touch on certain aspects of the watches that speak to me and hopefully they will be a little different (more entertaining) than the typical watch review. At the end, I will choose my favorite of the two. Hopefully some of the observations made will help those who are trying to decide whether to acquire one or both of these watches.
This is by no means objective in any way!
The categories will be broken down as follows:
-Bezel and crystal
-Dial, hands and lume
-The “soul” of the watch
-Overall fit and finish
For each category, I’ll assign a score of between 1 and 5, 5 being super awesome and 1 being pitiful.
On with the show!
As many of us know, the wearability of a watch is quite important once you move beyond the honeymoon phase of obtaining a watch. What I mean by this is there is an overall level of comfort that is achieved with certain watches and combinations of straps and bracelets. This has to do with how the case fits the wrist as well as how the lugs are sculpted.
I see a lot of comments about how the Sumo wears smaller than it looks. I’m not in total agreement about this, or perhaps I am thinking about this in a different way. For my 7.5” wrist, the Sumo wears quite large. The large lug-to-lug length is the culprit here. I find that the Sumo is quite comfortable, but to me it still feels like a wrist clock. Paired with my Meyhofer strap, the Sumo has been quite comfortable overall with unmistakable wrist presence. The OEM strap is considerably less comfortable, but still, overall wearability of the Sumo is quite good. Although the case of the Sumo has a larger area, the case itself is thinner than the Revolver. Therefore, it hugs the wrist. In that regard, the watch keeps a low profile.
I tried the Revolver on the OEM bracelet and the OEM strap that came with my SBBN007 Tuna. For the first couple of days of wearing the Revolver with the strap, I felt like it was a good combination, although I felt that due to the tapering of the strap, the lug area of the strap was a bit overwhelming in size. It made for a decent fit, but I ended up going back to the bracelet. The bracelet is quite comfortable and it fits the personality of the watch much better than the tuna strap. I am not big on bracelets, but this one is quite good. Wrist presence for the Revolver is undeniable. The watch is substantially thicker than the Sumo, and I like how it looks on my wrist. The caseback has less contact with my wrist, therefore wearing smaller.
Bezel and crystal:
Let’s talk about the bezel on the Sumo. Wonderful action! The feel of the bezel is one of the best I have experienced. The action is smooth with 120 clicks. The action is not too soft, not too hard. I have never accidentally turned the bezel even one click. The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 are written on the bezel, while the 12:00 position is marked by a triangle that mimics the 12:00 marker on the dial, with lume pip in the center. The font on the bezel is the source of some controversy among anti-NASCAR folks. I definitely see the similarities, but it doesn’t bug me. After all, this watch was made in Japan, for the Japanese. They like real racing over there, you know, the kind that involves turning the steering wheel in more than one direction! The individual minute markers on the bezel are well positioned on the inside of the bezel, which I find makes it much easier to read elapsed time. I also feel that the partial shrouding of the bezel adds a level of complexity to the watch.
The Hardlex crystal of the Sumo seems to be ever so slightly domed. It creates a pretty cool warping effect when you view the dial at extreme angles. I find that this adds to the character of the watch. Otherwise, there is nothing special about the crystal. It seems to carry out its intended purpose of providing a clear view and protection adequately. The crystal could definitely benefit from antireflective coating.
The bezel on the Revolver is summed up by most as “busy.” This is certainly true, but I don’t see that as a negative. On the inside of the bezel, there are evenly spaced marks for each minute. This provides for the most accurate reading of elapsed time you can get with a bezel. At every point in every position, the minute marks on the dial line up perfectly with the ones on the bezel. The same cannot be said about the bezel on the Sumo. The action is wonderful on the Revolver as well, although it’s a little too easy to turn. This has become apparent, as I have looked down several times to find that the bezel has been advanced a click or two by routine wear. The Revolver rotates 60 clicks rather than the Sumo’s 120. I prefer 60 click bezels to 120 click bezels in general. The Revolver is also numbered 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 with a marker at 12:00 mimicking the one on the dial, with lume pip in the center.
The crystal of the Revolver is Hardlex-like mineral crystal. It has sustained a small gash, although it only becomes apparent when viewing the watch at certain angles with certain light. The crystal on the Revolver has been treated with an antireflective coating, which gives off a wonderful greenish hue when viewing it at certain angles. Readability of the dial is always excellent due to the AR treatment and the tint adds to the character of the watch.
Dial, hands and lume:
Let’s talk dial! The orange Sumo has a wonderful happy, sporty orange color that just made me go get a glass of orange juice. The dial layout of the Sumo is fairly understated, with classic raised markers, outlined by metal (ss?). The layout uses the classic Japanese chapter ring for minute markings and the date window is positioned at 3:00. It’s a very well executed dial. The hands have come to represent the Sumo quite well, even though similar hands were used for the Samurai TI models and the “Sumo-lite” Seiko 5 watches. I originally found these hands to be quite unattractive, but I have come to appreciate them over time. On the orange Sumo, the outlines of the minute and hour hands are black, with the exception of the backs of the hands, which keep their stainless steel luster. The second hand is black and makes a good match for the set. As we all know, Seiko has legendary lume. The Sumo does not disappoint in this department. Lume is bright and long lasting. One could successfully navigate around the outer banks of North Carolina using Seiko lume as his guide.
I can’t stop staring at the dial on the Revolver when I wear it. In my opinion, this dial is one of the coolest of any watch. Raised hour markers outlined with metal (ss?) set the stage against a black backdrop. The date window at the 9:00 position is one of the cool quirky things Orient has done with these divers, along with the power reserve indicator in the upper right quadrant of the dial. I find the power reserve indicator to be extremely useful on this watch, and it’s really cool to watch how efficiently the watch winds. The hands are also some of my favorite hands on a watch. Fairly simple sword-shaped hour and minute hands trimmed in metal give the watch a classic look, which helps to balance against the edginess of some of the other design elements. The second hand is a sharp yellow sweeper with a tad of lume in the pointer. The yellow of the second hand in conjunction with the yellow 200m script on the dial really make the dial pop. Lume on the Revolver is excellent. Not quite as torch bright as the Seiko, but certainly no slouch.
As James Brown sang, “I got soul, and I’m superbad!” Let’s get to the soul of these watches, the movement.
The Sumo uses a Seiko 6R15 movement beating at 21,600 BPM. The 6R15 hand winds and hacks. I can’t remember the specs right now, but that doesn’t matter as both watches have blown their respective specs out of the water. This particular Sumo has been astoundingly accurate. This beast has gained a total of 3 seconds over the course of the past week. This is by far the most accurate auto I have owned. This movement is just fantastic. It has a great power reserve and the personality of the movement shines through in the sweep of the second hand. The soul of the Sumo really shines through.
The Revolver uses one of Orient’s midrange movements as far as I can tell. I’m not sure what they call this one, but it is also very impressive. This particular movement also beats at 21,600 BPM and does so with great accuracy. This movement does not hand wind and it also doesn’t hack, which bothered me initially, but I have gotten used to being without the functionality of each feature. It is a lot easier to live without hacking when you have an accurate timepiece. Over the course of the week, the Revolver lost about 10 seconds. Again this is wonderful accuracy! I find that a lot of the soul of the Revolver is also projected with the sweep of its second hand. This guy has personality!
Overall fit and finish:
The Sumo case embodies a lot of Seiko History. The polished and brushed surfaces on the sides of the case are very similar to the design on the SBDX001 Marine Master. The partial shroud and bezel profile are also very well done and unique. Long angular lugs complete a complex blend of polished and brushed surfaces throughout. The screw down caseback and signed 4:00 crown complete a well thought out design. There are several complex design elements in the Sumo case and Seiko has executed this design language well. Although this particular orange example says “I’m sporty!” close examination of all the little details reveal that the Sumo means business.
The overall case design on the Revolver is much simpler than that of the Sumo. There is a blend of polished and brushed surfaces on the case, but a more simplistic approach was taken. The case thickness of the Revolver makes it meatier than the Sumo. A profile view shows an added level of complexity with details of the bezel helping to make up for a simpler case design. The symbol on the caseback of the Revolver wins “cooler caseback” for sure and the 4:00 crown is also signed with the Orient O.The overall fit and finish of the Orient is very well executed, if less elaborate than that of the Sumo.
Huh! Imagine that, a tie! I seriously didn’t do that intentionally. I will say that I really like both of these guys for different reasons and that I feel like any dive collection would greatly benefit from the addition of either or both of these wonderful Japanese watches. I have recently been buying watches at a rate that is not quite “sustainable” recently, and I was thinking about selling one or the other of these, or perhaps even both. I seriously don’t think I can do it. The Revolver is such a cool unique diver and I truly enjoy wearing it every time I put it on. The Sumo is the essence of sporty in its orange guise. It’s a real joy to look down at my wrist and find either one of these guys sitting there. So my advice……… Buy them both! Big shock, right?
Got any questions I didn't answer satisfactorily? I don't doubt it! Have questions? Post 'em if you got 'em!