First-off, I can't believe I'm posting a review of a watch, let alone a completely straightforward analog watch that just tells time. First step on the path to the asylum...
Here it is on the Orient site: EV0S004B | Orient Automatic Watches & Reviews | Orient Watch USA
This is my first Orient. I came upon it because I love the look of the Tag Carrera 5 (champagne dial, brown strap) but I'm not about to pay ~$1600. After reading numerous posts here and elsewhere about what great value Orient offers, I figured I'd try one. I was originally looking at the off-white version of the Union which I think looks quite similar to the Tag and is the same size. But I thought the black version looked nicer and then I received a similar off-white/brown watch, so I went for the black version instead (purchased at discountwatchstore.com, which put it on at a great price and shipped it instantly).
The first thing one notices is that the watch almost glitters in light: where the website photo looks quite flat or "matte," the watch is actually very reflective - the case is quite shiny, the crystal is reflective (but does not interfere with reading the watch) and the hands and hour markers really glitter; that's the first thing everyone in my family commented on when I showed it to them. Also, where the face looks essentially flat black in the website photo (you might just make out a bit of texture), it seems to be covered with tiny silver (white?) dots that give it a bit of texture and shine (see photo below). I think it looks better in real life than in the photo, where it looks kind of lifeless (looking at the website photo now, I'm not entirely sure why I bought it).
Nothing much to report about the band - slightly shiny black leather with a standard buckle. Perfectly comfortable but I'll probably buy a deployment buckle to reduce wear (and because I like them).
I've only owned it for 5 days but it has been working fine so far. Compared to the atomic clock, the watch has gained ~16 seconds in the last 48 hours, but that appears to depend a lot on orientation: it gained 10 seconds in 12 hours overnight sitting flat on its back, but then it then gained only about 3 seconds on my wrist during a regular 14-hour day and then another 3 seconds overnight sitting in crown-up position. It has tracked the atomic clock perfectly for the last 8 hours on my wrist. I have not adjusted it at all. I've also heard they tend to run fast when they're brand new and then slow down a bit, but I don't know if that's true. I couldn't identify the movement from a brief look at the manual (for some reason the marking wasn't listed in the manual and I couldn't be bothered to research it) but all the movements in the manual are rated at 15s per day or more, so this is running well within spec.
UPDATE: It is now about a week later and the watch has settled in to great accuracy. Living in a mix of positions (on my wrist, crown up and flat on its back) for the last week, it has gained 56 seconds (against the atomic clock) in 9 days for an average of about 6 seconds a day. I don't know what happened that first night (when I recorded a gain of 10 seconds overnight) but it's doing great now.
A few things about the movement:
- This watch is only automatic - you cannot hand-wind it
- It is the first automatic I've ever had in which I can really feel (and hear) the self-wind rotor moving on my wrist! It's not obtrusive - in fact I don't really mind it - but when I'm walking and my arm is swinging I can sometimes feel the weight move and if I jiggle my wrist quickly I can really hear it. I called Orient to ask if this is normal and they told me that it is - they said the movement has ball bearings to make the auto-wind mechanism more efficient, but the bearings make the rotor movement and noise more pronounced.
- The ticking is very quiet - I have to put the watch pretty close to my ear to hear it tick.
- Finally, the day and date do not change instantly or together. On mine, the date changes over about 10 minutes just before midnight and the day changes between about 1:00 and 3:15am. Yes, this means that there is a period during which the day and date are out of sync - not a problem for me but it may bother some.
- Because the entire day name is displayed, it changes in two "parts" - normally the window would be half the size and the day would first change to the Spanish abbreviation and then change again to the English abbreviation - that's how they support multiple languages. But on this watch, the window is double-width, the first move displays the first half of the full day (so you can see half of yesterday and half of today) and then it completes the transition. So this watch does not support multiple languages.
I mentioned this is my first Orient and I don't know the different Orient movements but this is a relatively inexpensive watch ($225 on the Orient site and lower elsewhere) so it may just be an inexpensive movement.
The lume is essentially non-existent. After wearing it indoors under mixed light for any length of time, the face is pretty much invisible in the dark. After charging it for a minute under a bright desk lamp, the lume shines very clearly in the dark, but after a few more minutes in regular mixed light it discharges and is again invisible in the dark.
One last thing - the crystal is mineral and quite reflective but it's always easy to read the time, partly because the hands and markers are so reflective. I'd probably prefer a more scratch-resistant sapphire but it hasn't been an issue in the short time I've worn it.
Overall I'm very happy with it so far. It looks good, it's the right size and weight, feels like decent quality and keeps time very well for a mechanical watch (especially with no adjustment). Feeling the self-wind rotor is a little weird and I'll have to see if the mineral crystal gets scratched, but if my off-white watch died now I'd buy the off-white Union before paying $1600 for the similar Tag.