(I also posted this review in the Affordables forum so that this watch gets a bit more attention, as I think it deserves.)
Hey all, my first review of a watch here on WUS and it's one that really should have a bit more attention (in my opinion.) The first automatic watch that I bought (almost one year ago) for my thirtieth birthday: the Orient Brazen. As my title says, this review is long overdue. Why? Because this watch has sat in its box for something like the last six months. There's a couple of reasons and really they have nothing to do with the quality of the watch. Mainly, I was a newb at the time and simply didn't appreciate this watch and unfairly compared it to the reviews and pictures of multiple-thousand dollar watches. But the Orient Brazen is no expensive watch. It's a solid affordable. And, after all this time, I've finally learned how to properly appreciate this watch. Anyway, enough backstory, onto the watch!
Orients can be tough to find in my corner of Europe. I learned about them as solid, reliable entry-level watches online and so ordered one from Amazon. At the time, I wanted a watch in blue since I had white-faced watches. I also wanted something a bit sporty. This is definitely a sporty-looking watch. Only 50m water resistant, but enough for the type of sports I get up to. I love textured dials and the carbon fiber texture, which you can see in the picture, is really well done. Overall, from this watch, I'd have to say I'm very impressed with the quality of Orient's dial-making, hands and case. It's really tough to get a picture (I think I managed though) but the hour and minute hands are beveled lengthwise. That is, they appear to slant down from a line in the center. Really cool touch for a watch that cost €80. That's right. €80. Honestly, the Orient hands here are nicer than the hands on my Tissot Le Locle (which cost more than 4x what the Orient did.) Other aspects I like about the dial: Not too much writing, the blocky minute markers are both original and add depth to the design. The touch of yellow between 12 and 4 as well as the yellow blocks being "hashed." Really, an astonishing attention to detail at this price point. The date window fits in perfectly with a silver frame similar to the indices.
The case: 41 mm wide brushed steel. (orientwatchesusa.com apparently said/says this watch is something like 39mm. It's not. It's 41mm. Trust me.) As you can see above, the brushing on the lugs matches the shape of the dial. Again, these little attentions to detail on such an inexpensive watch are really appreciated. There is also a "ring" of slightly more polished (yet still brushed) steel you can see here:
The crown has no logo, and there is a see-through caseback:
The bracelet: Here's something that is tough about this particular watch. The lug sizing is really odd. At the lugs, it's about 12mm. But the bracelet is 20mm. That makes it difficult to put this watch on anything other than the bracelet it comes with. However, the bracelet is plenty comfortable and with the ability to micro-adjust in the clasp. The clasp is engraved with Orient's logo and name. It's a folding clasp with one lock (I think that's the term.) You push the pushers on both sides of the clasp and it unlocks. The links aren't solid, rather folded. And it doesn't use springbars (except where the bracelet meets the case) rather it uses an odd metal thing that needs to be poked out of the links. It's rather hard to describe. Here's a pic:
The movement: It seems difficult to find information on Orients movements. This one uses the movement with the "ER" prefix. It seems basically similar to Seikos 7S series. No hacking, no handwinding, +/- 25 seconds per day. Although I think, like with Seiko, they are too cautious with their +/- estimations. This watch seems to run easily under +/- 10 seconds per day. Although I've made no professional measurements. Anyway, a solid movement if you can live without hacking and handwinding (I can.) It's also kind of cool that the movement is a blacked-out steel rather than the usual silver-gray. On occasion you can faintly hear and feel the rotor spin. Some people like this, others don't. I don't much care one way or another.
Lume: It exists. Not real great. I don't mind it though. I had a Timex (with Indiglo) for years and almost never used the lighting function. My Le Locle has zero lume. So lume is rather unimportant in my purchase decisions.
Final Assessment: You get a lot of quality for an amazing price with this piece. This watch makes for a great automatic starter watch, beater, or daily-wearer. (It's now become my daily-wearer.)
The dial and hands are the equal of (if not actually better than) my much more expensive Tissot Le Locle.
The movement is a solid, reliable workhorse that is accurate enough.
The bracelet is comfortable with one micro-adjustment option.
The rather funky lug-spacing makes it very difficult to wear this with anything other than the bracelet.
Concerns (i.e. things that don't bother me, but might bother someone):
The lume isn't great.
Thanks for reading!