ORIENT CDH00002B REVIEW
I managed to snag one of these during Orient's last 50% off special, and have been pretty happy with it so far. MiniDriver posted some pictures of the watch a few weeks ago (which convinced me to get it), but apart from that I haven't really seen any discussion about it. I'll see if I can change that...
I was originally looking for a pilot's pilot watch... something that I could wear while flying that would be easy to read during the day and at night, that could take a little bit of a beating, and that had a slide rule bezel (not strictly useful, since I can do most of the math in my head, but I'm a geek and it looks cool ).
This watch ended up not fitting the bill... it's simply way too nice. I would hate to get oil on the polished leather band or skuff up the case by banging it against the canopy in turbulence. The lume isn't anything to write home about, and the polished hands can be difficult to see against the intricately detailed face. It's definitely a dressy watch. Oh well... I'll keep looking. But in the meantime, I've been wearing the watch casually and I have to say that I really like it.
This is my first Orient watch, and I was impressed even before I saw the watch. This watch comes in a very nice and very solid padded box. It's the nicest box I've ever received with a watch.
The watch comes on a very, VERY dark reddish-brown leather band with a deployment buckle. It looks a lot redder in pictures than it does in real life, where it's usually mistaken for black. The leather is highly polished and reflective. I personally prefer a finish that is less glossy on leather, but it definitely goes well with the rest of the watch. It's also very comfortable, and manages to balance the weight of the watch quite well, which is unusual in my experience with straps in general.
One of the first things that surprised me when I opened the box was how large the watch looked. It's easily the largest watch I own, and although I was skeptical at first, I'm now starting to appreciate the watch's size. I think one of the reasons I find this watch so comfortable is that the large size prevents the watch from sliding "too high" or "too low" on my wrist... it just sits in the right spot.
The fixed bezel (the metal ring around the watch that doesn't move) seems a little large to me. I think I would have preferred a smaller bezel so that the case outline was closer to the crystal (like on the Nighthawk). This would have been an easy way to make the watch smaller, but I won't complain since the size seems to fit me pretty well.
The crystal is a sapphire. I think it has an antireflective coating on the inside. The caseback also has a sapphire, which I think does not have a coating.
Both crowns are non-screw-down type, and are signed. I think Orient makes another watch with a screw-down crown for operating an inner slide rule. This seems incredibly counter-intuitive to me, and I'm glad that these crowns don't screw down.
One really nice thing about the slide rule crown (at 4:00) is that it's placed slightly higher on the case than the normal crown. This makes it easier to turn the slide rule while the watch is on your wrist. The slide rule crown doesn't turn as nicely as the crown on my Alpinist, but it still turns easily enough.
Dial and Hands:
The dial is extremely intricate and very highly detailed. Every surface is very well finished. The dial is broken up into several segments, which each sit at a different height and add depth to the dial. The hour indices are applied, and have a mirror finish with lume along the center track.
The hour and minute hands are faceted and both have a lume area. The second hand has a red tip with a tiny bit of lume. The power reserve hand is faceted and has no lume. The date hand is a little disappointing because it isn't faceted and looks pretty ordinary. It seems out of place on such an intricate dial, especially when all the other hands are so ornate.
Finally, the second time zone indication takes the form of a 24 hour wheel that is exposed between 8:30 and 10:30, which borrows from some of the Hamilton GMT model styles. This is probably my favorite part of this watch. Most GMT watches have an additional hour hand that make you reinterpret your 12-hour dial as a 24-hour dial. I find that simply reading the number off of the wheel is much easier and can be done without thinking.
I'm adding this section because I just noticed that the only labeled markers are nautical mile, statute mile, and kilometer. Other slide rule watches I've seen have other conversions like U.S. gallons, imperial gallons, liters, fuel lbs, and oil lbs. It's easy enough to do these conversions in your head, but it's nice to have them printed if you want a slightly more accurate result.
I don't know much about the movement except that it's an Orient 48K40, it hacks but doesn't hand-wind (I'd prefer the opposite, but not strongly), it has a date indicator, a power reserve indicator, and an independently settable second time zone indicator. During the three days I've been measuring, the watch hasn't drifted more than two seconds in either direction, which I find pretty remarkable.
I'm very happy with this watch. It's not the pilot watch I was originally looking for, but I'm definitely happy with it.
And now for the pictures: