After reading many threads about Orient's (often) amazing movement accuracy, I decided to buy one with some money I received as a gift. I wanted an affordable "Swiss-looking" watch with a steel bracelet and exhibition caseback--not easy to find on Orient Watch USA's web site. After much research and web surfing I found skywatches.com.sg and watches88.com, which have good selections of foreign-market Orients that are much more to my taste. I chose the "SER02002B" despite not being able to find much information about it or many pictures. Hopefully others who are interested in this watch or the similar SER02003W will find this review informative/interesting!
316L polished stainless steel case, 50M water resistant
Sapphire top glass with (I assume) regular glass exhibition window
41mm case diameter, 44mm with crown (based on eyeballing with a ruler; the Internet disagrees about its dimensions)
Movement: 48749 (487 "ER"?), 21 jewels, 21600 BPH, no hack or handwind
Polished and brushed stainless steel bracelet with fold-over clasp, solid links, very slightly tapered
Clearly a dress watch but I think the large dark face gives it a modern/youthful edge. Between the bracelet design, the applied hour markers, and the style of the disk with the minute markers, the watch definitely "feels" like a TAG Carerra. Personally I think it looks great.
DIAL, HANDS, CRYSTAL
In the pictures online, the dial is a deep black, but in person it's more charcoal. It has two textures--an inner disk with vertical stripes and an outer disk with tiny concentric grooves where the hour markers are applied. Depending on how the light hits it, the center texture can be extremely prominent or completely invisible.
The hands are "sword" style, very thin and dressy, no lume. Frankly they are often extremely difficult to see depending on the light, but I can always tilt my wrist a couple degrees so the light catches them differently and I can see the time clearly. The white dial version with blue hands is probably very legible but I'm happy with the style tradeoff.
Compared to my Victorinox, I would guess that the crystal doesn't have any AR coating. It's a minor disappointment but I didn't buy this watch for maximum legibility.
I love the style of the bracelet, the combination of polished and brushed links looks upmarket to me, and the links are solid. Unfortunately it rattles and squeaks a lot when I handle it, although it's pretty quiet on my wrist, which is what counts, I suppose. I get a low-quality feel from it, although looking at it, I can't point to any reason for that feeling.
The movement is a "48749" which seems to be more commonly known as a 487 or simply "ER." I can't really find any information on it other than what I listed above. The rotor has Tokyo stripes which look great. Otherwise the movement is undecorated. The rotor spins freely and is very quiet. The seconds hand has a smooth, consistent sweep except for a tiny amount of roughness around 3 o'clock that could just be my imagination. Setting the time is extremely smooth and feels great.
Since I've only had the watch for a day and a half I can't say much about its accuracy but so far it's running +9 seconds/day. Based on other forum posts I expect this to settle down to +4 or +5 after a few weeks. I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't have miracle accuracy like many people seem to get with their Orients out of the box, but I'm still satisfied with +9.
As for the lack of hacking and handwinding, I used to be interested in these things but realized that I just don't care. I'd say it arguably does hand-wind since I can hold it in my hand and swirl it around to wind it. As for hacking, since it's a mechanical watch it's usually going to be off by several seconds anyway so what's the point of the seconds hand pointing at any particular number? These features seem to just add more parts/complication to the movement, i.e., more things to break, for minimal practical value. I have an $80 Kenneth Cole skeleton watch with a Sea Gull movement that hacks and handwinds so it's not anything super special, and its movement doesn't "feel" as good as the Orient's.
FIT AND FINISH
Terrific fit and finish. I found some (literally 2) tiny imperfections with the brushed steel finish on a bracelet link near where it connects to the bottom of the case. You can see this in the picture I took of the watch resting on its side. There's also what looks to be a tiny amount of adhesive residue on the moment, right near where the rotor is connected, which I'm sure doesn't affect how well it works. Otherwise the watch is absolutely perfect, and really, I can't imagine most people would even notice these issues, much less care.
The watch came in a simple thin cardboard box with a warranty card and no manual. The opposite of luxurious but I don't care. My Victorinox came in amazing packaging that I've been meaning to throw away because it just takes up space.
I bought the watch from watches88.com and it was an excellent experience. The watch was sent from Malaysia via Fed Ex Express for a reasonable fee and arrived in less than a week.
A couple years ago, I had the hazy impression that owning a luxury Swiss watch meant that you paid some elderly men in Switzerland thousands of dollars and they went to the attic of their house in the Alps and made you a watch based on secret craftsmanship skills that were developed over a dozen generations. Now I realize how ridiculous that idea is, and that these luxury Swiss manufacturers are just large faceless corporations with tens of thousands of employees who design robots to make watches and pay George Clooney to wear them.
The more I learn about Orient, the more they seem to fit my first impressions of what "luxury" watches should be. They're apparently a relatively small company, only ~600 employees, that does all their own design, engineering, and manufacturing in-house. (I know they're owned by Seiko now, but I've read that they are still independently run.) From watching YouTube videos it seems they do a lot of the work by hand too. And they have an excellent reputation for quality, accuracy, and reliability. They are basically unknown in the US and I think there's something novel about telling people your nice mechanical/sapphire/etc. watch was made by a small Japanese company they've never heard of and it had to be imported from Malaysia. I'm really happy that I found out about Orient and bought this watch vs. buying a TAG Carerra for 10 times as much, which anyone can do at their nearest upscale mall.