Well, after reading all the reviews, I finally had to give the Orient Mako a shot. I ordered them from Amazon.com, which is one of the authorized dealers in the United States. Since they were on sale, I picked up two of them at the same time, a blue Mako and an orange Mako, both on bracelet. I've put a black rubber strap on the orange Mako, just because I think it looks better with one. :)
I'm going to try to be as objective as possible with my review. Instead of reviewing them right out of the box when I received them, I've given them about 2 weeks of wrist time and I've found out that their quality is about average. They're not bad watches, but they're not nearly as good as the reviews I've read.
Accurate and reliable movement
Impressively bright lume
Tight racheting on the bezel
Somewhat shoddy construction
Bezel does not line up with the 12 on either watch
Crown does not screw all the way in on the blue Mako
I've found the movement on both watches to be within 5 seconds per day which, in my amatuer opinion, is pretty good. The winding mechanism is extremely efficient and it barely takes a wobble to get the sweep started. Power reserve appears to hold pretty well. I don't wear my watches at home during weekends and I am not nearly as active as I used to be. I would say that it had less than 3 hours of wrist time between Friday night and Monday morning and it was still running. While winding is a bit noisy, the usual ticking is non-existent. This watch operates silently, which is a trait I prefer. The date flips over the course of about 30-40 minutes, and the day flips twice, as it is done in dual languages. I'm not a fan of the date or day feature, but it doesn't seem to bother me too much on this watch.
The finish is about average. The sides of the case and bracelet are polished while the top of the case and bracelet are brushed. The crown, pusher, and bezel all have a polished finish. Aesthetically speaking, the Mako is a very elegant watch! The orange Mako loses points for using a plain and cheap looking plastic chapter ring. The blue Mako does a little better with it's glossier chapter ring. Unless you look carefully, it blends in very well on the blue one and looks like it matches the gorgeous dial. The orange Mako also shows a visible scuff on the polished tail end of the sweep. The fit and finish of the bracelet appears to be decent. Other than the chapter ring on the orange Mako, the only other item I would add to my cosmetic "wish list" is lume on the tip of the sweep. Speaking of which, the lume on these watches is amazing. On most of my watches, they either fade fast or they don't really glow until you get them in a pretty dark place. With the Mako, they look like they're lit up the moment I pull them away from a light source.
The bezel is tight and rachets crisply. The inserts fit well and you can tell that they gave this a bit of thought as the font and finish show attention to detail. My only complaint about the bezel is that the index doesn't line up with the 12. On the orange Mako, it's just barely off to the right, making it noticable if it's on your wrist. On the blue Mako, it was just flat out horrible. The index stops between markers. I had to remove the bezel and tediously take a file and needle nose pliers to the spring to adjust the stop point so that it would line up perfectly. Not the ideal way of doing things, but it worked. After spending about 30 minutes of carefully filing and fitting, I've got it pretty close to where I want it.
Another issue I had was with the crown on the blue Mako. It wouldn't screw all the way down. I checked against the orange one and found that the blue one was definitely stopping short. So off came the case back and out came the crown and stem. A little bit of heat on the stem and I had the crown backed out. It was immediately clear why the crown wouldn't screw all the way down. The stem had a rough sharp point sticking out the front! Again, I took a file and slowly removed the point, screwing the crown on the stem and checking it against the tube and case. After another hour or so of careful fitting, I got it to just the right length, put a drop of loctite on the end of the stem and screwed it into the crown. Perfect!
Yes, I know they're under warranty, and I know I could have sent them back. But to me, it's just not worth it. They weren't very expensive watches and I didn't feel like waiting for them to send me new ones. These were simple jobs that I could do on my own. HOWEVER, with that said, this is stuff that Orient should have done at the factory. I shouldn't have to fix their QC problems after the purchase. It also was pretty discouraging to see that both watches had cosmetic or fitment issues new out of the box. It wouldn't bother me so much if I just got one that was put together a little off. But when I buy two watches and they both come with problems, it raises some concerns.
Overall, for the price, they're decent timepieces. I think they're a good value and I enjoy wearing them. I would disagree with anyone who tells me they're worth several times over what they cost. I own watches in varying price ranges and I will definitely say that I've become a firm believer in the old adage, "You get what you pay for." With that in mind, I think Orient makes a good competitor for the Miyota powered Invictas and they make a fun addition to anyone's collection. Anyone who is realistic about their expectations will be happy with a Mako. :)