I'm surprised nobody performed a proper review on this one yet, considering its popularity on WUS, so I'm honored to be the first one!
As almost everyone knows that visits this section of WUS, Orient has decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary by releasing two limited edition watches, the SDT00001S and the SDT00002W. The first model is stainless steel with a yellow gold plating and brown-colored leather band, while the second is plain stainless-steel with a black leather band. The watches are limited to 1500 pieces each, with 3000 of these watches made in all.
Since the two watches are identical other than the color, this review will cover the basics on both, but I obviously cannot comment on the appearance of the first model.
Since the first experience you have with a watch is its packaging, I'd like to start there. As is common, the watch box has its own cardboard box:
While the cardboard box isn't anything special, the actual watch box is:
The image doesn't really do it justice. The box is of beautiful wooden construction that gives a great presentation all the way. Also, one thing I like is that the smell of the wood has permeated the leather strap, which gives the watch a rather pleasant scent to it. Here's the box open with the watch inside:
If you ask me, they really went all out with the box on this model, as it is leaps-and-bounds better than the one my Orient Racing Skeleton went in, which was a more expensive model. I thought the Racing Skeleton's box was really nice, too, so that's saying a lot.
Watch Case and Face, and Caseback
As you can see, the watch is a very vintage style, with large throwbacks to 50's-style watches. The case is very nicely polished, and gives off a real shine:
The watch face is a very light brushed silver that shines differently depending on how the light hits it. If you look at the picture above, the sun was hitting the watch around the 10:00 position of the watch, so you can see the shine pattern starting around the 8:00 position and ending around the 1:00 position.
The markings of the watch all match the outside case, and the hands are diamond-shaped. There is a date indicator at the 3:00 position and a power-reserve indicator at the 12:00 position. The writing on the watch is a classic-style cursive font that Orient used back in the 50's. All writing on the watch (on the face, caseback, crown, and buckle) are this font.
Here is a view of the caseback:
As you can see, the etched caseback is very good looking. Along with all of the standard markings, the watch presents itself as a limited edition 60th anniversary model, also indicating its serial number (mine, in this case is 525/1500).
Here's another shot of the caseback with the sun showing off the lettering:
One thing I'd like to say is how incredibly easy the caseback is to scratch! Note the tiny scratch the left of the "60th." I was quite careful with it, too, including using microfiber cloths to clean the caseback. Either way, I worry about how easy this thing will be to scratch.
As far as the caseback, note that it is not screw-down, but this IMO is not really an issue. After all, the watch is a homage to older styles, and they're just following the style for the time. The watch is water-resistant to 50m, which according to Orient, makes the watch good enough for splashing from daily use (washing hands, etc.), and even light surface swimming. I wouldn't recommend wearing this kind of watch while swimming, though, especially with the leather band...
Crystal and Dimensions
The watch has a nicely-domed mineral crystal covering the face. Here's a side-shot that shows it off:
The crystal is domed quite a bit, to the point it is around 3mm above the steel case. It gives the watch a very nice curved feel, which makes it fit nicely under a shirt cuff. The one big drawback to this watch definitely has to be that the crystal is mineral, not sapphire. I am going to be very conscious about wearing this watch, since mineral crystal scratches a lot easier than sapphire. Of course, mineral crystal is more shatter-resistant, but I still feel with the high dome of this watch, it will be much more prone to scratches than being shattered. If I wanted to change any one thing about this watch, it would be swapping out the mineral crystal in exchange for the sapphire.
The watch dimensions are 39mm wide by 11.6mm thick, which is a great overall size for this watch. Since it is homage to older models, it doesn't give an oversized feel on your wrist, but isn't too small that it feels out of place with modern watch sizes. I think they really nailed the size of the watch perfectly.
Band and Buckle
Here's a shot of the buckle, and a close-up of the leather band:
The buckle is nicely accented with the classic Orient logo. The leather band itself is of decent quality with a nice shine to it. The shine gives the watch a very dressy feel, which feels out of place with casual clothes. As far as the band quality, I think it is good, but I am not the biggest fan of the tooling. I feel like the band quality could have been better, but hey, for the price, I think it was good. Also, I am by no means an expert on leather bands, so if you have more expert knowledge on the matter, please feel free to correct me!
Watch Movement and Crown
Since I am no watch expert, I dare not remove the caseback on this thing. So, I unfortunately have no pictures of the movement for you. However, I do have the stats:
Movement Caliber: Orient 48N40 (in-house)
Jewels: 21 jewel
Accuracy: +25/-15 seconds/day
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Watch features/complications: Hand-wind, hacking second-hand, date indicator, power reserve
As any frequenter of WUS's Orient forum knows, this is an unusual Orient movement, as their movements generally are not hackable, and are generally not hand-wound. Almost all Orients are automatic movements with no ability to wind the watch via the crown. I personally welcome this, as I plan on using this watch not as my daily wearer, but rather as a dress watch. Since the watch would sit dormant for periods of time, having the ability to hand-wind it is a big plus. Also, since I'll need to set the time almost every time I wear it, the hacking capabilities will come in hand and really lends the watch to be an ideal for occasional wear.
The watch's operation is very standard. The watch winds while the crown is in the closed position, adjusts the date in the first position, and adjusts the time in the second position (with hacking). One thing that Orient made sure to put on this watch is an oversized crown, which is extremely easy to wind. When they break their trend and go with hand-wound movements, they sure do it right.
There is, however, one small drawback to the movement. Unlike their automatics which cannot be overwound, this watch can. Therefore, it is important to not let the power-reserve to go past 40-hours. This is stated by Orient Watch USA, and in the watch manual itself. This is one way in which the oversize crown can actually be a disadvantage, as it might be easy to wind the crown unintentionally. I have actually found myself winding the watch inadvertently while wearing it on my wrist. Orient Watch USA recommends not winding the watch all the way, and I would say this is a great idea from the 2 days I've worn it. Winding up to 35-38 hours reserve instead of the full 40 hours gives you a comfortable amount of breathing room for those accidental windings and to avoid overwinding the mainspring.
As far as watch accuracy goes, I cannot accurately attest to this, as I haven't worn it for long. However, the watch has gained around 10 seconds in a 24-hour period, which is within specifications. Again, since I am using this watch as the occasional dress model, accuracy is not of prime concern to me. However, Orient movements have the reputation of being extremely accurate. My Racing Skeleton, for example, has stayed within COSC requirements, making it extremely accurate for a mechanical model. I should also note that Orient recommends hand-winding the watch the same time every day to get the best accuracy from it.
On-the Wrist Impressions
Here's a view of the watch on my wrist:
The watch feels extremely comfortable to wear. The inner lining of the leather band is very soft, and the watch itself is light and very sits on my wrist perfectly. For reference, I have a 6.5" wrist, which is a bit on the smaller side for a man. Here's the side-view:
As you can see, it does not rise far off my wrist, and it slips effortlessly in and out from under a dress shirt cuff. Also, take careful notice of that nice dome-effect you get from the crystal.
Final Impressions and Conclusion
As you can see, the watch really has a lot going for it. The watch has a vintage feel to it, but doesn't feel out of place on the modern man's wrist. The price of the watch (at least at the time that I bought it) is $480 retail for the stainless-steel version, and is $600 for the gold-plated version. However, it's no secret that Orient Watch USA offers many coupons for their watches, and a quick search should find you a nice discount.
I would like to mention one other thing about the gold-plated model. Note that the gold-plating on the watch is 4 microns, which is is not exactly a thick gold plating. Some WUS members have expressed concern that the gold plating is too thin to withstand scratching and overall wear. While I am not knowledgeable enough about the matter to comment either way, I thought I should mention it for those interested in the gold-plated model.
Anyway, here's a quick overview of the pros and cons, plus another obligatory wrist shot:
- PERFECT watch size
- Excellent Vintage Styling
- Beautiful crystal dome
- Handy power-reserve indicator
- Nice writing on watch overall (especially caseback)
- Hand-wound movement with hackability
- Excellent watch for the occasional wearer
- Great price point
- Watch is easy to scratch in many ways
- Crystal is mineral, not sapphire
- Watch can be overwound
- Watch band not as nice as it could be
- Gold version is 4 microns thick, which might be a concern to some
However, don't let the cons throw you off. I am very pleased with my purchase, and can happily recommend this watch for purchase. At the time of this writing, there are still watches available in both varieties at OWUSA and other locations, so you still have a chance to grab one.
Overall, I think Orient did an excellent job with their 60th Anniversary model. I wouldn't consider it perfect, I definitely consider the pros FAR outweighing the cons, especially for the price I paid for it! It will serve its purpose for me, my dress watch, for many happy years to come!
And, as a parting shot, here's a final glance at the watch, side-by-side with my Orient Racing Skeleton:
Thanks for reading!