This is the second time I have posted a review on WUS so please bear with me on this. I am not particularly knowledgeable in the intricacies of the movements or the details of watchmaking, but I will post my every man comments as to what appeals to me in watches. For the record, I purchased this watch and the other watch in the review for myself, I did not receive a discount or special benefit on either of them, and I am not affiliated with either Serious Watches or Orient Watch company in any way. I am writing this review for others who may be interested in similar watches and because I am passionate about them.
To start with, some background, most of my watch collection consists of divers, desk divers, chronometers, and flight watches, essentially, I realized I needed a dress watch to round out the collection. The idea would be to purchase a few and then slowly cull the herd to around 10, I am still debating which to flip at this point. Enough on that. After looking around for a while I settled on Orient Star as the brand I was interested in. IMHO it represents both great style as well as excellent value. I appreciate that they make their own in house movements, that they are a subsidiary of Seiko (one of my favorite brands), and that they have their own history and direction. It started when I purchased an Orient Ray and realized what an excellent time piece it was, not to mention accurate. I was blown away, I did not expect that kind of quality at that price. So I perused for a couple months and ended up purchasing two Orient Stars, the Classic (in stainless), and the Classic Elegant (in Rose Gold Tone). For the record I am particularly attached to both but for differing reasons. I ordered both from SeriousWatches as they had them in stock (the Orient Star Classic Elegant does not appear to be available in the USA), came highly recommended, provided excellent customer service, and shipped from the Netherlands to Florida in two days free. For reference after exchange rate I paid around $425 for the Elegant, and $330 for the Classic.
I have included the Orient Star Classic in this review as I feel it is an appropriate foil for the Classic Elegant and allows for some contrast.
The Orient Star Classic Elegant watch has a very timeless design, to me it evokes an era before my time when a wrist watch distinguished you from the ordinary. It has clean and classic looks, the dial is a cream white, and from the outside in has painted on classic rail road style minute markers, a set of ribbed rings under the black painted on roman numerals, a date complication at the 3 O'Clock marker, and is followed by a textured center that includes a power reserve complication and black painted on orient star insignia with a rose gold flourish.
Overall the dial is, to my tastes, impeccable. It is legible, easy to read and elegant. It works with a casual pair of slacks and dress shirt, and I would be comfortable with it at a black tie event. If you look closely at the detail pictures above it appears that the paint on the numerals is in between the concentric ribs of the rings and that it has a lined appearance. I can tell you that is an optical illusion from the camera as to the best of my ability, even holding the watch right at eye level I cannot make out anything but sharp crisp lines on the numerals.
The watch has Breguet style watch hands that have are painted a dark but translucent blue. The color is interesting to look at and in some lights and contrasts appears black, but occasionally glints blue, which contrasts nicely with the rose gold tone case. The only complaint I have about the watch revolves around the hands in that the paint, if inspected closely (again look at the detail shots above) can appear plasticky and cheap, at least to my eye. I would have preferred a flat finish on the hands. I admit I am being nitpicky for a watch that costs less than $500.00, but I want people to know where the strengths and weaknesses are.
The crown on the watch is non-screwdown, coin edged, slightly diamond shaped, and is signed with the Orient Star Insignia. It is both simple and appealing in its design, neither standing out, nor an eyesore, it works well with the overall shape of the case. The top of the case is graced with a slightly curved anti-reflective coated Sapphire Crystal. It fits perfectly with the overall design of the case and really helps emphasize the elegance and finish of the watch. Both of which I find well designed and appealing.
The case itself is a polished rose gold tone stainless steel case. It measures approximately 38.7 mm in diameter without the crown and, IMHO is the perfect diameter for a dress watch, not so large that it appears gaudy on average sized wrists and not so small that it would be otherwise unnoticed. It is a little thick measuring in at 13.1 mm in depth, I would have preferred 11 or 12 mm, but again they can only do so much for under $500, and if I am honest it wears nicely on the wrist and has an appropriate amount of wrist presence. There is a nice cut ring around the case that adds to its elegance and draws the eye around it, keeping it from being plain and merely cylindrical. The lugs are, slender, drilled, 20mm wide, and taper nicely away from the watch, maintaining the very consistent dress appearance of the watch. The watch is rated to 5 ATMs, I imagine it could be splashed with water, but even without a leather strap, I would not wear this swimming.
My only real concern is how the rose gold color is achieved, if it is plated, how long will it last, and how will it wear? I hope that with proper care, and treating it as a dress watch should be, it lasts a long time because I plan on using this watch till it dies and cannot be revived. (EDIT, I believe it is PVD)
Orient made the decision to use a skeleton screw down case back that displays a nicely, but modestly decorated, 40N52 movement. This is the exact same movement that is in the Orient Star Classic.
The movement is a tried and true workhorse for Orient Star and to date (all three hours I have had it on my wrist) it has gained +0 seconds against the atomic clock at time.gov. The movement is a 22 jewel, 21600 bph movement, with a date indicator and power reserve meter, and a specified accuracy of +25 ~ -15 seconds per day. My experience in Orient Watches are they they are far more accurate than that. It is signed with the Orient Star logo adorned in yellow gold, and nicely, but modestly, polished for decoration. It appears to be exactly the same as my Orient Star Classic in every way, and I am OK with that, if it is not broken don't fix it.
It comes attached to a matte, dark reddish brown, alligator or crocodile embossed leather strap that measures 20 mm at the lugs and tapers to 16 mm at the buckle. The buckle is also rose gold tone and is etched with the words "OrientStar". It is clearly the weak link in the watch's design, but is perfectly acceptable at this price and more than usable while sourcing a new strap. My thoughts on it are that it is not thick enough at the lugs so the lugs peak out over the edge of the strap and it tapers too much for my tastes. To be honest I would prefer a 20/18 strap similar in sizing to the Classic, but I think that the 4 mm taper may be a classic dress watch style so we will see what I replace it with. It may be the first watch I spend a decent amount on a strap for.
The dark color of the strap compliments the rose gold perfectly. But as you can see in the second picture it has already started cracking around the buckle with only a couple hours of wear on it.
In my opinion, I am amazed at the quality and precision of this watch considering the price paid. $425 is still not cheap by any means, but I would gladly compare this to a $2000-3000 Swiss watch any day of the week. Of course only time will tell if it lasts and is durable, I cannot attest to that. But given my experience so far with Orient watches I am also not giving it any pause for concern. It is clean and classic in design, it has a very accurate and durable movement, it feels great on the wrist, and I expect it to steal weekdays away from the rest of my collection very very quickly. I would recommend it over almost everything else I have seen at this price point to anyone looking for a dress watch for formal functions, that can be dressed down when needed.
How it compares to the Orient Star Classic: (pure opinion)
The classic is exactly that, a retro styled, well built classic, a watch I can wear with any outfit that blends nicely, doesn't draw too much attention, but geeks me out with little details and build quality. However, even though they share the same movement and size, they are very different watches. The Classic is slightly slimmer, and due to its retro styled super domed crystal it sits lower on the wrist. It is dressy, but not a dress watch per se. The classic can pull of dress but it is more casual in looks. And last, even though they are similar it has a hardened mineral glass crystal, and considering how far out of the case it bulges could really use a sapphire crystal. Of course since they share the same innards the $95 difference in price is attributable to the sapphire crystal, and rose gold tone (maybe). Below are some shots that compare and contrast the two, you can make up your own mind...
I hope you enjoyed reading this review, and if you have any questions I will try to answer them. I really enjoyed putting these thoughts down for others.
Per the Sticky at the top, I have no objection to Orient adding this review to a database for their promotion.