For awhile now, it's struck me odd that despite quite a few references and positive comments about the OrientStar Retro Cam, there really isn't much actually written about it. I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift, so I'll try and add a few bits of info to the collective that you'll only get from an owner.
Just a bit of background: This is one of 4 OrientStar "retro" designs, each inspired by a deco-era piece of machinery. This model is the camera, which is joined by the motorcycle, car, and airplane to round out the set. I won't mention all of them in the review, but you'll notice many, many small details that recall this inspiration. Quite cool. On to the review...
Dial: This is first for a reason. You may like the dial design, or you may not, but there is no denying that this is one of the most impressively executed dials on any watch I have ever seen. It's the party piece of this watch without doubt. As far as functional dial elements go, you'll see a power reserve indicator at 12, and a second hand at 6. It is rather a shame not to have a date display, but I can accept that this watch toes the line of form over function.
Which brings us to the actual purpose of this dial, and the only reason to mention it, the incredible stylistic detail. The first thing you're likely to notice are the skeletonized portions. The most obvious located at 9 o'clock, a rather large window showing your balance wheel and escapement quite clearly. Thanks to the display caseback, you can also see straight through the watch from this vantage. Besides that, there is a static gear displayed within the power reserve dial, and a window for the crown stem, and a full ring of exposed movement around the inner dial.
Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention the 3 dimensional elements. It's difficult to fully appreciate this through photos, but I count at least 5 different height levels of equipment underneath the glass. The depth of the machinery is really quite impressive looking. My favorite bit about this is the way every stainless piece is at the same angle, but on different planes. When the light strikes the watch, all of these SS bits jump right out while the lugs, bracelet, and blackness of the dial sort of melt away. You end up with a really striking, industrial, almost steampunky piece of art. I tried to capture this effect below.
Case: I was a little afraid that this watch was going to get by on the looks and dial alone, but holding this case helps to prove otherwise. It is quite hefty, which always imparts a feeling of quality, and the finishing is great. The sides of the case are polished (this extends to the side of the bezel as well), while the top of both case and bezel are brushed. A very striking look, this mixture. I can't say this for a fact, but the color of this steel seems a little "warmer" than other ss watches I own. Almost as if it has a little darker, more gray color in it than is normal.
The case measures in at 41mm and 14mm thick. This day in age, that might be considered midsize...but don't let that deter you. It does wear somewhat larger than that diameter would suggest thanks in part to the crown gaurd and large lugs, and 14mm thick is actually pretty sizeable. Much of that thickness is in the bezel height, which may be a downside for those of us who wear dress shirts with any frequency. But, I'm quite happy with it overall. Not so small and thin that it's an outright "dress watch", but not so thick that it's a tool diver. Good compromise.
One final interesting bit is that the caseback is curved. When looking at it side on, the whole watch appears almost as if it were lightly bent over a steel rod or something, making an upside down u shape. Not in a weird way, of course. It actually really works from a comfort perspective as we don't have flat wrists. Just don't think you're going to find too many replacements for that really curved back glass.
It also looks like a little camera when turned on it's side! Adorable!
Bezel: Not too much to say here, but it's very well done. Clicks are extremely solid and, as can be seen in the pictures, the sides are textured for easy gripping. Stylewise, it's right there with the dial. Engraved numerals enhanced with "f-stop" symbols within the inset bezel insert creates a really upscale appearance.
Crystal: It's a shame that Orient chose to forego sapphire (and a little surprising given the price), but the mineral crystal is doing it's best to help us forgive. It is noticeably domed, which not only looks nice, but also recalls a camera lens. Nice touch. It's also quite thick-looking. Time will tell if it's shape makes it prone to scratching.
Lume: Short and sweet. It's pretty killer. There isn't actually all that much lume applied, just the hands and hour markers...but it's bright. Second only to the Monster from the watches I've owned. Very good. Longevity leaves a little be desired, but I think ease of charging and brightness are more important anyway. My camera's not that great, but this shot will probably do fine. Notice the room isn't even actually dark.
Movement: I don't really know too much about this Orient 46S50 automatic movement, but then, there probably isn't that much to know. What you should be aware of is that it may as well start after blowing on it. This thing is really, really, really sensitive to movement with regard to charging. Great. It also builds up it's power reserve quite quickly. Finally, I would mention that the crown action is very positive. Moving the hands while setting time provides a smooth and solid feeling, as does screwing the crown securely.
Timekeeping has been within 6 seconds per 24 hours as tested against a G-Shock. Impressive. Very.
Bracelet: This is the only part of the watch that still has me a little wishy washy. Although the design blatantly recalls the deco era (which is the point), I would probably have personally chosen something a little less busy. However, it's not a total loss. The mixture of brushed and polished elements matches well with the watch head and, sometimes, I think I'm coming around to it.
Functionally, the bracelet works well enough. It makes very little noise, and none of that annoying squeeking sound. I might say it's a bit light to match the hefty watch head but that's really just nitpicking. One legitimate complaint I would hedge is that the clasp (which is nicely engraved) doesn't have a second, locking clasp to snap over it. Because of that, there is some slight play of the clasp and bracelet when secured. It's a button type so I don't think it will come undone , but it just seems like it might.
Overall I'm really impressed with this, my first Orient watch. It's certainly the kind of piece where you'll look at it time and again only to find some new appreciation for it on each occasion. It's really great that the movement is so accurate making this a great functional device, but that styling...just stunning.