Orient consistently finds itself atop many lists of affordable watch brands. This is for good reason.
It is a brand with a rich heritage that produces amazing quality timepieces. While many know Orient for their Dive watches, they also offer quality watches in other categories.
Orient separates itself from other watch brands due to their much-lauded, high-quality movements.
As a result, every watch in Orient’s catalog has a well-tested, durable movement presented in a stylish case. This combined with affordable prices makes Orient’s an extremely attractive option.
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History of Orient
While Orient dates back to 1901, it officially started as a watch company in Japan in 1950. It was a part of a group of industry-leading watchmakers which included Seiko and Citizen.
Those two watch companies would go on to adjust their offerings to include more quartz movements. Orient stayed true to producing mechanical watches and improving their design over the years.
This focus on automatic movements may have pushed Orient behind their rivals that were mass-producing quartz offerings. But it allowed Orient to refine its production techniques.
Using this focus, the brand has produced some of the best automatic watches in history, including the world’s thinnest automatic watch with a day-date complication in 1967.
They continued to work on automatic movements and released a high-precision movement in 2004 that was integrated into their Royal line. In 2009, Orient joined Seiko Epson and now sits officially under the company’s umbrella.
Are Orient Watches Good?
Orient is a trusted brand that offers some of the best watches on the market. They are affordable and often cited as the best sub-$500 watch brand. The biggest selling point with Orient watches is undoubtedly their automatic movement.
Their improvements over the years have allowed them to perfect a truly high-quality movement that is both accurate and durable.
Much of their success with automatic movements are due to their manufacturing process. Orient is still one of the few watch brands in the world that offer a full in-house automatic movement. That means that everything inside the watch is built in one place.
This allows for consistency and proper alignment because the parts built for Orient’s movements are unique to each other, designed to work at maximum efficiency.
That is not to say that non-original parts would result in a less efficient movement. But even a nanometer of difference in gear can result in a less optimal movement.
This dedication to detail has raised Orient’s automatic watch performance significantly. It regularly outperforms watches in the same price range and even competes with high-end Swiss watches.
Orient’s automatic movements are also an incredibly environmentally-friendly way to produce and maintain watches. They do not require batteries, which results in less electronic waste.
Finally, what makes Orient watches so appealing is their dive watch offerings. They have tremendous watches in other fields, which we will cover below. But they are exceptionally good at producing dive watches and have stayed true to that script over the years.
As a result, they have been able to iterate out imperfections, allowing them to offer technologically advanced beautiful dive watches that have been refined over the years.
10 Best Orient Watches
Here are our favorites…
1. Orient Ray II
With Seiko discontinuing the SKX007, Orient stepped in to take the mantle of best sub-$200 dive watch. Therefore, any list of best Orient watches has to start with the Orient Ray II, which is one of the best watches of all time.
The Orient Ray II is a 41mm dive watch that features 200m of water resistance and a 120-click unidirectional bezel. It also features hacking and hand-winding through its F6922 movement.
The hand-winding leads to a 40-hour power reserve, which is a feature many entry-level dive watches lack. The hacking allows the Ray II to be set to an atomic clock.
The Ray II is an extremely stylish dive watch, taking its designs cues from other dive watches on the market. It features round indices on the dial and offers a day-date complication. The 41mm case size is extremely versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
The watch is featured on an oyster-style bracelet. While many can opt to switch out the band for NATO or even leather straps, we think the Oyster is the right fit as it reinforces the ‘tool watch’ aesthetic. The Ray II is an amazing value at the $130 price tag.
2. Orient Mako II
Watch brands rarely have two remarkable watches in the same category. Therefore, it is refreshing that Orient brings two excellent dive watches to the market. We already featured the Orient Ray II, but its cousin the Orient Mako is every bit as amazing.
The Mako uses the same F6922 movement which allows hand-winding and hacking for accuracy. It comes in a compact 41mm case with 40 hours of power reserve and features the day-date complication at the 3 o’clock position.
The only difference between the two is the markers. While this may seem like a small difference, putting them side-by-side shows how different they really are. The markers on the Mako II use stick designs giving it a dressier appearance.
The circular indices on the Ray are great, but the Mako classes up the dive watch, making it more appropriate for dressier occasions. The Mako was so successful that Orient rebranded the model and made some modifications to introduce a brand-new offering. But more on that later.
3. Orient Bambino
Dress watches are difficult to execute. They can be pretentious and impossible to dress down. As a result, many watch enthusiasts will shy away from dress watches, which is a mistake.
Orient introduced an answer to those looking for a versatile dress watch that could also serve weekend duties. The Orient Bambino is arguably one of their most popular offerings, and one of the most popular dress watches available from any brand.
The Bambino features Orient’s automatic movement in a 40mm case protected by a domed mineral crystal. It is water-resistant to 30m and features a date complication at the 3 o’clock position.
The Bambino is available in a variety of face colors including a deep rich blue and solid black. However, we are partial to the white face on the deep brown leather strap. The white face of the Bambino combined with the clean minimalist design really pops.
The watch is also extremely affordable at around $100.
4. Orient Triton (aka Neptune)
Orient has continued redesigning the dive watch with recent offerings. In 2018, the company introduced the Orient Triton (or more formally known as the Neptune) which takes all the successful elements of the Ray and the Mako and makes small, but impressive improvements.
The Triton features an upgraded sapphire crystal and brightly illuminated circular dial markers. It also features 200m water resistance and a date complication at the 4 o’clock position.
The most visible difference and upgrade is the power reserve complication at the 1 o’clock position. It holds a 40-hour power reserve which can be charged through hand-winding. The watch also allows for hacking which can be used to keep in-sync with an atomic clock.
Lastly, the Triton also comes in a variety of colors including blue and black watch faces. However, we are partial to the silver and gilt color combination which gives it a vintage feel. The gilt coloring also shines well in the sun and adds class to the watch.
For all these features, we think it is worth the upgraded price of $411.
5. Orient Pro Saturation Diver
Dive computers have replaced dive watches. Some divers, however, still prefer to use mechanical tools for their flexibility and to stay true to the hobby (think of hunters who still choose to use bows).
For this audience, Orient introduced the Orient Pro Saturation Diver SLE0200. It is a professional level saturation diver that is highly regarded as one of the best available.
The Pro Saturation Diver comes in a 45mm stainless steel case with a screw-down crown and water resistance to 300m.
The Pro Saturation Diver offers a flat sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating which helps both visibility and durability at diving level depths. The watch also features a power reserve indicator and a date complication at the 9 o’clock position.
The circular markers offer bright luminescence for clear legibility underwater. The watch is large and beefy, instilling tremendous confidence it can handle whatever is thrown its way.
The most expensive Orient watch on our list at $1,799, we think it holds its own against similar models with higher prices like the Seiko Marinemaster.
6. Orient Flight
Pilot watches look cool and harken back to when aviation was a marvel. For this reason, most aviation watches automatically have a vintage factor attached to them. The Orient Flight is an amazing pilot’s watch that offers simplistic elements of cool and style.
The Orient Flight is a 42mm stainless steel watch that features Orient’s impressive automatic movement. The watch also features 100m of water resistance and a date complication at the 3 o’clock position.
The dial is extremely clean with a nice blue tone and large white legible markers. It also has sword hands and a smooth outer bezel. While the Flight looks good with many straps, we love the smooth leather strap that comes on the stock model.
It just reinforces the pilot’s mystique of the watch. The Orient Flight is also aggressively priced at around $160.
7. Orient Kamasu
Building on this foundation, Orient continues to offer an attractive collection of amazing dive watches. In 2019, Orient released the Kamasu, set to sit alongside their legendary line of affordable divers.
The Kamasu is a 41m dive watch with a day-date complication and can be had on a variety of different watch faces. It offers a 120-click bezel and their F6922 automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve.
The Kamasu also offers a sapphire crystal which makes it an upgrade over the base models like the Ray and the Mako. It also features sleek stick markers like the Mako, but with all the added goodness of higher-end models.
With all the features including hacking and hand-winding, the price point of $250 is just right.
8. Orient Polaris
If you spend a lot of time in different time zones, a GMT watch can honestly be the difference between missing the start of an important game or missing a phone call to family back home.
GMT watches are meant to always stay on your wrist which is great for travelers that spend most of their time between airports and hotels. To satisfy this need, Orient released the Orient Polaris.
The Polaris is one of the best and most affordable GMT watches on the market at around $369. The Polaris features a sapphire crystal glass, automatic movement and a 24-hour GMT dial.
The Polaris is also one of the most stylish watches on this list. It features a gorgeous textured white dial with contrasting blue hands.
It offers a date complication and the GMT hand features an arrow to distinguish it from the second hand. The watch comes with a beautiful leather strap that gets better with wear.
9. Orient Open Heart
Watches are technological marvels, containing hundreds of parts. This is especially true with automatic watches that are purely powered by movement or winding.
To those who like to peek “behind the curtain” to see what’s going on, watch brands use display case backs, or in this case “open hearts.”
The Orient Open Heart is a gorgeous casual watch that features Orient’s F6T22 movement with a 40-hour power reserve. It offers water resistance up to 50m and a sleek minimal face.
The real feature of the Open Heart is the unique opening in the watch face showing only some of the gears and inner workings.
By giving just a peek, you won’t be overwhelmed, and it’s very tastefully done. The watch is nicely priced at around $170.
10. Orient Sun and Moon
Chronograph watches are useful and beautiful. However, they tend to be extremely ubiquitous. The Orient Sun and Moon is a tasteful dress watch with a unique flair that separates it from other watches on the market.
The Sun and Moon is a 42mm watch with a pull-crown for the time. It also features a durable sapphire crystal for around $230.
However, the unique feature is the chronograph display of the watch face. The chronograph shows the day and date through a small window at the 8 o’clock position. This watch also features the moon phase, which is a nice touch.
The best part of the display is that it is depressed in the face, giving the watch a unique configuration that is tastefully done.
Orient is the premier watch brand for sub-500 dive watches. They offer the best watches at the price point that feature an amazing in-house movement and tons of great features.
Orient watches are extremely fashionable and most of them can work with nearly every outfit. If you’re looking for an entry-level automatic watch, the choice has to be Orient.