|03-31-2010, 05:03 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Review: Orient Star GMT 2002 Limited Edition
Authored by MeOmegaMan (1/2004)
I thought I would post a review including my reactions and observations of my recent purchase - an Orient Star GMT Limited Edition 2002. I was looking to find an affordable functional GMT watch with an accurate original manufacture movement, nicely detailed dial, and easy to read at-a-glance hands and I feel I have succeeded. I owned the black dialed version originally, but sold it, and have had withdrawl ever since. Ever since Mike Stuffler posted some pictures of his, I knew his was the style that I must have in order to be satisfied.
As pictured, the packaging is simple and to the point. Since this model is a NOS 2-year-old watch, it doesnâ??t have Orientâ??s newer rosewood box with it. Rather, it is just a cardboard box with a watch holder and detailed instructions. No big deal, my watch boxes lay in a drawer anyway.
The dial is a slightly reflective white with printed 1/5th second graduations and small round luminous minute markers. At each minute marker there are applied steel indices. The exception to this is where the date is at 3:00, and the applied â??12â?ť, and â??6â?ť markers. Also, the â??Orient Starâ?ť logo is printed in its Asian companies black letters, and â??GMTâ?ť in red are directly below. The red GMT clearly stands out on the white dial. Above the 6 oâ??clock position reads, â??AUTOMATIC, 21 JEWELS, 10 BARâ?ť, in the same Asian font as the Orient Star logo. Also of note, the Orient Star logo is directly above the Orient Star print, in the form of an applied reflective steel piece. Nice touch. Luminosity on the minute markers is good, and lasts longer than a Chronomat GMT.
The bezel is a ratcheted unidirectional 24-hour joy to work. It has 48 clicks to it, and is easily rotated, but steady enough at each click to hold securely. A brushed finish, countersunk black filled numbers, and ease of use make this a great bezel. I believe they were going for the classic Rolex Explorer look with this watch.
Hands & Crown:
The hands are truly beautiful on this watch against the white dial. Missing, is the Mercedes styled hour hand and round dot second hand that are so typical to most watches of this type. But the blued hands and good luminosity make up for that. The second hand is also blued, with a pointed luminous filled â??SpeedMasterâ?ť arrow styled look to it. The red GMT hand is perfect. It is not oddly shaped or too small, as on the Marcello C line of GMT watches. Also, an interesting feature to this GMT hand is the fact that it is hollow. In other words, instead of having a lum filled arrow at the tip, the arrowhead tip is hollow, allowing you to see where it is passing over. A GMT that I have never seen before, but truly enjoy.
The crown is gnarled and easy to work, with the first click out being for the quickset date, and the second pull out being to set the time. When looking in at the crown, it has the Orient Star logo on it, which I find a nice addition for a watch of this price. One feature that I am sad to see this watch missing is the crown being screwed down. Iâ??m sure it must have seals, but to not have it screwed down is odd to me. But, the watch is rated to 10 Bar.
The movement is a 21 jewel automatic movement with quickset date and GMT made in house by Orient. It is rather plain looking for the Orient Star line; most in this line have more finishing on them. But it is quite accurate, & since my wearing it I have averaged + or â?? 2 seconds per day on my wrist and on my ERS 4 head watch winder. This is fantastic, especially since setting this watch demands a bit of patience; it is not a hacking movement! I only wish my Invicta 9938 was this accurate? You must hold on to the crown when the second hand hits zero and release to synchronize to the atomic clock or online naval site. But, since itâ??s so accurate, you wonâ??t have to hardly ever reset it. The second hand is very smooth, but not as smooth as a higher jeweled Swiss watch. The GMT hand is set to be used as a 24-hour hand when the bezel is aligned correctly, and cannot be set separately as on the Rolex GMT Master II. Moving the bezel will allow you to set that hand to another time zone. Truly, Orient has worked this movement to be accurate and smooth.
Case & Bracelet:
The case is solid stainless steel, with the sides being polished, and the top and underside being brushed. Horns protect the gnarled crown. A screwed in caseback rated to 10 Bar, and engraved with all of the usual information is provided. One thing of note, this Orient is as thick as my Invicta 9938 and just as wide in diameter. The front is made of sapphire, and the date magnifying cyclops is in the correct position, with the correct magnification. The sapphire front is slightly raised and beveled above the bezel. Nice touch.
The bracelet has its pluses and minuses. The bracelet has a 20mm width. Compared to the Invicta 99xx series, itâ??s small, thin, and lightweight. I prefer my bracelets thick and heavy. But they are solid at least, and have screwed ends and plates to complete the â??Explorer Iâ?ť look. The double push-button clasp is very nice, and has the Orient Star logo engraved into it. It also has folded metal where the bracelet meets the clasp, and this is always frowned upon by me, but acceptable at this price level.
Price & Conslusion:
I bought this watch from Seiya San in Japan for $328.00 USD delivered. Most Orient Star GMTâ??s can be had for $265.00 USD delivered from Higuchi San, but Seiya was able to find this one, and it is a limited edition so it was worth the extra money. His friendly service and fast responses to my questions really made this transaction a pleasure, and I recommend him for those hard to find â??Japan Onlyâ?ť models we canâ??t buy here in the USA. I really missed my first Orient Star GMT after selling it, so I know this one is going to be in my collection for a very long time. To find a GMT watch at this price range and quality is hard to do, and I feel I have succeeded. This Orient truly has the looks and accuracy that you might want to consider when looking for that next GMT styled watch.
Thanks for reading my review.
The pictures seen are borrowed from Mike Stuffler, SieyaJapan, and an online catalog. Special thanks to Mike for cracking open his case back in order to get a view of the movement for me.
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