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Discussion Starter #1
Authored by midshipman01
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.
 
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Discussion Starter #2
JDM Orient Star Retro Future (camera) WZ0031FH

Authored by jbdan




Specs (taken from Orient JP)
:

Mechanical: Orient caliber 46S54 (vs 46S50 in the non-JDM model)
Self-winding
No hack No HW
23 jewels
SS case and bracelet
Crystal glass sphere (domed mineral)
See through case back crystal
40 hour reserve with indicator
10 ATM water resistant
Lumed hour/minute hands and indexes
Accuracy +25 to -15 sec per day
Case diameter 40mm
Case thickness 13.2mm
Lug width 20mm
Bracelet width 20mm tapering to 18mm at clasp
Weight 164g


Face/Dial/Bezel:

A very unique/interesting looking dial. It's looks inspired by the shutter on the 'age old' film camera. The shutter blades are visible throughout both the inner and outer black dial. That same inner dial also consists of 2 sub-dials at 12 and 6 o'clock with the 12 being a PRI and the 6 a seconds sub-dial. There is also a 'skeleton-dial' @ 9 o'clock and 2 small windows at 3 o'clock and within the PRI. There is much more skeleton in this watch than first meets the eye.

The bezel's indexes are in F/stops or “r” stops obviously inspired by the camera. If you know photography you know what “r” is. It is a uni-directional 60-click bezel and has excellent action.

The hour and minute hands are liberally lumed as well as 12 indexes around the clock. All indexes are bordered by 'chrome' (steel?). The PRI and seconds hands are chrome as well. The “Orient Star” font is way cool imo and is printed.

This first picture says it best.....there is a lot of detail in there.








Case/Crystal/Back
:

Case work is very solid and I was actually amazed upon first opening. This is a heavy case....solid SS and a lot of it for a 40mm diameter size. With bracelet, which is not heavy we have 164 grams. Reaching Monster territory.

When viewing the watch from the top/dial, the case is highly polished on all vertical surfaces and on the underside. However, it is brushed satin on the horizontal surfaces including the bezel top. Note the side profile shots...one would think the entire watch was polished.

The odd looking hump next to the crown...you guessed it. It is reminiscent of a camera's shutter button. Note the shot with watch laying on it's side with crown up....looks like a camera ehh?

The crystal is, well like a camera lens' glass!! For me this is the one "con" for this model. Reflections are moderate to bad. Not so bad you can't tell time, but rather makes it not one of those “quick glance” time tellers. I do not know the thickness of the crystal, but it looks extraordinarily thick. Orient states it as a “convex crystal glass sphere.”

The case back is gorgeous. It is fastened with 4 screws and highly polished. The movement is clean, crisp, and decorated nicely as other OS's I have owned. As all the Orient's I have owned do, the rotor swings freely at all levels of power reserve. Once stopped, literally picking it up starts it again.

Crown is unsigned, knurled, and screws down.












Bracelet/Clasp:

This bracelet is one/many wild piece/s of SS. There are many wild designs on bracelets out there, but to me, this one takes the cake. It is very comfortable and very flexible. Like all my other Orient bracelets it has almost zero rattle. It uses split pins, is generously stock sized for up to 8.25” wrists, tapers to 18mm at the clasp and has solid end-links. The clasp has 2 fine adjustment holes, is brushed on top and polished on the sides. Text on the clasp is same font as on the dial. Unique to the retro line it looks like it is etched, rather then stamped like the other Orients I have owned.








Opinion:

This is one cool looking watch....one that received the wildest compliments while wearing. Certainly a unique look. It's accuracy OTB was fantastic. After 2 weeks set from atomic clock it was within ~5 secs. All my Orient automatics have been well within specs as far as accuracy.

The watch wears nicely with the bracelet, but I wanted to try this watch with some leather. I had great results with a Di-Modell Chronisimo and a black Toshi. Since the case is 13.2mm, for me, it looked best riding on the Toshi. The thick 4-5mm Toshi really balanced well with the case and lightened up the watch considerably.

The lume is great. It is a good as my Mako (which I think is very good) and easily lasted through the night. No it is not as bright as Seiko's Lumibright, but very close and as for longevity, albeit a touch dimmer, is the same.

I have sold this watch, as I did a lot of my collection, due to health reasons in the past. I am over that now and will one day add a retro design back to my collection. Orient creates too many attractive, accurate, unique timepieces to not own a design like this one.

There are other versions of this watch....4 to be exact....even an international version that looks exactly like this one. It's model # is YFH02001B and has a different caliber inside. Besides the different caliber I am really unclear on any other differences other than the model I reviewed is a JDM piece.

Thanks WUS for allowing me to do this!





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