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The Best Orient Watches You Can Buy

Any watch collector on a budget should start right here.

complete guide to orient watches
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Some of the most affordable, bang-for-buck and straight-up awesome automatic watches are Japanese. But we're not just talking about Seiko: if you don't already know, Orient is a watchmaker with history, in-house movements and many of the qualities that you associate with "Made in Japan" — and they should be at the top of the list for any watch enthusiast on a budget.

Orient is known and loved for the quality-to-price ratio of its automatic dress and dive watches — you can often find these for around $100 to $200 or so. At these prices, we're talking watches with pretty basic features and performance. But it's a company that's often misunderstood. There's more to Orient than its dirt-cheap range and its relationship with its parent company, the Seiko Group. The company's history shows that it very much has its own identity.

orient vintage ad of man holding a fish
A vintage Orient ad.
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Orient has its origins in the early 20th century. Beginning with a watch shop in Tokyo in 1901, Shogoro Yoshida eventually moved into producing wristwatches by 1934. It transitioned to weaponry during WWII, shut down briefly following the war and re-emerged by 1951 as Orient Watch Co. It made a range of interesting models over the years since, from dive watches to ultra thin watches in the 1960s. (See a bunch of notable models from the company's back catalog and more history here.)

Facing financial troubles, it became a subsidiary of Seiko Epson in 2009 and was later fully integrated, in 2017. What does this mean for the watches? Firstly, it doesn't mean that they're rebranded Seiko watches.

orient watch dial
The modern Orient Revival World Map watch, based on a model from 1969.
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The picture's a little complicated, but Epson is a different entity from Seiko Holdings which controls most of the group's watchmaking. Orient watch movements are produced at a separate facility from Seiko's, and they're often based on legacy Orient movements with improvements. That said, some Orient watches use rebranded Epson movements (again, different from what's found in Seiko watches), while newer Orient movements benefit from Seiko technology like its Magic Lever and MEMS.

What you need to know is that at the low end of the brand's offerings, you're getting pretty basic products. The older movements often won't have hand winding or hacking capability, and you won't always find sapphire crystals or amazing finishing — accuracy might not exactly be chronometer standards. But they're pretty fun, and even impressive for the price. You know the older, dirt-cheap Seiko 5 watches that are no longer produced but still sold on the likes of Amazon? Orient fills a similar niche with its lower-range offerings.

orient watch worn on wrist
The Orient Revival Weekly Auto King Diver is kinda badass.
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Orient isn't only about those ultra affordable beater watches, though. Like Seiko, it separates its product families and tiers with specific branding. The Orient Star line represents the brand's higher-end products, where you can still find strong value as well as premium offerings that compete with Swiss prices.

Like other Japanese watchmakers, Orient has a rather vast catalog and confusing taxonomy of collections. By all means check out all that's available, and not just on brand's main English site and Orient USA, as there are even more interesting models on the Japanese site — as well as plenty of good prices on Amazon. Just remember to check the specs like size, crystal material and whether it uses a newer movement with hand winding and hacking.

Keep the above points in mind, and you're sure to find a great watch for your needs at a reasonable price. Below is a selection of watches that represent the brand's key collections and models to help you get started.

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Classic

There are hundreds of watches in Orient's ranges called Classic and Contemporary (both included here). You're encouraged to browse, but if you only take away one keyword from all of them, it should be: "Bambino." These are the super affordable dress watches that Orient is known for. If the design-focused models with the likes of partial skeletonization, avant-garde layouts and funky vibes are your thing, we say enjoy — but, to us, Orient is at its best with its functionally and stylistically simple offerings.

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Orient Bambino Gen. 2
amazon.com
$130.95

This is just one example of the beloved Orient Bambino. You might see various "generations" and "versions," but don't worry too much about the differences between them, as they mostly represent more variety to choose from. And variety is part of what makes the Bambino fun. There are seemingly endless dial designs, colors, sizes and even version with small seconds or central seconds. Choose one (or two!) for $100 or so and be confident you'll have something handsome, that even watch snobs will appreciate.

Diameter: 40.5mm
Movement: Orient F6722 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 50m

Orient Bambino Open Heart
amazon.com
$310.00
$186.95 (40% off)

Same Bambino family, same diameter and similar movement to the watch above, but with a different look — included here to illustrate some of the variety within the line. Watches with what's called an "open heart" feature a dial cutout to display the oscillating balance wheel of the mechanical movement inside. Such watches are particularly popular among those just discovering the joys mechanical watchmaking, and an affordable model like one from Orient is a great place to start.

Diameter: 40.5mm
Movement: Orient F6T22 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 30m

Orient Sun & Moon
amazon.com
$246.98

Want something different? Here's a watch offering an offbeat look, some additional functionality and even sapphire crystal for not much dough. Featuring a subdial for the day of the week, a "panorama" (wider than average) date window and a day/night display — all in an asymmetric layout that would be more difficult and expensive to achieve if Orient hadn't designed and made the movement themselves. (You'll find other watches from the brand using a similar movement but offering the time in 24-hour format in the subdial instead of the day/night display.)

Diameter: 42.5mm
Movement: Orient F6B24 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 50m

Sport

This is where you'll find Orient's dive watches like the Mako, Kano, Ray and Kamasu. Like other Orient watches these sometimes get updated with new names (Mako II, Ray II, etc.), specs and even designs, but they offer much the same value and attraction. There are even some crazy overbuilt and over-designed watches in the Sport family, but the bang-for-buck divers are where the brand's strengths are.

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Orient Kamasu
amazon.com
$230.00

A 200m water-resistant automatic dive watch for circa $200 — are you kidding?? This is the kind of thing Seiko used to do! Moreover, it's got the modern movement you want, sapphire crystal and a great size at around 42mm. Is this right here the absolute best value in dive watches today? You be the judge, but we'll say that it's got to be in the running. It also comes in a range of dial and bezel color combinations worth checking out.

Diameter: 41.8mm
Movement: Orient F6922 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Kano
amazon.com
$159.99

At first, the Kano looks similar to the above Kamasu. Aside from design, however, notable differences include a beefier case size and a mineral crystal. With the same 200m of water resistance, though, it's still going to be a hell of a beater watch you can wear all summer without a care in the world — especially at prices around $150. These are the kind of differences to expect between various Orient dive watches so be sure to find the right one for you.

Diameter: 44mm
Movement: Orient F6922 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Flight
amazon.com
$205.12

Based on the Type B style of pilot watch originally made for German pilots in WWII and today reinterpreted by many brands, the Orient Flight has got to be among the most affordable. You get a modern movement, 100m of water resistance and highly legible dial, and mineral crystal shouldn't be a deal breaker at this price point if the style suits you.

Diameter: 42.4mm
Movement: Orient F6722 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 100m

Revival

As other brands have their "Heritage" and similar collections, Orient has its Revival. Yes, this collection is reserved for reissued watches from the brand's archives and modern reinterpretations of them — and the variety here is a good illustration of Orient's interesting history. You'll find dive watches, world time watches and funky designs that could only have come from the '70s. There are a bunch of models here that watch enthusiasts will gravitate toward, and we hope to see even more in the future.

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Orient Weekly Auto King Diver
amazon.com
$258.80

With a real dive-ready water resistance of 200m, this chunky beast is based on the "Super Compressor" style of dive watch of the 1960s. Rather than the external bezel familiar on most modern dive watches, these have a rotating bezel under the mineral crystal that's operated via one of the crowns (the other is for winding and setting your watch). Unlike most such dive watches, this one offers a handy day of the week display.

Diameter: 43.8mm
Movement: Orient F6922 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Revival World Map
amazon.com
$439.41
$311.94 (29% off)

Now, here's a real eye-catcher. Its among a collection of watches some of which feature world map motifs but all with an inner rotating 24-hour bezel, allowing you to easily check the time in other parts of the world. This model is particularly colorful and cool, and it's based on a watch produced in 1969.

Diameter: 43.5mm
Movement: Orient F6922 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Tri-Star
orientwatchusa.com
$125.00

The three-star logo, standing for quality, design and price, has been around since Orient's earliest times but came to be associated with a particular collection around the 1970s. Today's Tri-Star collection watches reflect that funky decade wonderfully and, of course, they're eminently affordable but also very basic. We love the older, even funkier and smaller 37mm Tri-Stars (still available on Amazon and often coming in under $100) but what you see here is one of the current, slightly larger and more stylistically restrained models.

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: Orient F4902 automatic (non-hacking, n0n-hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 30m

Orient Star

Orient Star watches are on another level than the above lovable beaters. Expect them to be elevated in every way, from materials and finishing to price. That said, many remain quite strong value propositions, and Orient Star watches are where the brand will show off the best of its own capabilities and in-house technologies. These aren't very widely known or available in the United States, but for connoisseurs of Japanese watches, they're worth hunting for.

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Orient Star Elegant Classic
orientwatchusa.com
$1,090.00

You can get some classical looks with similar specs and features from other brands, but not often with an in-house movement at this price. This model represents Orient Star pretty well with the likes of light movement decoration beyond what you'll find on more basic models. It also has the power reserve indicator at 12 o'clock on the dial, something that many Orient Star watches feature and which helps make them recognizable to those in the know.

Diameter: 38.7mm
Movement: Orient F6N43 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 50m

Orient Star Standard
orient-watch.jp
$540.00

The Orient Star Standard has a contemporary, versatile style with all the features expected of a luxury watch from sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating to solid fit and finish. At under $600 retail, the Standard and similar watches from Orient Star present a hell of a value that might even beat the likes of Seiko's Presage models in the same price range.

Diameter: 38.5mm
Movement: Orient F6N43 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 100m

Orient Star Sports Diver
orientstar-watch.com
$640.00

Yup, there are also sporty dive watches in the Orient Star range, and yes, they also feature the polarizing power reserve indicator. Although there's more competition at this price than with Orient's beater divers mentioned above, an elevated feel might make you want to baby these watches a little — even if they're as durable and capable any respectable, 200m diver. They've got a unique design, to boot.

Diameter: 43.6mm
Movement: Orient F6N47 automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 200m

Orient Star Classic Skeleton
orientstar-watch.com
$2,480.00

Orient is making a clear effort to offer something beyond the novelty of a skeletonized watch. Don't expect extensive hand-finishing, but the manually wound movement here should be nice to look at with polished bevels and perlage-decorated surfaces. It even maintains reasonable legibility (an issue for such watches) with contrasting blue hands and indices. If skeletonized watches are to your liking, you could do worse.

Diameter: 38.8mm
Movement: Orient F8B63 manual (hacking)
Water Resistance: 50m

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