07 March 2012

Watch Wednesday (3/7/12): Orient Mako Review

Update, 3/10: I finally got around to taking some pictures. I could have borrowed some from the Orient website, but I thought my own shots would give a better sense of the watch.

I've been wearing the Orient Mako watch for about a week and a half, so it's time for my review. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll remind you that Orient Watch USA sent me this watch to review and keep. But it's a watch I would confidently spend my own money on.
The Mako is a dive-style watch that's available with either a metal bracelet or a rubber strap. Dial color choices include black, deep blue, orange, and yellow (from looking at the Orient website, the yellow seems to be available only with the metal bracelet). All have a black ratcheting coin-edge bezel, except for the blue dial, which is available with either an all-blue or a blue-and-red bezel. The case measures 41 mm in diameter, and takes a 22 mm bracelet or strap.
The Mako's dial has its own distinctive look thanks to the squarish numerals at the 6, 9, and 12 positions. The look of these numerals is one of my favorite features of the watch. There's also a day/date window at 3. The second crown above the main one adjusts the day of the week; to use it you first need to unscrew the collar, which keeps it from getting changed accidentally during normal wear. The main crown screws down as well.

The watch is hefty and feels substantial, but not too heavy on the wrist. The construction is impressively solid, especially the adjustable bracelet. On many watches competitive with the Mako, the bracelets, and especially their clasps, can feel flimsy. The Mako's bracelet has a foldover locking clasp and a pinch release; both work flawlessly and feel very sturdy.
One distinction that separates Orient from many other watch companies, including some of the top Swiss brands, is that they manufacture their own movements. The Mako, like most other Orient watches, is powered by an automatic movement that keeps very accurate time. I've worn this watch approximately every other day since I received it, deliberately, to monitor its power reserve. That's the amount of time you can expect the watch to keep running after you take it off. Orient claims a reserve of 40 hours, which is right in line with my personal experience. If you take it off before going to bed and skip a day, the watch will still be accurate the second morning.

In normal use, I encountered only one minor issue, and it's really rather subjective: all Mako models have a silver second hand with a red tip, which against the orange dial is sometimes hard to see. But when checking one's watch to see what time it is, reading the second hand is secondary to the hour and minute hands, which are plenty easy to see. Those hands, and the hour markers, glow in the dark if first exposed to light.
The Orient watch reviews I've read online focus on value, which is justified. In the 1970s Japanese watches began to gain attention and acceptance in the marketplace, and took sales from both American and Swiss brands by offering comparable quality at lower prices. As of this writing, the retail price of the Mako on a metal bracelet is $215, or $180 on a rubber strap. However, Orient Watch USA has generously offered me a discount code to pass along to readers, so if you are interested you can save 30% by entering "someassembly30" at OrientwatchUSA.com.

The Orient Mako is an outstanding value for an automatic watch, and while it's not a particularly dressy model, it could work nicely with a leather strap substituted for the rubber one (one of my favorite watch modifications, as readers probably remember). There is a community of Orient owners and fans at www.orientalwatchsite.com/forum/ which includes a section of straps for sale.


Pseu Donym said...

I saw your orient mako article.it's very attractive post. I like this post.

Brian J. McClure said...

This Orange model seems to be more sporty-looking than my Blue Mako, the black bezel is easier to find a replacement than my blue version, too.