Orient watches are increasingly known for having the best price-to-presentation ratio going and the Orient Bambino Small Seconds is no exception. We take a closer look at this exquisite dress watch that you can pick up for under $200!
Can A “Cheap” Watch Be Classy?
Let’s face it; nobody wants to wear a “cheap” dress watch. And we’re not just talking about watches that are kind of cheap only in terms of price. If that were the case, you might go out and buy a decent fake Rolex Datejust that could fool most non-experts out there. No, we want something authentic that looks like it has true value. That’s what makes Orient watches such wonders. They are well-crafted dress watches that make for fine presentation pieces you can get at super affordable prices. Beyond the Small Seconds, we’re talking around $120 for a nice Orient with a deal on Amazon.
It didn’t happen overnight, or even just in this century. Orient has been making watches that exude classic European style in Japan since 1950. The watchmakers recently came under the helm of Epson, which includes Seiko and Grand Seiko in its repertoire. This conjoining with decades of watchmaking expertise across multiple disciplines, plus access to in-house technology across other established watch lines drives the quality up and the price down for Orient.
A Truly Versatile Timepiece
The Small Seconds has a formal look. There’s no getting around that, this is not the watch you take out on a fishing trip or to the monster truck show (well, maybe the latter if you have good seats!). This SS is specifically designed as a dress watch and will never be anything else. But on a brown leather strap, it’s downplayed enough with traditional styling, to go with just about any dress-casual ensemble. You can even put it on canvas or nylon to go super casual (albeit that might be pushing it a bit). But on a black alligator strap, well, you would be well served for a black-tie gala with a Small Seconds.
Delving into the Design
So, what makes its traditional looks so classic? Well, it does have a “vintage style.” That’s become such a cliché in the watch world of late it’s almost become negative — as if every Millennial hipster savoring turmeric lattes with their avocado toast positively has to accessorize with something vintage lest their SoundCloud beats get deleted. And those really retro timepieces (we’re looking at you Longines Heritage) do have their places. But the Small Seconds goes into throwback mode with subtlety.
The SS design sticks to the fundamentals that have made Orient dress watches a success. It has three elegant dauphine hands over a slightly domed dial with a small date window. As you have probably guessed by its name, the watch has a “small seconds” subdial above the six o’clock position. Arabic hour markers are only at the three, six, nine and 12 o’clock positions, which really adds to the “less is more” vibe. It’s available with no-nonsense white, black, and champagne dials.
The case stays true to other Orients in terms of dimensions, coming in at 40.5mm wide (not counting the crown with the Orient logo) and 12mm thick, measuring from the top of the curved mineral crystal. Yes, a higher-end sapphire crystal would be preferable, but we’re dealing with low entry-level prices for the Small Seconds here. In stainless steel, plated gold, and rose gold, the well-polished case has brushed side flanks that give it an upscale look well beyond its price tag.
A Look at the In-House Movement
Here’s where the low price really can cause some head-scratching. Orient started using an in-house caliber F6724 automatic movement, a seismic shift for such a reasonably priced watch. While all of the other watches in the Bambino line run on this modern movement, the Small Seconds is actually powered by the variant caliber F6222 movement. It offers both manual and automatic winding and a hacking seconds feature. Simply pull out the crown to stop the seconds hand!
Flip this watch over and you get a gander at the inner workings through an exhibition caseback. It may lack the grandeur of watches that really seek to put on shows with their exhibition cases. But the Small Seconds does dress things up a bit with embossments on the automatic rotor.
So sure, you can still shell out lots of cash for a good dress watch. Drop a few grand on a Jaeger LeCoultre and break the bank on a luxury Patek Philippe Calatrava. They’re amazing watches and well worth the investments. But keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a fine dress watch. The Orient Bambino Small Seconds is right there to give you an exquisite look without putting a dent in your bank account.