Orient Ray II initial thoughts

This is a watch that I have pondered for some time now and I’m not sure why. The Orient brand is well known in the watch collector community and to some it represents the absolute best value of all automatic brands.

The fact that Orient sits with Seiko is good and bad because it can cause people to expect much more from a brand that is so heavily affiliated with one of the biggest brands in the world. On the other hand, it can lead those of us that know more than most about watches to immediately see the aspects that come from cost cutting, those parts that are usually found on the cheapest of Seiko offerings.

So, on that subject I will list my initial good and bad thoughts on the Orient Ray II.

Good-

The dial is lovely! The way the light plays with the blue is impressive and, but at no point do the subtle lighting movements get in the way.

The date window, and in particular the surround, is one of the most impressive I have seen in any watch. It takes a lot to not overdo surrounds and to still make the day and date legible, but Orient has done a superb job here.

Love the lume. It is not overpowering, but it lasts through the whole night and I would say that it is actually better than my Tudor Black Bay in this regard- even the bezel lume marker keeps shining which is unusual. To contrast, the Black Bay can get fuzzy after a few hours whereas the Orient does not.

It is running at approx -5 seconds per day which is decent at this price point.

And I have to mention the £128 price that I paid for it from Amazon. You get a lot for your money here.

It is a highly wearable watch which sits on my 7.25” wrist very well. The height is not too high at all, but it does look a little fat on occasions, however.

The finishing is decent and arguably better than could be expected in this price range.

Everything feels consistent. From the bezel to the hands to the hour markers, it is not original by any means, but it is well thought out.

Bad-

The crown is too small and sits too close to the crown guards. Even if you rarely need to mess with the time and date it can be fiddly to use to say the least.

The rotor is a little noisy. For this particular watch it isn’t too bad, maybe my hearing is not so good these days, but it does appear to be a common complaint among Orient owners.

The bracelet is not good at all and I removed it within 2 minutes. This is where the Seiko knowledge kicks in because it really does look and feel like a hollow end-linked budget offering from Orient’s big brother.

And one final minor niggle, the red on the day window (for Sundays only) is very light and a bit too vibrant when contrasted to the red of the second hand. It leads to an inconsistency on that day alone which is no big deal, but you know what us watch people are like.

Initial conclusion

This is a really nice watch, it really is. Initially I felt that it had the potential to look very cheap, almost Lorus like, but as time has passed I am starting to appreciate it. For the money it is harder to find a better looking or more interesting watch, and it makes for the perfect beater for when you don’t want to worry about knocks or unexpected damage.



Categories: Reviews, Watch reviews

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