Keeping up with this week’s seem of talking about watches I actually own instead of Pateks I thought this week’s weekend watch would be my own personal beater; the Orient Mako II
The idea behind the weekend watch series is to highlight casual watches that you could wear on the beach for the weekend and bang around a bit and not worry. By the nature of that description these will often be dive watches and its hard not to talk about dive watches without comparing them to a Rolex Sub. When I was looking for a dive watch I wanted something that didn’t look like a Sub copy, but still felt like a classic dive watch. In my opinion Orient strikes this balance perfectly with the Mako. The overall styling is clearly Dive watch oriented, but the hands are not particularly similar to the classic Rolex hands, nor are the hour markers. The separate day-setting crown also sets this apart form a Rolex, but by far my favorite feature of the model above (and the one I acquired) is the beautiful blue sunburst dial. It is a deep blue (deeper that the blue on the dial of the Rolex two-tone subs) that, as illustrated in the picture above, really captures the sunlight and gleams wonderfully. Combine this with the slightly blue-green color of the luminova in the hour markers and this watch screams ocean-bound. The other great aspect of this watch that is hard to find in a non-Rolex sub is its versatility. The lug width is a very standard 20mm which opens the watch up to the wonderful world of NATO straps. As the picture above shows, the watch looks fantastic on a NATO strap. At 13mm tall the NATO doesn’t make it sit too high on the wrist, and the blue dial makes any NATO strap with blue, red, white, or gray in it really pop. I love wearing NATO straps, but it is hard to find watches that really look good on the nylon, this watch definitely meets the mark.
Perhaps a rarely known/understood fact is that Orient is in fact an in-house movement manufacturer. Many might assume that as a Japanese company they use Seiko or Miyota movements, but their movements are their own from design to construction. Orient has a wide ranging line of automatic movements, but unfortunately the Mako uses there lower end movement. I have found the movement to be impressively accurate, the one reason I wish Orient had put in one of their higher end movements is that the movement in the Mako can not be wound by hand. The crown can set the time and the date, but cannot be used to wind the watch. I personally have the watch on a winder, but if you didn’t keep it on a winder and it wound down you would have to shake it to wind it, something that always makes my skin crawl as I’ve seen what shock can do to a mechanical timepiece. I also personally prefer a diver without the date (I’m an originalist that way), but that is much more a preference issue than a comment on the watch quality. All told I think this watch delivers a huge amount of bang for the buck. For only $180 you get an automatic dive watch with 200M of water resistance, very respectable fit and finish, and a beautiful and versatile blue dial. For those of us not making 6+ figures this is as good as it gets for a weekend watch.