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1950 - New ORIENT

1950s

New ORIENT

ORIENT’s first mass-production watch. ORIENT was launched on July 13, 1950 renting the former Toyo Tokei Co., Ltd. Hino factory, and began the production of wristwatches right away that year. This watch was equipped with a small movement that had been designed during the era when ORIENT was still the Yoshida Watch Shop. Hand-winding. Production discontinued.

1951 - Original ORIENT STAR

1951

Original ORIENT STAR

The original ORIENT STAR was named after the image of a shining star. That aspiration is apparent in the blue steel hands and other details. Like the New ORIENT, it was originally equipped with the pre-war type movement. That was changed to the newly designed movement the following year in 1952. Hand-winding. 10 jewels or 15 jewels. Production discontinued.

1957 - ORIENT STAR

1957

ORIENT STAR
Dynamic

ORIENT, which had been using an improved version of a pre-war movement, released the T-type center-second movement, which overlays the center wheel and the fourth wheel, in the mid-1950s.
It was the ORIENT STAR Dynamic that came equipped with this new movement. Nivaflex, which is difficult to break, was adopted for the main spring. Hand-winding. Production discontinued.

1958 - ROYAL ORIENT

1958

ROYAL ORIENT

ROYAL ORIENT is in ORIENT’s luxury line. This was ORIENT’s first practical device with water resistance specifications. That lineage was subsequently continued by the Grand Prix and the Fineness. The ROYAL ORIENT was equipped with an N-type movement with an expanded diameter for high precision. Hand-winding. 19 jewels. Production discontinued.

1964 - Original Diver’s Watch

1964

Original Diver’s Watch
Calendar Auto ORIENT

This was ORIENT’s first diver’s watch. ORIENT was among the first to expand outside Japan in the mid-1950s, and was sensitive to the trends overseas. ORIENT also released a water-resistant watch with a world timer in that same year. Self-winding (LCW-type). 21 jewels. SS (diameter 40 mm). Production discontinued.

ORIENT Grand Prix 100

ORIENT
Grand Prix 100

An ambitious work that brought great acclaim to ORIENT’s reputation. To take the lead in the “jewels competition” of the day, ORIENT increased the number of self-winding watch jewels from 64 in the Grand Prix 64 to 100. Also, high-quality Triostat was used for the regulator pin, and Incabloc was adopted for the shock-protection system. Self-winding (Cal. 991). 100 jewels. Production discontinued.

ORIENT Flash

ORIENT
Flash

Successor to the ORIENT Luminous released in 1958. When the button at 2 o’clock in pressed, miniature bulbs light up the whole dial. This was an extremely ambitious wristwatch, but the production was discontinued after a short time because the case was not water resistant. The ORIENT Flash was subsequently reproduced and became a popular model. Hand-winding (L-type). 21 jewels. Production discontinued.

1965 - Original WEEKLY AUTO ORIENT KING DIVER

1965

Original WEEKLY AUTO
ORIENT KING DIVER

The original King Diver with its stylish design. This watch combined a com- pressor-type case with a solid L-type self-winding movement. Yet the water resistance was roughly the same as an ordinary watch. Self-winding (L-type, later Cal. 660). 25 jewels. SS (diameter 43 mm). Water resistance: 40 m. Production discontinued.

ORIENT Multi Year Calendar

ORIENT
Multi Year Calendar

The Multi Year Calendar showed the day with just one adjustment per month. But the calendar could only display from 1960 through 1981. This is the initial version with a hand-winding movement. That was later changed to self-winding, and the watch was a big hit. Hand-winding (Cal. 316). 21 jewels. Production discontinued.

1967 - ORIENT Fineness

1967

ORIENT
Fineness

Cal. 3900 series movement, which was then the thinnest in the world for a self-winding watch with day and date display. Achieved a thinness of 3.9 mm by offsetting the wheel train and fitting a compact reverser. Self-winding (Cal. 3900). 35 jewels. SS. Production discontinued.

1969 - ORIENT World Diver

1969

ORIENT
World Diver

Successor to the CALENDAR AUTO ORIENT SWIMMER WORLD TRIP released in 1964. Along with day and date display, it provides easy 24-hour display. Cal. 34-1 series movement. Self-winding (Cal. 34-1 series). 21 jewels. SS (diameter 43 mm). Production discontinued.

ORIENT KING DIVER 1000

ORIENT
KING DIVER 1000

This is a diver’s watch with a water-resistance of 1,000 m. It uses a Swiss C.R.S. case because cases with high-level hermeticity could not be manufactured in Japan at that time. The watch has a soft iron inner case to improve its antimagnetic properties. Self-winding (Cal. 49 series). 27 jewels. SS (diameter 43 mm). Production discontinued.

1970 - ORIENT Jaguar Focus

1970

ORIENT
Jaguar Focus

ORIENT’s management rushed to develop a colorful dial, thinking that the wave of colorful products would reach watches as well. As a result, they developed the Jaguar Focus dial with two-tone color gradation. The color is made more vivid from the cut glass crystal with nine faces. Self-winding. Production discontinued.

1971 - Cal. 46 Series Movement

1971

Cal. 46 Series
Movement

Main movement which replaced the L-type self-winding movement. Wider range of applications because the movement is smaller and thinner. The adoption of a magic lever also provides high winding efficiency. After the merger into Epson, the finish and precision were further improved. This is still ORIENT’s primary movement.

1976 - ORIENT Touchtron

1976

ORIENT
Touchtron

Model with an LED module jointly devel- oped with Sharp. This was the first watch in the world which an LED lights up and the time is displayed when the case is touched. But this tended to mis operation, and was replaced by the Touchtron II with illuminated display at the touch of a button. Production discontinued.

ORIENT Multi Year Calendar

ORIENT
Multi Year Calendar

This is the self-winding version of the Multi Year Calendar. The Multi Year Calendar, which semi-automated the metal calendar plates being used at that time, gained popularity worldwide. The 2009 model reproduced using almost the same design has become a collector’s item. Self-winding (Cal. 46 series). Production discontinued.

1991 - ORIENT MON Bijou

1991

ORIENT
MON Bijou

Today, skeleton models have become a synonym for ORIENT. Their forerunner was the Mon Bijou released in 1991. The movement of this watch was later adopted for the ORIENT STAR as well. Luxurious, stainless steel case with a gold plate finish. Self-winding (Cal. 48320). Production discontinued.

1997 - ORIENT M-Force

1997

ORIENT
M-Force

Sports watch with extremely high visibility and a strong case. Evolved into a 200 m diver’s watch conforming to JIS standards in 2011. This was the first ORIENT watch to use pure titanium for the case and bracelet. Self-winding (Cal. 46 series). Water resistance: 20 bar. Production discontinued.

2004 - ORIENT Mecha Trenics

2004

ORIENT
Mecha Trenics

Triple time-zone watch with three self-winding women’s Cal. 55 series movements. “Tre” is the Italian word for three. The time anywhere in the world can instantly be determined by using the world time ring. Self-winding (Cal. 55 series). SS (diameter 50.5 mm). Limited edition (999 worldwide). Production discontinued.

ROYAL ORIENT

ROYAL ORIENT

This was the greatest work of art produced by the former Orient Watch. Assembled at the Orient Technical Center watch studio established in 2003. The movement also had a new design. The watch was sold as a regular product from 2008. Self-winding (Cal. 88700). 30 jewels. SS (diameter 38 mm). Limited edition (100). Production discontinued.

2005 - ORIENT STAR Retro Future

2005

ORIENT STAR
Retro Future

ORIENT had been seeking to incorporate design factors from other genre since the year 2000, and the result was the Retro Future. This model adopts a car design motif. Semi-skeleton design whereby the movement’s balance wheel can be seen from the dial. Self-winding (Cal. 46 series). Production discontinued.

2014 - ORIENT STAR Modern Skeleton

2014

ORIENT STAR
Modern Skeleton

Representative model of the new ORIENT. Elaborate details including diamond cut indexes and hands, and sapphire crystal. Power reserve: approx. 40 hours. Self-winding (Cal. 40S62). SS (diameter 41.0 mm, thickness 12.0 mm). Water resistance: 10 bar. Production discontinued.

2016 - ORIENT STAR Skeleton

2016

ORIENT STAR
Skeleton

Skeleton model incorporating the tradition cultivated since the Mon Bijou. The skeleton appearance is emphasized by appropriate placement of the movement parts. Self-winding (Cal. 48E51). 23 jewels. 21,600 vibrations/hour. Power re- serve: approx. 50 hours. SS (diameter 39 mm). Water resistance: 5 bar. ¥240,000 in Japan.

オリエントスター メカニカルムーンフェイズ

2017

ORIENT STAR
Mechanical Moon Phase

This model combines a power reserve display with a semi-skeleton design and a moon phase display. Considering the functions and finish, the price is astounding. Self-winding (Cal. F7X62). 22 jewels. 21,600 vibrations/hour. Power reserve: approx. 40 hours. SS (diameter 41.0 mm, thickness 13.8 mm). Water resistance: 5 bar. ¥170,000 in Japan.

Tama Keiki Company, the predecessor to Orient Watch Company, was founded in 1950, but ORIENT’s beginnings date back to 1901 when the watchmaker Shogoro Yoshida opened the Yoshida Watch Shop in Ueno, Tokyo for the import and sale of watches. Yoshida began manufacturing watch cases from 1913, and founded Toyo Tokei Manufacturing which produced clocks in 1920. The company began manufacturing wristwatches from 1934, and completed the four-story Hino factory in 1936. Toyo Tokei Manufacturing had to be engaged in the mass production of aerial weaponry during the war. After the war, it was re-opened, but fell into financial difficulties and was dissolved.

In 1950, the employees of the Hino factory gathered together and began operations as Tama Keiki Company, which changed its name to Orient Watch Company in April 1951 and launched production of wristwatches, alarm clocks, and small bearings.

What is unique about Orient Watch is that just after the company was founded it invited Tamotsu Aoki to serve as an advisor. Aoki was a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo. He served as the first chairman of the Horological Institute of Japan and instituted major changes to the Japanese watch industry as a theorist. Under his guidance, the reliability of ORIENT brand watches greatly improved. Orient Watch, which had recovered from the post-war confusion, released the center-second T-type movement in 1955, and the large-diameter N-type movement in 1958. It was the ROYAL ORIENT released that same year which was equipped with that movement. Having obtained a modern movement, Orient Watch began exporting its watches to Taiwan, the US, Canada, Iran, Brazil, and other countries.

Even today, ORIENT’s overseas business is larger than its business in Japan, and those foundations were laid back in the 1950s. The advance overseas forced ORIENT to boost its competitiveness. In 1961, ORIENT released the N-type self-winding movement which has a ratchet-type self-winding mechanism that brings to mind the Peraton-type self-winding watches of Swiss manufacturers. Ever since it obtained a level of competitiveness to challenge the Swiss manufacturers, ORIENT has placed a strong focus on uniqueness. Rather than lowering prices, the idea was to differentiate by design and mechanism and gain market share.

The forerunners were the Grand Prix 100 and the Flash, released in 1964. The Grand Prix 100 had luxury specifications with an L-type self-winding movement which replaced the N-type of its predecessors and increased the number of jewels to 100 jewels. The Flash was a watch that could illuminate the dial using an installed battery. While this idea itself was the same as the 1958 Luminous, the circumference of the dial was decorated with diamond-cut work, showing ORIENT’s devotion to design.

The 1965 WEEKLY AUTO ORIENT KING DIVER was also an experiment in design. The stylish design reminiscent of Swiss diver’s watches kept a line from the other diver’s watches in Japan at that time. Next, it was the 1967 Fineness which realized sophistication in both design and functions. The Fineness, which was created as the successor to the ORIENT Grand Prix, featured a Cal. 3900 movement which was the thinnest in the world at that time for a watch that displayed both day and date.

From the late 1960s, ORIENT further advanced its trend toward uniqueness. The Racer F3 with an egg-shaped case was released in 1968, and the colorful World Diver was added in 1969. Then the Jaguar Focus with its color-gradation-enhanced dial, which is said to be the most distinctively ORIENT, was released in 1970. Together with the cut crystal, this rein-forced the impression that ORIENT is associated with color. With changes in design, the existing L-type self-winding movement became too large and too thick. ORIENT had also been using Seiko movements, but released a Cal. 46 series self-winding movement manufactured in house in 1971. This is the mainline caliber still used by ORIENT today. ORIENT subsequently switched its pivot to manufacturing quartz watches, but also continued to release unique mechanical watch models including the Multi Year Calendar and the skeleton watch Mon Bijou. These may be considered the culmination of ORIENT’s pursuit of uniqueness in design and function. This direction continued to be followed by ORIENT’s subsequent mechanical watches. The M-Force released in 1997 was a distinctly ORIENT colorful sports watch with a Cal. 46 series movement, and the Mecha Trenics released in 2004 was an ambitious model with three movements normally used in women’s watches. It could only be created by ORIENT. Meanwhile, the ROYAL ORIENT released that same year was a highly refined watch reminiscent of original 1958 version and the 1967 Fineness. It was a masterpiece showing the richness of ORIENT’s design. ORIENT has consistently maintained this stance after its merger into Seiko Epson. The skeleton models from 2014 forward emphasize the appeal of mechanical watches by revealing the balance wheel, and were made even more attractive as watches by improving the interior and exterior workmanship. Rather than lowering prices, ORIENT struck the world with the allure of its functions and design. While the watch shapes have changed, that distinct individuality is still carried forward in today’s models.

*Reprinted from Chronos Japan Edition March 2020

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