Orient Bambino (RA-AP0002S10B) watch review

Orient is a brand that will skirt around the edges of your consciousness if you are at all into watches. The connection to Seiko, the prices and the designs are obvious lures and so I decided to take a look for myself.

The specifications for the price stand out instantly. The in-house F6222 movement looks good on paper, 40.5mm is not a bad size (2mm less would be perfect), 12mm thickness works, the 21mm lug width does not work and for some the 30m water resistance will be a barrier to entry.

This is, however, a dress watch and as such we should not expect the kind of toughness you get with a G-Shock or any 200m dive watch. The crystal alone evidences this because it is highly domed and on the face of it prone to easy damage. There is no protection for the crystal at all and it kind of plays on my mind that it will get damaged at some time. I say again, dress watch.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time inspecting the watch to check where my £150 had gone and I was mildly impressed by what I saw. The finish is decent and offers somewhat of a tool-like appearance despite the dressy intentions. It’s smooth and shiny as you would expect, but so simple that there is no doubting what this is supposed to be. Is it designed to look like a standard 1960’s watch or is it aiming to be something more. I really do not know, but it appears to be incredibly unpretentious and that is of course a good thing.

The hands are non-lumed and are extremely simple in their design. They almost flow together when pointing the opposite way and are not overly stark against the dial. This is a good thing in a way, but at times it does require a second or two more to capture the correct time. Throw in sub-seconds which again offers a delicate backdrop to an otherwise sparse dial, aside from the minimal branding, and you end up with a watch that just is. No, I did not miss out a word there- it really is just a watch, with a dial that is classic, usable and at times quite beautiful.

I’m not so keen on the date window which is situated to the left of the ‘3’ marker- I always prefer one of the other when a date window is place and I really would like it to be larger. It follows the Citizen habit of including a date window and then making it so small as to be hard to even read. A shame.

I quite like the display case back, but am not so keen on the actual look of the movement. It looks like a workhorse, it acts like a workhorse and it really is not for presenting.

On the subject of the movement I have been genuinely shocked by the accuracy. This could just be luck, but I lost 2 seconds in the first 3 days of use. That is chronometer standard! And it has carried on in this manner so I’m happy so far.

The leather strap is stiff and not so comfortable, and while it may soften over time I found myself removing it and then trying to hack a jubilee bracelet. I had to hack because Orient chose to add a 21mm lug width. AAAAAAAAGH!!! That is such a pain, 20 or 22 please!

What I can say though is that this watch has genuinely surprised me. It looks great, it is a near perfect size and weight, and it is highly accurate. I have long considered Orient, but now that I finally have one I can understand the positivity that is out there for the brand. For the money it is astonishingly good.

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