The words Duke and Orient don’t often go together in my mind, so when I first saw the Orient Duke Automatic Executive Sport Watch, I was intrigued. I thought John Wayne but instead I saw a classically designed mechanical dress watch under $300.
I knew Seiko and Citizen made similar watches in this price range too, but didn’t know this watchmaker from Japan. Orient’s name has been around since 1951 when it first started manufacturing its own movements. In the 60s, it created one of the thinnest movements at the time and its in-house caliber 469 has been made for decades.
Orient’s watches are priced between the $300 mechanicals to their $3000 skeleton watches. And although they do make a few quartz models, they focus primarily on their mechanicals. Orient’s Men’s Executive Collection includes The Duke, which has four styles to offer. It has two with a black dial in gold or silver and two with a white dial in gold and silver. I focused on the black dial and stainless steel style.
At first glance this large 43mm case eagerly competes for attention. It has raised Arabic numerals that are clearly contrasted and classic designed dial. It has a sapphire crystal covering the black dial which is easily legible and proudly hosts the applied logo under the 12 o’clock numeral. Above the 6 are the words “water resist” in a teacher-perfect handwritten script. I thought this was a typographical mistake and should have read, “water resistant”. Looking at the specifications, it does claim “resistance” to 50 m. (I must “resist” the desire to edit their watch dial).
The leaf-shaped hour and minute hands are polished and match the numerals and logo in shine. The second hand is also a high gloss. The stainless steel case holds an in-house 48743 automatic movement with a date function at 3 o’clock. The date window reveals a black numeral on a white base. The numeral is only slightly smaller than the 3 and doesn’t look quite small enough. Still, it’s visible.
There is no luminescence on the dial, which is a surprise, but the contrast is still good as long as you have light. The outer edge of the dial at the tip of each hour marker are small silver dots, or “pips” as Orient describes. A perfect spot for lum, but left off this watch.
The unmarked crown is small and unassuming as it hugs the case. It’s seems big enough but those with large fingers may find themselves wishing for more crown or smaller fingers. The screw-back case is home for the nicely engraved words, “Orient” and “Automatic”. The lugs are a healthy 22mm wide which is appropriate for its case size and the black leather strap is nicely marked “Orient” on the buckle.
The watch appears to be a nice first-watch for someone who wants the simplicity of timeless design along with a mechanical movement and a reasonable price. orientwatchusa.com
- Brand & Model: Orient Duke Automatic Executive Sport Watch FER2J002B0
- Price: $290
- Who we think it might be for: This is a great starter watch for a person who is trying to upgrade from runner’s watch.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: No, this one is not for me. Why? Because, at $300, you are almost at the entry point for Swiss manual or automatics.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would find a way to add luminescence to the dial and make the crown larger.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I like the simple, numeral design against the black dial. Simple is good.
Tech Specs from Orient
- Brand Model: Orient Duke Automatic Executive Sport Watch FER2J002B0
- Movement (technology): ORIENT Cal. 48743 Automatic Movement
- Size of case diameter (mm): 43mm (without crown)
- Height of case:12.2mm
- Weight: NA
- Case material: Stainless Steel
- Case Back: Screw Down Stainless Steel
- Crown: Unmarked
- Crystal/Glass material: Sapphire
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 50m
- Strap/Bracelet material: Genuine Leather
- Illumination: no