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- Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:00 pm
Sorry to say, but this one's a dog.
As big a fanboi as I am regarding Orient watches, this one doesn't quite make the cut:
Well, it's not all that bad. But it isn't all that great, either. This is known as the Orient Limited Edition 40th Anniversary King Diver (SEM7F001B--US market designation-international markets may vary.) It was released a year or so ago to celebrate the Orient inhouse 469 automatic movement. There were 2000 made in plain vanilla stainless, and 1000 more made in the black PVD plating. A few of these are still knocking around, and I got mine, as a Christmas gift from Mrs. Conjurer, from Long Island Watches, which has them marked down to $199.
When first released, there was a lot whining and screaming on the fora, mainly dealing with Orient USA, which was practically giving these things away with their absurd 50% coupon code, as well as a very low MSRP. A lot of overseas collectors, who couldn't buy from OUSA, were spending full boat (I think the stainless version was $450 and the black was $499) and were, well, somewhat upset.
Anyway, enough history.
The watch is pretty big, and bumps up against the line which I consider too large. It's 46mm across, 50.5mm top to bottom, a more sensible 14mm thick. The lugs are 23.5mm apart, and the bracelet is about 3mm thick, tapering from the lugs to about 20mm at the clasp.
Inside is the 469 21-jewel movement, which in the best tradition of Japanese automatics, neither hacks nor handwinds. To get it going you pick it up, give it a few shakes, and the rotor gets everything moving. Wearing it for a few hours should give you a full wind. It's very accurate, too--mine was running about +5 seconds a day, then losing a couple of seconds when I had it off, dial up, at night. The power reserve is at least 40 hours, although, like so many Orients, when the mainspring stars to wind down accuracy goes all over the place.
The dial is nice, sunray, with well applied indices and logo:
The big block markers make the dial easy to read in most lighting conditions, but the lume is appallingly weak:
The watch on the right is the Seiko OM. One can clearly see the difference. The King Diver is one of the few Orients I've owned that fails the quick-glance-inside-a-dark-car test. The lume on the hour and minute hands surprisingly lasts through the night, but one has to stare at them for a few seconds to make out the glow in the early morning darkness.
The three crowns on the side of the case operate the day-setting (top crown), time-and-date-setting (middle) and rotating the interior elapsed-time bezel (bottom.) All three crowns screw down, and the feel of them, as well as the finishing, is top-notch:
The crystal, which is mineral, sits proud of the coin-edged bezel, is very clear and doesn't seem to have any AR coating on it. The bracelet is OK, with hollow endlinks and the usual crappy Orient clasp that is somewhat hard to seat and latch.
The downfall of this watch, however, is the plating. While the PVD on the case is pretty good, it's absolutely terrible on the bracelet, and you can see how the edges of the links didn't get the plating well:
Or you would be able to see, if I could take a good photograph. I've already had a few scratches on the bracelet, although it doesn't seem to cut all the way through the bracelet. It appears as if the bracelet was plated while assembled, and it certainly shows.
On the wrist the King Diver looks good:
And fits well, despite it's large size. It's well balanced, and isn't fatiguing after a day at work.
In fact, at 200 bucks, I'd give it a reserved thumbs up, although, with the screwdown crowns and 200 meter WR, it's not really a diver. The seconds hand isn't lumed, and what lume there is is pretty worthless. The problem is that some retailers are still listing this watch at $500, which is nuts, because, quite frankly, it isn't worth it, especially when one considers you're getting into Seiko Sumo territory at that MSRP.
It's not a terrible watch, but, like so many mid-priced Orient divers lately, it could (and should) have been so much better.