Orient Watch has established a reputation as a consistent maker of exceptional watches since its founding in 1950. From the heyday of mechanical watches in the 1960s, through the analog quartz watches from the 1970s, they continue to provide unique, advanced products that anticipate trends. Orient’s latest lineup offers broad variety, and each product incorporates the sum of their tradition and technologies.
The Orient FEM65009D9 Blue Ray was introduced alongside the Orient Mako as its counterpart and, as some speculate, its eventual replacement. Having fixed some issues that were present in the Mako range the Blue Ray has quickly become a popular staple in the mid range diving category due to its versatility and durability.
The ‘Ray’s Movement
When it comes to watchmaking, Orient does not have an obscure history: They have been producing mechanical watches for more than 60 years. All of Orient’s movements are exclusively made in Japan and none of its manufacturing is outsourced. In the eye of the Quartz Revolution in the 1970s, the other top Japanese brands went on to predominantly manufacture quartz, while Orient remained focused on its mechanical movements.
So what’s the difference between quartz and mechanical? Despite the obvious difference in moving parts, the short answer is seen in the smooth sweeping seconds hand of a mechanical watch versus the choppy tick of a quartz movement.
Whilst Orient does produce quartz watches, all movements are supplied by its parent company. As an in-house movement producer, Orient joins a short list of watch companies that actually manufacture their movements in-house and exclusively for their own use. In the industry, it is uncommon that a company produces their own movements in-house, and by doing so Orient can ensure that the quality of their wristwatches are held to the highest standards.
The Blue Ray’s Looks
When it comes to the looks, it’s almost identical to the Mako with indices rather than numbers on the dial, giving it a less formal feeling. I enjoy the lush blue background, which is hard to capture in the pictures. The mix of polished and brushed stainless steel on the strap catches the light and pleases the eye. Additional chrome surrounds the luminescent accents, framing them in a band of reflected light. The brushing is neat on the case with unbrushed sides.
There are several ways to change the appearance of the watch to suit the mood, depending on how in-depth you want to go on your adventure into watch modification. The simplest way to ‘mod’ your watch is by replacing the straps, the Blue Bay looks great on a leather nato strap – and is on trend with the fashion of wearing your ‘divers on a nato’. I would suggest buying a basic watch kit, which are widely available, before embarking on this task.
New crystal sapphire domed glass is available to replace its standard hardened mineral glass, and parts are interchangeable from other ‘Rays. There is a strong community around the Orient brand who modify the watches and there is plenty of information online about modification. Making changes to the case and glass are doable but require special tools. The press to remove the glass is fairly cheap however, coming in at around £20 and crystal sapphire setting you back around £30, so you can easily go on a modding adventure for under fifty quid.
Depending on your taste the Mako is the same brand but slightly different design, and worth looking at.
There is a cheapest option in the Casio MDV106-1A
A cheaper option but similarly styled Invicta Men’s 8926OB “Pro Diver”
The Seiko Black SKX007KD is visually similar and roughly the same price but there are far more parts on the market you can customize with, making it a popular choice for modders.
Orient 21-Jewel Automatic (self-winding)
Polished and brushed stainless steel, 41.5mm x 13mm thick.
Solid screw-in back
Stainless steel bracelet, push-button deployment closure. 22mm
Pros Comparatively cheap compared to other divers. Orient has a reliable reputation and strong manufacturing background. Very solid feel, and good weight.
Cons Bezel is not sharp as you might expect. The day changer can be a bit tricky to operate, but once its set you won’t have to change it again. Raised edge on glass could be easily chipped.
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