Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Orient Star Somes WZ0201EL - The sublime shape and understated dial makes it a good companion for particular all occasions, A Review

I like watch dials that are simple. This Orient Star Somes WZ0201EL fits my requirement perfectly. Orient, in collaboration with the famous saddle maker Somes (http://www.somes.co.jp/) has created an excellent combination between mechanical watch perfection and superb leather strap under the ORIENT STAR premier branding.

This model have been discontinued by Orient. Nevertheless, there are still some old stocks still available. I used eBay to search for it and I was finally able to get it from a internet shop from Japan. After paying US$598.90 or RM1997.16 on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, I received this EMS package after a few days.  

Despite using a plastic envelope, the seller did wrap the box in layers of bubble wrap.

After taking off the wrap you will see a very long box protected by a sleeve, more than 12 inches in length with the Orient Star brand and logo printed in silver.

Taking off the sleeve you will finally get to see the watch box. The brand and logo are printed on top of the box. The top of the box opens and it hinges at the back of the box.

The watch as well as the manual and guarantee card can be seen once the box is opened.

Because this is a JDM (Japanese Domestic Model) piece, the guarantee is only valid in Japan. Hopefully I don't need to utilize the guarantee for the next one year!

The watch has a turtle shape casing (or commonly known as tonneau shaped) with dimensions of 46 mm from top to bottom and 43 mm from side to side. The lug width is 20 mm while the case thickness is 12.4 mm. The thick black bridle leather matches the black dial of the watch. Overall, the watch weights in at 86 gm.

With the watch comes some tags that show the suggested retail price of the watch in Japan which was set at YEN59,000.

This watch has one complication that I truly appreciate; the power reserve indicator. Situated at the 12 o'clock position, it is fan shaped placed symmetrically at a North-South alignment. With markers set for every 5 hours, the scale is capped at 40 hours. There are also Arabic numerals at the 0, 20 and 40 hour markers.

Another function that comes with the watch is a date window set at the 3 o'clock position. Part of the 3 o'clock marker is taken by the date window. Personally, I don't quite like the positioning of the date window. It destroys the symmetry of the watch. If given the option, I would place it at the 6 o'clock position.

Apart from the logo and "Orient Star" brand that are on the dial, smaller prints at the edge of the dial at 6 o'clock provide information about the country of origin. In this case, it is Japan. 

The dial has main markers set every 5 minute intervals. Another set of sub-markers graduated for every minute is printed on the sloping chapter ring. The hour and minute hands as well as a small part of the main markers are painted with luminous paint.

The dial is protected by sapphire crystal glass.

The crown is set at 3 o'clock and is recessed slightly inside the casing. There is no markings on it. It is also not a screw-down.

The leather strap are well made. Stitched by hand, the Somes made strap is one of the best in the world. The leather has been treated and should last for a long time.

The buckle is a surprise. I am surprised because it is too simple in my view. Its just a simple rounded rod bent at the right places. I would imagine it to be more like the shape of the turtle casing.

The strap is rather thick.

One other interesting aspect of the strap is that both parts of the straps are designed differently. For example, the tail side of the strap does not show any stitching whereas the buckle side of the strap shows stitching.

The movement in this watch is the 40M50 21 Jewel in house movement made in Japan.  It has a power reserve of 40 hours and accuracy of about +25/-15 sec/day. It operates in the 21,600 vibrations per hour frequency. It is automatic as well as having hand-winding function. It also has second hand stop function when the crown in engaged for time adjustments.

The movement can be seen via the transparent case-back. Through this observation point you can see the decorated rotor with the "ORIENT STAR" brand and logo etched on it. Basic information about the watch are also etched around the perimeter of the observation glass. Here also is printed the reference for the water rating at 5 Bar or 50 meters. 

The base material made for the watch is stainless steel.

The watch has a bold case with a strong wrist presence. Its elegant dial combine with the clean finish is impressive. The thick strap does need some effort to get it to curve around one's wrist but after wearing it for some time, it retains the 'memory' of the wearer's wrist and quickly adjust quite comfortably.

Despite the substantial dimension of the watch, the turtle shape casing gives an impression of a smaller watch. In fact, on the wrist, it looks like a 40 mm piece. This is one watch worth considering for those with smaller wrists.

Note the anvil-like shape of the watch casing. This watch can be worn with formal wear. The shape actually facilitate the smoothness of the watch going under shirt cuffs without snagging.

The following picture justifies why I believe the buckle used for this watch is not of the same standard and class. Doesn't it look too simple? I would have imagine a bigger unit with enough space to stamp the brand or logo on.

Overall, this watch is close to superb. Its sublime shape and understated dial makes it a good companion for particular all occasions.  

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