Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Orient Automatic Flight - Aviation Type Pilot - CER2A003 (CER2A or ER2A series) Black Dial - Value for Money Pilot Watch, A Review

I bought a watch from Solar Time Sunway Pyramid over the weekend. It has been a few months since I indulged in acquiring a new watch. The watch that I got was the Orient Automatic Flight - Aviation Type Pilot - CER2A003.

Orient acknowledges that this is homage to the classic Pilot’s watch. Instead of being too stylish or try to put in their version of what constitute a Pilot’s watch, Orient’s version is a very simple watch. Apart from a date window, the watch has Arabic numerals and three hands. The dial has three scales; the outer scale has minute markers, the middle scale in the traditional Pilot’s watch numbering and the inner ring reads time on an hour scale.

If I was a pilot of yesteryear, the primary complication I need on a pilot watch would be either a countdown timer or a chronograph. This will allow a pilot (without the benefit of radio way-points and GPS satellite navigation) to accurately measure imaginary way-points in the sky by just using timing at specific speeds and direction. This particular complication is not provided by this model and as such, the only benefit it gives to a pilot is the legibility of the information. In this regard, this Orient model is very legible. Even in a dark environment the watch is legible. Luminescent material has been applied to every numeral on the outer ring including the primary markers, in addition to the hour and minute hands.

The Orient Flight is 42 mm wide (45 mm wide including the crown) and 11.6 mm thick. The lugs are 22 mm wide. The case is a brushed stainless steel throughout and the case back is a screw-type. The watch also comes with a screw-down crown. Meanwhile, the crystal is a flat mineral glass and the thick leather strap comes standard. There is a date window located at the 3 o'clock position. Motion is provided by in-house made in Japan caliber 48743 automatic movement. All these at a retail price of just MYR647 or USD147 per unit. After discount, I got it for just MYR460 or USD105!

The Orient Flight comes in four types of dial colours. Black (the model that I got), blue, green and beige.

The watch comes with a solid screw-down case-back. Instead of having information about the watch at the peripheral of the case-back, Orient chose to stamp all the information about the watch in the middle of the case-back. Interestingly, I cannot find the serial number of the watch which would usually be printed on the case-back. I suspect the serial number is printed inside the casing instead.

The crown is clean without any etching. For a watch at this price point, a screw-down crown is unexpected. Nevertheless, Orient does provide such a crown system for this watch. Despite the screw-down crown, the water resistant of this watch is just 100 meters.

Under the solid case-back is the in-house Japanese made Orient Caliber 48743, which is a 21-jewel automatic movement. It is not a hacking or hand winding movement. Nevertheless it comes with a date complication and operating at a frequency of 3 Hertz or 6 beats per second (or 21,600 bph). Setting the time and date is standard with the three position crown setting (position 1: gears disengaged; position 2: date gear engaged; position 3: time gear engaged). The movement has a 40 hours power reserve.

Powering up the main springs is almost instantaneous with just one shake of the watch. Adjusting the watch by manipulating the crown is also smooth. I can hear the rotor moving which can be disconcerting for a perfectionist. However, one must remember the price point of this watch. Don’t expect the quality of a high end Swiss machine. Nevertheless, what you get for the investment in money for this watch is way better than a Swiss timepiece. You get an in-house design, with everything made in Orient's own manufacturing facilities and brand history which are all hallmarks of a true watchmaker.

This watch is well suited for strap changes. With a lug width of 22 mm, there are countless options to dress up the watch. As it stands, the watch comes standard with nice thick black leather strap. Although there is a single-line stitching at the edge of the strap, it would be more visually appealing to have it in a contrasting colour to the leather, possible in white instead.

The strap itself is relatively standard with two leather strap guides (one permanent while the other is free to move along the strap) and a common clasp with the “ORIENT’ brand stamped on it.

Straight from the box, the leather is slightly stiff. However, after a day of wearing, it starts to soften. I suspect after 72 hours of wearing, the leather would be supple and be very comfortable on the wrist.

The information on the dial is easily visible during daylight and nighttime. Lumed with the LumiBrite paint designed by Seiko (Orient’s holding company), the watch does account itself well in darkness. Wore it to bed on the first day and after 6 hours you can still seen the dial and read the time albeit at a much lower intensity. Above is the photo I took just after switching off the light for bed.

The watch is just the right size. With the standard leather strap, the watch look good in all situation; formal as well as casual. It’s light and is an exceptional ‘everyday’ watch. Due to the price, this is an excellent model for younger kids to start to learn and appreciate the beauty of mechanical watches.

For those of you that like to change straps, this is a very good base watch. It looks good in canvas, para-cord, Zulu and Nato.

Picture taken from the internet

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