Thursday, July 6, 2017

Orient Manual Winding 21 Jewel Power Reserve Pocket Watch CDD00001W/DD00001W “Epoch” (similar to CDD00002W/DD00002W) – Traditional, A Review

I used to have a pocket watch a very long-time ago. I guess, I was just a pre-teen when I got it from a holiday trip in Europe. The thing I remembered about it was that it was gold plated and it had a cover for the dial. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what happened to it. After more then 30 years has lapsed and I was in a position to rekindle the love affair I had with a pocket watch.



Nevertheless, I realized my taste in the style of pocket watches has changed. Instead of the garish gold-plated variety with ornate embossed images on the metal surfaces, I am now more into clean lines and plainness. I am also into quality and pedigree which is hard to come by when it comes to pocket watches.



One model that I had my eyes on for some time was Orient’s interpretation of the pocket watch, the Reference CDD00001W/DD00001W (and its sister the Reference CDD00002W/DD00002W). Launched in 2008, this watch series registered a number of firsts for the brand.



I was made to understand that the Caliber 48C40 is the first manual winding movement by Orient. Since winding-only movement is generally seen as a gentleman or vintage technology, what better way to introduce this movement by marrying it to a pocket watch, also Orient’s first. On a side note, strictly speaking, Orient had a parallel development in winding movement, the 48A40 that is specifically used for the JDM only, Royal Orient series pocket watches, the WE0041EG. There are some subtle differences but by far and large, it is identical.

As highlighted earlier, there are two versions in the series. One has the Arabic numerals with machined engraved dial with various textured areas while the other has Roman numerals with simple wave-like etching on the dial. I chose the Arabic numeral version. The Reference CDD00001W/DD00001W is on the left and the Reference CDD00002W/DD00002W is on the right.



The casing is 40.0 mm wide and 11.4 mm thick. Made out of 316L stainless steel, it is highly polished. Flat sapphire crystals with anti-refractive coating covers the dial as well as the display case-back. The case-back is a simple design with four (4) screws fixing it tight to the casing. The chain provided is well made and substantive. The chain extends 36.0 mm from the button clip to the buckle hook. This pocket watch is made and assembled in Japan.

The crown sits on an extended support tube at 12 o’clock where the D-ring attachment is also located. The contemporary looking crown in sizable with a plain domed top surface devoid of any markings.

The various textured areas on the dial give it the old-fashion charm synonymous with pocket watches. The Breguet style blued hands gives it a luxurious feel and coupled with the white dial, it visually ‘pops’ out nicely. There are two time scales on the dial. The outermost is a minute dial with small blue dots for the minutes. For the fifth minute, a stud-like polished steel marker is provided for the 3D effect. This scale in located on a texture surface which is caterpillar track-like. The second scale is the hour markers in Arabic numerals. This scale is located in the only smooth plain white sector of the dial. Meanwhile, at the 9 o’clock position is only complication provided by the watch, the power reserve indicator. Orient is one of very few, if not the only watch manufacturer that incorporate power reserve indicators as one of the basic complications in many of its watches. It too has a blued hand that points to a sub-scale that indicates the power reserve from nil to 40 hours in Arabic numerals. Interestingly, the stem of the power reserve hands sits partly on a very thin band of yet another style of textured area; this time, coin edge-like. Finally, the center of the dial has the final texture design; best described as the interweaving curve lines.



There are only four lines of image and texts on the dial. The first three (including the logo) is found to the right of the center and the final line of text is at the edge and bottom of the dial in very small font size. I find it tastefully done without overwhelming the beautiful textured dial too much. In fact, instead of being able to easily see and read text on the vast majority of watches, for this Orient, you need to get up close to be able to see and read it properly.

This watch does not have the typical fixed bezel found in most wristwatches. Instead, the flat sapphire crystal covering the dial sits slightly higher than the curved edge of the watch casing. Since this watch would travel in a pocket anyway, the likelihood of impact is not as high as wristwatches. However, the possibility of abrasions against loose coins or keys is very high. Having sapphire crystal to cover the dial as well as the display case-back helps mitigate it somewhat but the highly polished metal surface may not fare as well.



The Orient Caliber 48C40 movement (including the 48A40) is the first mechanical winding movement made by Orient. The “A” version is highly decorated and incorporated into the Royal Orient line of watches whereas the 48C40 goes to the generic Orient lines. The movement has a 40 hour power reserve, with a power reserve indicator on the dial and an escapement that beats at 21,600 BHP or 3 Hertz. It also features a hacking function that stops the seconds hand when the crown is pulled out to adjust time. It is rated with a daily accuracy of between +25 seconds to -15 seconds.

When Orient decided to create this particular movement, the design specification is to make it suitable for a wristwatch. Due to the size constraints, when Orient decided to incorporate it first into a pocket watch, instead of adding spacers so that the movement can fit into a typically sized example of around 45 mm wide, the designers chose to let the movement size dictate the actual size of the watch. Relative to other pocket watches, the CDD00001W/DD00001W is slightly on the lower side. I don’t find this an issue at all.

Due to the nature of the pocket watch design, the casing only has a 30 meter water resistance rating.

I do have a number of feedback that I hope Orient would take note and include them into their future designs.

The first is the issue of the power reserve. For a pocket watch, it would be great if Orient can improve the power reserve. If they can add an additional barrel spring into the package, it should easily hit 80 hours. Yes, the watch would definitely be thicker but as this is a pocket watch, the cost of such a compromise is not that bad.

The second is case protection. Providing a protective cladding that the user can choose to put on or not help provide some shield against scratching the crystal or metal surface as the watch rides in the pocket with loose coins and keys. Having it as part of the overall ownership package makes it even classier (see example below - taken from the internet).



The third is a conversion wrist strap. Providing a conversion wrist strap either in leather, rubber/silicone or nylon makes the timepiece very flexible. Again, having it as part of the overall ownership package can get more people to appreciate its usability (see example below - taken from the internet).



The Purchase

I found this watch is a small shop in Ampang Park, Kuala Lumpur. It was having a ‘moving away’ sale. From a listed price of RM1,250.00 I was able to get a discount of 30% i.e. RM875.00.

I’m half torn between believing either I got the correct watch-box or I didn’t get the correct watch-box with this watch. Although it was from the correct brand, the world ‘AUTOMATIC’ on top of the watch-box is definitely not correct. If it is correct, I guess Orient was not that particular of making sure the watch-box does not contradict the timepiece it carries. If this is true, it is a negative blotch to the brand’s franchise value.

The Wearing Experience

Since you don’t wear this watch on the wrist, a different set of criteria is needed when reviewing its effectiveness, comfort level and usability to users. For this type of watches, what one carries in pockets will affect how the Orient Pocket Watch performs.

For a modern person, the usual stuff in pockets is usually a mobile phone; metal keys and/or FOB keys; credit and access cards. Increasingly, a number of people also started to carry a small EDC (Every Day Carry) utility knife as well. Unfortunately, all these things can either do damage to the Orient or vice versa.

Before the 1990s, there is usually a FOB pocket sewn into trousers for lighters. However, the non-smoking movement and the aftermath (although not entirely due to this but it has some merits) has made cloth manufacturers do away with such designs. So now, the watch has to fight for storage space with the other carry-on.

For me, I usually attached the buckle hook to my belt and keep the watch inside my right trouser pocket. Everything else will go to my left pocket. With this arrangement, I find it very easy to access the watch anytime I want it.

However, the same may not be true to other people. If the watch needs to share the pocket, be prepared to have the watch suffer hairline scratches as it get bumped around. Hence the importance of a 'pocket protector' for this watch.


Overall, I am satisfied with this timepiece.



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