I was rather sad when news came out that Orient has decided to end its M-Force series. This series was Orient’s specialized heavy duty sport and diver watch line. The watches under this series are large and designed like bunkers. The bulky dimensions are necessary so as to be able to pack a lot of features in them. For a start, the M-Force series is one of the few series of watches in the world which are ISO-compliant in three standards: diving (ISO 6425), anti-magnetism (ISO 764) and shock-resistance (ISO 1413).
Unfortunately, the size is a factor that put a lot of people off from owning an M-Force. There appears to be a gradual shift in fashion where interest in 40++ mm diameter watches is waning. Due to practical reasons, people are starting to re-focus their sights on watches in the 40± mm size category. Orient has realized this shift and has taken steps to ensure they have the capacity to deliver what is demanded by the market.
The Triton series consist of three distinct models as tabulated below.
Black with gold trim
I decided to get the blue RA-EL0002L for the collection. I bought it for RM1,838.00 from Solar Time in Mid Valley Megamall.
The Triton RA-EL0002L is made out of 316L stainless steel with polished and brushed surfaces. It has a round watch casing which is paired with a bracelet. The watch casing has a diameter of 43.4 mm (excluding crown) and a lug-to-lug length of 51.0 mm. The case thickness is 13.6 mm and it has a lug width of 22.0 mm.
The watch comes standard with three complications that was the hallmark of the M-Force: a power reserve indicator located at 1 o’clock, a date aperture located at 4 o’clock and a unidirectional external bezel with 120 increments for a full rotation.
The hands on the Triton are covered with luminous paint. The hours hand is shaped like an arrow head. The luminous paint is framed on the arrow head itself. The tail end of the hours hand is painted black while the rest of the surface is roughly polished. The minutes hand is sword-like and the luminous paint is framed in the center. Similar to the hours hand, the tail end is painted black while the rest of the surface is roughly polished. Meanwhile, the seconds hand is also arrow-like with the tail end painted black while the rest of the surface is roughly polished. Like before, the luminous paint is framed on the arrow head itself.
The dial of this particular Triton is blue and the colour extends to the side of the sloping chapter ring. On the chapter ring are minute markers. The main hour markers are located on the dial itself. All hour markers as lumed and framed with polished steel. Apart from the 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 4 o’clock and 9 o’clock markers, the other markers are circle in shape. I was please to see that Orient did not sacrifice the 4 o’clock hour marker for the date aperture.
The power reserve scale has 10 hour increments from 0 to 40 hours with combination of line markers and Arabic numbering. The track on the first 10 hours is painted red. Although the power reserve hand is very thin, Orient had it framed in red and luminous paint in the center. At night, assuming the luminous paint has been charged; you will be able to see the power reserve hand clearly. From a practical point of view it’s not that useful since the power reserve scale is not painted with luminous paint. You will only see the hand pointing to darkness without any point of reference.
The dial has five lines of texts and logo. Interestingly, all are located on the bottom half of the dial. In the M-Force series, Orient will distribute the line of texts and logo to both half of the dial. Although there is the fear that the brand logo, the words “ORIENT”, “Automatic”, “DIVER’S 200M” as well as a series of small production codes at the peripheral of the dial could overwhelm the visibility of the dial, Orient was able to play with the font size to make it not that intrusive. In fact, this clustering is better for visibility compared to the previous set up.
Below is a comparative table on the dial set-up of the other M-Force. Although the DV01 appears to have cleaner real-estate, the choice of using a combination of Arabic numbers and markers negate that advantage. Moreover, the dial surface of the Triton is 30.0 mm wide compared to the M-Force dial width of between 30.0 mm to 32.0 mm (depending on model). Overall, by keeping a very similar dial surface area for the Triton; the redesigned texts, placement and markers, and the location of the various complications closer to the edge, it actually looks cleaner than the previous M-Force models.
The glass protecting the dial is flat sapphire crystal with AR Coating. I would think a dome sapphire crystal will really enhance the clarity of the dial further and provide a visual spectacular that magnify the size of the watch beyond its actual size.
The bezel has a nice coin-edge surface for grip and the combination of Arabic numbering and minute markers as well as the mandatory illuminating pip at 12 o’clock makes it well suited for active use. I only wish that Orient would consider etching the markers directly into the bezel surface instead of just painting it on as that would be longer lasting. Another option is to consider putting a ceramic bezel instead.
Compared to the M-Force series, the design of the bezel for the Triton is more sedated. Whereas the bezel on the M-Force was a primary design or fashion statement, on the Triton it was more of a practical tool than anything else. Since the bezel no longer would distract the attention of the viewer, focus is restored to the dial itself.
The screw-down crown of the Triton is very fairly substantial. Like the previous M-Force models, it is decorated with the Orient logo. However, instead of a red line around the middle of the crown, Triton’s is a black stripe. Well protected between two shoulder protrusions, the black strip is a quick visual reference on the status of the screw-down crown. If it is beyond the protrusions, the crown is unscrewed completely and if it is below the protrusions, the crown is screwed down properly.
From the photo above, you can also see the drilled lug holes. This helps facilitate the replacement of bracelets or straps easily. The standard bracelet uses a ‘pin and collar’ system for the link attachment. The clasp uses the fold-over with double push button safety and locking flap. The clasp also includes a simple diver’s extension of approximately 16.0 mm. What I like about the bracelet is the clasp: it looks like a face of a transformer or Decepticon 😀
Like the previous M-Force watches, the bracelet feels cheap and rattles quite a bit. A lot of people have complained about the quality of the M-Force bracelet for years (I also gave some negative feedback of the bracelet design in my reviews). I am surprised Orient did not heed the feedback given and continue to offer the same bracelet design with the Triton. If I had the chance to give my input, I would recommend Orient also ship an extra strap say made out of canvas for the option of the user. This will definitely make it fashionably exciting.
The Triton has a solid screw-down case-back with a nice etching of the Company logo in the center. A key point to note here is the “MADE IN JAPAN” written on the peripheral of the case-back (the word “JAPAN” in small print can also be found on the dial). The Triton is a 100% Japanese made product. Also note the 'EPSON' brand also listed on the case-back. This is the first time that Orient has acknowledge its holding company on one of its products.
Underneath the case-back is the Orient in-house Caliber 40N5A, an automatic movement with hand-winding and seconds hand stop mechanism. This movement has approximately 40 hours of power reserve. It uses 22 jewels and operates at a speed of 21,600 VPH or 3 Hertz. A date and a power reserve complication modules come standard with this caliber. This is the same movement used in Orient’s Pro Saturation Diver watch (see: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2013/10/orient-300m-pro-saturation-diver.html) as well as the M-Force watches (see: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/search/label/MForce).
This is the watch taken in the dark. Using its sister company’s (Seiko’s) LumiBrite paint, the dial glows bright; very impressive. Also note that you can also see the small power reserve hand since it is also painted with LumiBrite. It is impressive but practical application especially in the dark is questionable. To reduce possible confusion, the small power reserve hand should not be painted with luminous paint.
The watch has a water resistance capability of 200 meters and complies with the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) for a Class 1 diver watch. Under this category, the Triton can withstand the pressure to the depth of 200 meters underwater for a sustained long period time. This watch equipped with devices required for measuring the diving time and decompression time, such as a rotating bezel. It can be used for shallow-water diving (scuba diving, etc.) using compressed air in a cylinder for respiration. However, this watch is not rated for mixed-gas diving.
Although I can safely say the JIS Class 1 standard is similar to the ISO 6125 Diving standard, I couldn’t find information about the Triton’s capabilities under the anti-magnetism (ISO 764) and shock-resistance (ISO 1413) standards.
The Wearing Experience
The poor bracelet design spoils the overall wearing experience immensely. Even with the bracelet sized firmly to my wrist, it still goes on rattling and squeaking as I move. Below is a video of the problem.
As highlighted earlier, if I was given the authority to revamp the way the product is packaged, I would also provide with two additional straps in the watch box, similar to the way Orient delivers the Orient 300m Pro Saturation Diver to buyers (in this case only one extra strap; see: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2013/10/orient-300m-pro-saturation-diver.html). Since most buyers will seldom (if ever) use the watch for SCUBA diving anyway, a nice treat would be to provide one silicone strap for divers and one nylon (or leather) strap for casual users.
Apart from this issue, the watch wears well on the wrist. The smaller size makes it appealing to fans that find M-Force to be too big for their wrists. The watch is also more refined and can match easily with formal attire.
Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.
The sizing of the Triton hits the mark perfectly with a lot of Orient fans. Despite the smaller size than an M-Force, retaining all the complications of the larger dive watch such as the date and power reserve indicator is very much appreciated. However, Orient insistence of retaining the poor bracelet design which has consistently been given the thumbs down by reviewers when it was introduced on the M-Force denigrates somewhat an otherwise perfect package.
I bet a lot of buyers will switch the bracelet with an after-market leather strap almost immediately.