There’s one thing that can’t be denied about Orient’s watches, it’s the impressive value for the money they offer. We’ve seen it very clearly with the new Bambino 38, which left a very positive impression on the team. Accessible and yet well built, they however sometimes can lack a bit of fun and cool. Well, the latest models to be released by the Japanese brand are certainly correcting this. Inspired by glorious models from the 1960s and 1970s, with an undeniable retro charm and funky colours, the new Orient Neo Classic Sports Collection brings the heat without breaking the bank.
The 1970s have long been seen as slightly weird in terms of design, with strange combinations of bright colours, rather bold (to say least) use of patterns and shapes that were a bit… odd. For a long period of time, vintage-styled watches have taken inspiration from the late 1950s and early 1960s, a generation that is often considered the golden era of sports/tool watches. Classic, no-nonsense designs, with an instrumental approach. The late 1960s and the early 1970s changed this rather drastically, by adding a much bolder, colourful and audacious sense of design to all products, including watches.
The early 1970s were a time of high economic growth and vitality in every field for Japan, and gave birth to fresh designs filled with fun and cool. During this period, Orient established a distinctive style based on unique concepts, gaining many fans. The Neo Classic Sports is a watch inspired by the iconic Orient models of the period, with a distinctive design on the dial and case, but with a modern twist in other areas.
The new Orient Neo Classic Sports Collection isn’t per se a re-edition of a past model, but more a mix-and-match of various elements found in the brand’s vintage watches, starting with a typical helmet-shaped case. Rounded, without lugs, with its strap attached directly to the base, such shapes were highly popular during the late 1960s and early 1970s and strongly participate in the retro appeal of this new collection. On paper, the new collection feels quite large, with a 43.5mm diameter and 13.9mm height. However, the 46mm lug-to-lug reminds you that it will certainly be fairly comfortable.
The Neo Classic Sports has to be seen as a recreational sporty/dive watch, with its solid 200m water-resistance. It isn’t as focused as the Orient Star Diver 1964 here, but still has enough to withstand a trip underwater (note that it’s not an ISO-certified diver). The case is fitted with a fixed fluted bezel and reminds of the 1970s King Diver. The caseback is solid steel and screwed, so is the crown and the watch is topped by a mineral glass. As you’ll see, there’s an additional crown at 4 o’clock, which is used to actuate the inner rotating bezel.
The dial of the Orient Neo Classic Sports follows the same principles as the case and is all about funky colours and bold shapes. It has a complex block-patterned scale with thick hands and markers, with lume on all elements. There’s a day-date function too. And if the logo feels a bit oversized and baroque, it kind of works in this context…
The collection comprises 3 models:
- RA-AA0E05B with a non-coated steel case, a black dial with white and orange accents and a multi-link stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
- RA-AA0E06B with bronze-coated stainless steel case, a black dial with beige scales, makers and hands filled with beige lume and a brown leather strap
- RA-AA0E07B with a black-coated stainless steel case, a black dial with white scales and a rainbow effect on the markers and a black leather strap. This edition is, unlike the two previous models, limited to 2,000 pieces
Inside the case, no surprises. The watch is powered by the automatic, in-house, Japan-made calibre F6922. A tried-and-tested movement, with a simple but reliable design, it runs at a 3Hz frequency and stores over 40 hours of power reserve. Its accuracy is rated at -15/+25 seconds/day and it features a stop-second mechanism.
The Orient Neo Classic Sports Collection brings back cool elements of the past and a funky design that will certainly be popular among fans of the brand, but also newcomers who want a fun, reliable sports watch. And the price is reasonable, with all three models retailing at EUR 420. For more details, please visit orient-watch.com.