Monochrome Watches
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The Orient Star Skeleton Is The Brand’s Latest Luxury Watch

A modern, luxury skeleton piece with a silicon escape wheel enters Orient’s Contemporary Collection.

| By Erik Slaven | 3 min read |

Orient Star is the higher-end tier within Orient’s portfolio, not unlike Seiko and Grand Seiko, although to a lesser extent. The brand is introducing a new piece called the Skeleton in its Contemporary Collection, which is simply a follow-up to last year’s Skeleton in the Classic Collection. That prior model celebrated Orient Star’s 70th anniversary in 2021 and this latest one features some aesthetic tweaks. An updated in-house movement with a darker finish and subtle styling changes represent the vastness of outer space, although it’s abstract and the watch is suitable for most occasions.  

The stainless steel case is compact at 39mm in diameter and only 10.8mm in height, the latter thanks to the movement being hand-wound. Lug-to-lug is 46.5mm. It’s just slightly larger than last year (38.8mm x 10.6mm). A new 20mm steel bracelet works seamlessly with the piece and has short pitch H-shaped links that combine brushed and polished elements. Its trifold deployant buckle with a push button secures it to the wrist. A dual-curved sapphire crystal with Orient’s SAR (super anti-reflective) coating protects the dial, while the case back has a sapphire exhibition window. An oversized push/pull crown is easy to manipulate for winding and setting the time, but it limits water resistance to 50 metres.

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The skeletonized dial elements are grey, including an outer ring for the applied steel indices, small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. The front side of the movement is decorated with perlage and has a minimalistic look that doesn’t create clutter. It would be easy for this to become visually messy, but it’s well-balanced. There’s a nice contrast between the blue hour and minute hands and background, so reading the time is never difficult. The power reserve and small seconds hands are a matching blue, while a blue silicon escape wheel is clearly visible at the top left of the small seconds sub-dial. A plaque with Orient Star’s branding sits at 3 o’clock.

Powering the Orient Star Skeleton is the hand-wound, in-house calibre F8B61 that’s identical to last year’s calibre F8B62, but now with a darker finish. It’s fairly accurate at +15/-5 seconds per day, beating standard ETA and Sellita counterparts. It has 22 jewels and beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with a 70-hour power reserve. Seen from the exhibition case back, the movement is decorated with Orient’s version of Côtes de Genève. The silicon escape wheel was developed in-house and utilizes proprietary technology from Epson (Seiko Epson is Orient’s parent company).

The 2022 Orient Star Skeleton in the Contemporary Collection retails for EUR 3,330, which seems a bit high for such a piece. To be fair, it has an in-house skeletonized movement with a silicon escape wheel, high power reserve and decent accuracy, but Orient is best known for affordability. Attaching such high prices to the brand can be a tough sell, but this in no way implies that the new Skeleton is inferior to comparably priced Swiss pieces.

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6 responses

  1. Hmm I don’t know, it’s a lot of money and you actually can’t see much through the dial. I am in the market for a skeleton for my son and this doesn’t seem to cut it, the aikon 39 is possibly a more attractive proposition.

  2. Beautiful movement. I don’t think I have ever seen them use the F8B61. Also I wonder why Orient Star’s latest releases have moved away from drilled lugs?

  3. Never been a fan of open face or open heart watches. Still not a fan. There’s a reason why Rolex doesn’t do this.

  4. @Mik As far as I can tell the list price for this reference in Japan is 341,000yen, I am not sure why the Euro list price is still 3,300 given the current disparity between the two currencies

    @Salvatore Salemi it’s a pretty narrow view of the watch world to assume that Rolex is the be all and end all of fine watchmaking, and also that those whose tastes align perfectly with Rolex watches have superior taste in watches. Does your logic also explain why Rolex doesn’t offer a perpetual calendar, a monopusher chronograph, or a tourbillon?

    From what I can tell, the reason Rolex doesn’t make skeleton watches is because they primarily make tool watches and don’t emphasize movement complexity or finishing, and therefore don’t bother to show off their movements (either through the front or the back – Rolex also doesn’t offer any models with display case backs).

    Also I’ve seen at least one custom job of a skeletonized Rolex that I think is really spectacular.

  5. This is a cool watch, I would love to see it in person. @Mik I think the list price in yen is 341,000 I am not sure why the list price in Euro doesn’t reflect the recent change in currency valuation for the Yen.

    @Salvatore Salemi I think it’s a pretty narrow view of the horological world to take Rolex as the arbiter of the best taste in watch design. Rolex also doesn’t make a perpetual calendar, a tourbillon, or a monopusher chronograph.

    From what I can tell, the reason that Rolex doesn’t do any of those is because Rolex makes primarily tool watches. Since they don’t emphasize movement complexity or finishing, they don’t make it visible through the front of the watch (or through the back, as Rolex doesn’t have any display case backs, either).

    I saw a customized version of a skeletonized Daytona with a thoroughly refinished movement, I thought the effect was spectacular. So I think Rolex could pull something off with this if they tried.

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