Orient Ray 2 Watch

ARRSE Rating
4.00 star(s)
"You lie like a cheap Chinese watch."

We've all heard the culturally inappropriate phrase so let's clear up a couple of points before we continue.

Orient watches are not Chinese.

Orient is owned by Seiko, but run by Seiko Epson, which is a separate division from the rest of the Seiko watch business.

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The watch in question is not a dive watch and should not be regarded as one. It is not ISO 6425 certified, for a start. (Yeah, I looked that up - it's a real thing.)

Describing it as a "Splashing about watch" doesn't make for good advertising copy, however true it might be.

Also - horrible phone photos - mea maxima culpa, get over it. If you're in the market, there are more than enough excellent pics for your Googling pleasure.

With that out of the way, what follows is my personal opinions/experience of my Orient Ray 2 Black. (No Ferraris, ocean voyages or WW2 wreck diving expeditions feature in any of those experiences.)

In the interests of transparency, this watch is a grey import which I intend to mod sometime in the near future, so I bought it via Amazon International at the ridiculously cheap price of £108. If I break it, well, hard cheese, old man.

Just a caveat on pricing at the time of this review. A current search on Amazon show the best price is about £150. Guess I got lucky. Bear in mind that if you can get one for under £200, then my closing remarks still stand. If you're being asked to part with more than that, have a look at other brands.

Specs:

  • 41.5mm case diameter
  • 13mm case depth
  • 8mm screw-in crown
  • 22mm strap width
  • 47mm lug-to-lug (length)
  • Orient F65 Auto/Manual 22-jewel in-house movement
  • Mineral crystal
  • 120-click unidirectional bezel

The Ray 2 comes in a sturdy dark blue box inset with a brushed aluminium plate with the Orient logo. Inside, wrapped around the usual squidgy foam cushion is the watch with its serial number plastic fob and a tear-off warning about how removing the rubber strap will invalidate your warranty. Both duly torn off.

The included rubber strap is useable, if not a little overpowering for those with smaller wrists (editing note: do not use the word "noodle" during this review.) and there is plenty of adjustment available. The strap is adorned with a double dolphin logo - a repeat of the logo etched on the watch back.

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Don't ask me why the logo is two dolphins and not two rays. Having said that, my natural curiosity has forced me to drop an email to Orient to ask them. I don't expect an answer, but I have to try if only for my own satisfaction.

As shown in the photos, the Ray 2 wears comfortably with a Sniper Bay NATO strap, if somewhat high because of the double strap thickness between the watch and wrist. On a metal bracelet or two-piece strap, this is not an issue, although the NATO strap means you won't get sweaty-watch-back-syndrome.

Moving on the watch itself is the Marmite moment - the bezel. It tapers down to the edge which is quite narrow and needs, shall we say, some commitment to turn it. It is aided by extra-deep notches at he odd-numbered five-minute intervals, but it feels stiff. No bad thing in a unidirectional bezel which doesn't budge a fraction of a millimetre in reverse. In it's favour, when you set it, it stays set. Nothing worse than a sloppy bezel.

The face is surprisingly detailed and of excellent finish given the price of the watch. Luminous markers are trapezoids at the 6, 9 and 12 with large dots every five minutes bar the 3 mark. Here sits the day/date display, with white on black text except for Sundays. The window, is framed (like the lume markers) with a high-polish surround also carried over to the hands and maker's logo on the deep black matte face. All of this adds an understated glint when you view the face from some angles and it's none the worse for it.

The hands are a sword shape for the minutes with a stubby syringe style for the hours. The only colours on the face are the second sweep tip , the filling of the "O" in Orient and "Sun" in the date display - all red, very understated. The second hand sweeps round the dial at six ticks a second which appears smooth and majestic compared to the regimented one tick per second of years of quartz watches.

A few words on the luminosity (lume) - it is excellent. Truth be told it's probably the main reason I bought this model of this watch; my night vision is terrible and I swear I've dropped my phone more times than not when checking the time when I wake up in the wee small hours. Even after a few hours in the dark the markers are clearly legible and the lumed 12 o'clock pip confirm you have the thing the right way up.

Next, on to the crown and the sausage-fingered among us will surely appreciate the challenge of unscrewing it to get to the features. It is a tiny little 8mm thing protected by steel horns fore and aft. When you finally unscrew it the first click out takes you to the forwards/day, backwards/date adjustment (bilingual days of the week) and a further click out stops the second hand (known as "hacking", though nothing to do with horses, coughs or computers) and allows the time to be advanced or retarded.

Once you push the crown back in to the "no-clicks" position, you can hand-wind the watch up to its stated forty hours reserve. This procedure is recommended if you're going to binge-watch a box-set of anything on the TV. Finally, there's the brief struggle to push Tiny Crown into place and screw him shut for that full two-hundred meter water resist feeling.

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Which brings me to the conclusion. The Orient Ray 2 is not a diver's watch. It's a diver-style watch, not something a working diver would or should consider, and rightly so. I'm sure that bezel will free up a little after some fettling - let's face it, normal users only ever rotate the bezel whiling away the hours in a doctor's waiting room or outside a dress shop fitting room. Besides, normal users will use their smart phone to time things, right?

I'd like a sapphire crystal instead of the mineral, but that would push the base price up somewhat, so I'm going to do a DIY on it. I might do something about the bezel at the same time. Neither of which is relevant here.

It's a beater watch for outdoorsy types. An indoor watch for office, shop and van. A squaddie watch. A weekend watch that doesn't need to hide its face on a formal night out. Get it wet, get it muddy, spill (non-corrosive) fluids on it. Run it under the tap and give it a wipe. It's not an investment or an ornament.

It's a bloody good watch at a bloody good price.
 
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I was reading some interesting reviews about orient lately. Corrected a lot of previous assumptions. In general heard a lot of praise for value for money. I might have a look at some.
 

mogreby

Old-Salt
I was reading some interesting reviews about orient lately. Corrected a lot of previous assumptions. In general heard a lot of praise for value for money. I might have a look at some.
I bought an Orient automatic in Beirut in 1983, it's never been serviced, always goes when I think about it (find it in a drawer) and keeps excellent time. I can't remember what I paid for it but I didn't have much so it wouldn't have been more than £30-40.
 
I bought an Orient automatic in Beirut in 1983, it's never been serviced, always goes when I think about it (find it in a drawer) and keeps excellent time. I can't remember what I paid for it but I didn't have much so it wouldn't have been more than £30-40.
May be worth checking the value of that on eBay as many vintage Orient watches are now fetching a very nice price!
 

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