The Orient Bambino. Â This is a watch many of you are no doubt familiar with, as itâ€™s been quite a darling of the affordable segment. Â Mechanical, good design – itâ€™s easy to see why it would be popular. Â While weâ€™ve written about Orient here at WWR in the past, Iâ€™ve never actually seen one in person. Â Which means I was always appreciating things from afar, or simply from the photos, which as we all know, doesnâ€™t always tell the complete story. Â Well, aside from our words and photos here, that is. Â Regardless, with the latest release of the Orient Bambino SS, we (and I) get our first hands-on taste.
As it turns out, Â theÂ Orient Bambino SS was a great place to jump into the waters (not literally, though, as it only has a 30m WR rating). Â Why is that, you ask? Â Well, itâ€™s because theÂ Orient Bambino SS has a brand new movement, the F6222, which is based off of another movement in their collection. Why is this important? Â Well, itâ€™s because it brings some new things to the Bambino lineup, particularly hacking and hand winding, things we consider almost deÂ rigeur for a modern automatic. Â The modification also brings the small seconds to the party.
This really elevates the look of theÂ Orient Bambino SS. Â The Bambino line has always been praised as a vintage-look dress watch, but I think the move to a small sub-seconds (aka the SS part of the model name) really makes the design. Â Which, for being a small thing, itâ€™s surprising the impact. Â I mean, the rest of the watch is basically the same – domed mineral crystal, domed dial, same case dimensions (40.5mm wide by 12mm thick). Â Yet itâ€™s those small details that seal the deal. Â Along with the small seconds, Iâ€™m also happy to see the Arabic numerals and indices in place of Roman numerals. Â Sure, Roman numerals may seem dressier, but Iâ€™d much rather do without them.
So, if you couldnâ€™t tell, I was rather a fan of theÂ Orient Bambino SS, from the first time I took it out of the box until I put it back in to send it on home. Â The relatively thin profile – which, to the eye is thinner yet, as that height dimension includes the domed crystal) slips right under a cuff, and no one is the wiser. Â Pop it on out, and those polished hands pop against the dial, you read the time at a glance, and youâ€™re on the way. Â The date window isnâ€™t quite matched to the dial color, but itâ€™s small enough that itâ€™s not a distraction.
Speaking of distractions, I canâ€™t quite make my mind up if the logo is one on theÂ Orient Bambino SS. Â As I pointed out in a prior AVI-8 review, when you have a vintage-style watch, itâ€™s helpful if the rest of the dial (aka, all the extra printed bits) match in, thematically. Â Here, that Orient logo and text are on the border between feeling period appropriate, and feeling too modern. Â I wouldnâ€™t mind seeing the brand play around with some logo variations out of their back catalog (presumably, they have some options given that the brand has been around for a bit).
Then again, these days theyâ€™re part of the Epson group. Â What, the printer folks? Â Sort of. Â Flip the case over, and you see the Epson name right there, loud and proud. Â What this really means, for us watch folks, is that Seiko (which is part of the Epson group) is taking a more transparent bit of ownership here (or at least, thatâ€™s how Iâ€™m reading it) in the brand. Â Iâ€™m not a movement expert, so I canâ€™t tell you if this new one is built with the reliability and longevity of your favorite Seiko caliber, but itâ€™s nice to see the ownership being made a bit more clear.
Wearing theÂ Orient Bambino SS was a treat. Â I wore it both to the office, as well as with a suit, and it didnâ€™t break a sweat. Â Sure, it might look out of place a bit on the weekend if youâ€™re dressed really casually, but otherwise, something like this could be a good, dressier everyday alternative (perhaps the black dial variant would be a bit more under the radar; if you want to stand out, there are some gold tone options as well). Â And hey, at an asking price of $305, even if the watch is an every-other-day sort of a watch, youâ€™re still coming out ahead in the bargain, if you ask me. Â So, if youâ€™re on the hunt for a vintage-look dress watch, these newÂ Orient Bambino SS models should be one of your first stops to check out. Â orientwatchusa.com
- Brand & Model: Orient Bambino SS (ref. RA-AP0003S10A)
- Price: Â $305
- Whoâ€™s it for? Â You want a dressier watch with vintage looks, but without the vintage worries of reliability and accuracy
- Would I wear it? Â Indeedily do, good neighbor. Â Indeedily do.
- What Iâ€™d change: Play around with the logo on the dial, see if it could be â€œagedâ€ a bit. Â Also? Â Wonder what a full set of indices (replacing all numerals) would do
- The best thing about it: For a small detail, itâ€™s the sub seconds. Â Larger picture, itâ€™s the look and feel of the piece.
Tech Specs from Orient
- Movement: Â ORIENT Cal. F6222 Automatic, Hand-winding, Hacking Movâ€™t
- Power Reserve: Â Approximately 40 hours
- Functions: Â Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Case Material: Â Stainless Steel
- Case Diameter: Â 40.5mm without crown
- Case Thickness: Â 12mm
- Bezel Material: Â Stainless Steel
- Lugs: Â 21mm
- Crystal: Â Domed Mineral
- Band Material:Leather (Brown)
- Clasp: Â Buckle
- Water Resistance: Â 30m
- Dial Color: Â White
- Warranty Type: 1 Year Orient Watch USA Warranty