A common question affordable watch enthusiasts ask is “what is the best diver under £100?”. Time and time again, the same watches are mentioned. Seiko Monster. Seiko SKX007. Orient Mako. I decided to get my hands on a Mako once and for all to see why this watch is considered one of the best value watches money can buy. Let’s look why this may be the case…
Orient Mako Blue Watch Review
The deep blue dial of the blue Orient Mako is very stunning and visually striking. It has a metallic property about it very similar to the galvanic dial of the Christopher Ward C5, which has a rotating shimmer within it depending on the angle you are looking at it.
The logo is a nice touch at this price point. Usually one would expect just a printing. But we have a very well executed and applied logo with Orient and automatic printed underneath. This little extra gives the watch a higher quality appearance. The font used for automatic and water resist is perfectly chosen for the style of the watch – it really is classy!
The day and date wheel has black text on a white wheel, and coupled with the professional looking font it gives it great legibility.
The day and date window surround has a very well made and finished steel frame. It gives the watch an extra bit of shine when the sun catches it. It has a beveled interior adding to the quality and high level of finish.
The hour markers are rectangles with points at the end pointing inwards. They are all well lumed and have a steel surround. There are numbers at 6, 9 and 12. These are also very well made and applied, they all look flawless.
The lume is probably better than your average lume, but still not amazing. This shot is after a full charge. It dies down pretty quickly.
The hour and minutes hands are subtle swords, and are stainless steel with lumed centres. The second hand is a thin steel point, with a larger red point at the end. All of the various steel elements to the dial really makes it stand out and appear exquisite when the light hits them.
The deep blue dial, and hands and hour markers with chromed surrounds gives the watch very high legibility.
There is also an angled rehaut consisting of a minute track, with every 5 minutes being a slightly thicker line. This is very subtle and not overpowering. In fact, I barely noticed it – but you also know that it’s there when you want to refer to it.
The case is an absolutely perfect size at 42 x 13mm. It wears slightly smaller than 42mm, and everything about it is just right. It looks and feels tremendous on the wrist – it just has something about it that you feel the very first time you put it on.
The case has a brushed top, and polished sides and back. This matches the finishing of the bracelet well, making the transition through seamless.
The screw in crown has the Orient logo embossed on it nice and deep. The crown guards are very thin and pointy, and more or less protrude the whole length of the crown. I like how thin they are, as they offer high protection, whilst being subtle enough to match the classy style of he watch. Not too bulky!
There is a day change crown at 2, where you unscrew the surround, which raises up, allowing you to depress the button, advancing the days. It is very well engineered and works well. Some people don’t actually like it, thinking it unbalances the watch, but I like it – it gives the Mako a unique characteristic about it.
Sadly, the Mako has a mineral crystal, which I have found to be easy to get dirty or greasy marks and fingerprints on. A sapphire crystal would have been much better, but it is understandable that it would not be possible on a watch of this quality at this price. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of anti reflective coating on it.
The case back is well designed, but has not very deep etching. It has a decent size dome to it, increasing the thickness and girth of the watch, which also makes the Mako seem chunkier.
The bezel is a lovely deep, dark blue. The rotational action is nice (once it gets going), similar to the Seiko Monster. It just feels high quality and sounds great as you spin it around. To start with it can be pretty stiff, which is a problem which occurs on many a Mako, but once you start moving it, it loosens up. It lines up perfectly as well – which is always good, but rather surprisingly not every watch manages to get this right! At 12 there is a small triangle with a lume pip in. The grip around the outer edge of the bezel is well machined, not sharp at all.
The main concern I had before reviving the Mako was the bracelet. There is nothing I hate more than a cheap feeling jangly bracelet that makes a watch feel cheap. Thankfully, the Mako’s bracelet is good and solid. The links are thick and well machined and finished. It is brushed on the top and bottom, and polished on the sides.
The clasp, however, is certainly something that feels a little bit cheaper. The looks are fine, with the deep engraving of the Orient logo, and the decent flip lock which gives a decent click when you open it up. But, when you do open it up you have a very plain and thin elbow joint. I understand that if anywhere, this is the best place to make cost cuttings, and it is out of sight. Don’t get me wrong, it’s even impressive that the clasp is double locking at the price! But I just thought it would be worth mentioning. The end links are hollow, which is another cost saving measure. But, they are well machined and fit the case so well you cannot tell – apart from looking underneath.
An In-house Orient caliber 46943 movement powers the Mako. This is one of the biggest selling points Orient have. The fact that the movement is completely built by them at a price this low is staggering, especially being that they aren’t as big a company as Seiko or Citizen, whom they are up against. The 46943 is an extremely sturdy and reliable movement, and it is exceptionally accurate too. It has a bph of 21.6k, which equates to 6 ticks per second.
The movement does not have hand winding ability. So if it has stopped, a gentle gyration of the wrist will get it going.
You change the date the usual way, by pulling the crown out to the first position. The day change, however, is by the extra screw in crown at 2. You unscrew the surround, which raises up to the top of the height of the button. It the. Allows you to depress the whole lot. You then flick through the days of the week, with their Spanish counterpart. A well engineered solution to making an extra pusher water tight. I think it looks good too!
I must say that I agree with all the sentiments of others regarding the Orient Mako. Bar the Seiko Monster, you would be extremely hard pushed to find a proper rated high quality diver under £100 better than the Mako. It is a real looker on the wrist – everything about it exudes class and quality. Sure, it has its minor downfalls, but at this price it would be ridiculous to expect any more from it. It is just so impeccably finished and manufactured, and well designed to boot.
Bravo Orient for manufacturing such a brilliant timepiece, whilst keeping the price down to an incredible low!