When it comes to affordable automatic watches, few brands offer the same bang-for-your-buck value as Orient. Like Seiko’s more affordable automatics, Orient watches are often touted by the collecting community as a great way to get your feet wet with automatics before spending a larger chunk of change on pricier mechanical timepieces. That said, Orient watches are great in their own right, and their MSRP (or rather, their street price) often belies the true value of these great timekeepers. Having owned a few myself when I first began collecting watches, I can attest to their quality (In fact, I still regret flipping the 60th anniversary hand-cranker Orient released a few years back).

The Mako has been Orient’s flagship dive watch for a long time now, and it’s often a watch recommended alongside the iconic Seiko SKX007 diver. The watch’s popularity is undeniable, and in the eleven years since it was first introduced Orient has released numerous color ways and even created two spinoff models, the Ray and the Mako XL. The Mako USA is the next iteration of that theme, and it’s unique in that the model was largely designed with input from the online watch community. The design is new but familiar, and the build quality is a step up from previous models with the inclusion of a sapphire crystal, solid end links, and drilled lugs. It’s certainly a higher-end addition to the brand’s entry-level catalogue, but is it worth your hard-earned cash? Let’s take a closer look.
Orient Mako USA Review

Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: Orient Cal. 46943
Dial: Black, Blue, and White
Lume: Green Nemoto LumiNova
Lens: Flat Sapphire Crystal (No AR)
Strap: 22mm Stainless Steel Band
Water Resistance: 200m
Dimensions: 41.5mm X 47mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: Screw Down Crown and Pusher
Warranty: 1 Year
Price: $225
Case

The Mako USA shares a case with the classic Mako, which comes in at 41.5mm wide and 13mm thick, and with a lug-to-lug height of nearly 47mm. It features a brushed top surface and polished sides as well as a polished crown and pusher. The signed screw-down crown at 3 o’clock is flanked by a set of crown guards. The crown adjusts the time (position 3) and date (position 2), but the secondary pusher at 2 o’clock—also screw-down to maintain the 200m-depth rating—configures the day. Overall, it is a well-executed case with the right proportions for a modern diver that should look at home on a number of different wrists.

Now on to some of the differences. The Mako USA is upgraded with a 120-click unidirectional bezel and a new insert. The bezel is by far the biggest improvement on the new model, with the older version (60-click and unidirectional) being notoriously stiff and difficult to operate. The new bezel is much easier to use and has absolutely no back play. The bezel alone makes the Mako USA feel like a much more expensive watch. The insert itself is also a significant improvement on the original, which felt a bit bland with its diminutive markers. Here we have a much bolder and aggressive font that gives the watch a decidedly sportier feel.
Sitting atop of the case is a flat sapphire crystal. Unfortunately, there is no AR on the glass, which means that the crystal is a bit of a reflection magnet. This poses less of a problem on lighter-dialed variants, but on the black-dialed model it can be quite annoying. The crystal also does not sit flush with the bezel, leaving a noticeable gap between the two parts. It’s not aesthetically disruptive, but it’s one of those small details that nags at you once you notice it. That said, it is more scratch resistant thanks to the sapphire’s hardness.

And then there are the drilled lugs. This is a detail I often welcome with open arms, but I was disappointed with the execution here for the simple fact that the gauge of the holes appears to be too small to accommodate most spring bar tools, including our very own worn&wound tool. In fact, of the four different tools I had at my disposal, only one was small enough to be effective. Again, this isn’t really a issue in the scheme of the overall watch, but it is the first time that I’ve encountered such a problem with drilled lugs.
Dial and Hands

This is where we find the most obvious differences from the classic MAKO series. The Mako USA dial borrows elements from a number of other Orient divers, among them the Ray and the Mako XL. Gone are the Arabic numerals of the original, replaced entirely by large indices similar to those on the Mako XL. This gives the dial a much bolder and more streamlined look with greater legibility. There is also a new handset, with an arrow-styled hours hand, a large sword minutes hand, and a red-tipped seconds hand lifted directly from the Ray. The handset is ideally paired to the dial both in terms of harmony of design (the bolder look of the dial and hands matches well to the new bezel design) and overall utility. Topping off the dial are the Orient logo and crest under the 12 o’clock marker, and “water resist” and “200m” above the 6 o’clock marker.
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