We take a comprehensive look at the new dark green Orient Mako III Kamasu, and give you the low down on this inexpensive tool watch.
Review: Orient Mako III Kamasu Dark Green
Retail price for the Orient Mako III Kamasu Dark Green Ref. RA-AA0811E is SGD 429 inclusive of GST.
The so called Diver series from Orient offers an interesting value proposition for those in the market for a tool watch. Notice we say tool watch, and not diver watch, as Orient themselves admit in their literature that the Mako series is not compliant with ISO standards for dive watches, though are not specific in what exactly they fail to meet.
However, when we examined the specifications – unidirectional rotating bezel, first 15 minutes marked differently on the bezel than the rest, 200m water resistance rating, good lume, will make it a good choice, in our view for a “dive” watch. Or can make a good case for itself in the tool watch category. And at this price point, will make it a good daily beater for many.
The case, dial and hands
This is a very handsome watch, if a bit generic looking for a dive style watch. The case is a sturdy, stainless steel tonneau shaped affair with sloping lugs. The bracelet is a three link arrangement, also in stainless steel with a 3 fold deployant buckle, with security latch to lock.
The bezel is a bi-colour rotating bezel. The bezel is aluminium, and two different colours share a border separated by the triangular 12 o’clock marker and the 15 minute marker. This is not immediately noticeable in our review sample as the section from 12 to 3 is a deep, dark green which is very close to the black of the rest of the bezel. The sides of the bezel feature large corrugations for improved grip, and also gives the watch a strong aesthetic. The bezel rotates in 120 distinct clicks.
The dial is in a blue-green hue on our review sample, though the model lineup offers three other dial options – grey, blue and a limited edition burgundy. The blue-green on the dial features a dégradé or fumé style gradation which goes from a darker hue in the periphery gradually making its way lighter in hue towards the center. An appliqué of the Orient logo in silver and red above the transfer printed text “ORIENT” in bold upper case and “Automatic” in cursive script on the next line adorns middle of the top half of the dial. And symmetrically below that is the text “Water Resistant” and “20 Bar” in two lines to visually balance the dial. The dial is a bit unusual for a dive style watch, as it shows the day of the week and date on two framed apertures in-board of the 3 o’clock position on the dial. Though, as we will explore in the Competitive Landscape section below, both of its domestic competitors offer the same feature. Perhaps the day of the week and date display is important in the Japanese market.
On the periphery of the dial, the minutes are marked with printed lines in white, punctuated at 5 minute intervals with squares. The hour markers are in-board of the minute markers, and are large dots for each hour, except for 6 and 9 which are rectangles and 12 displayed as a trapezoid. These are appliqué with a raised edge in a silver hue and in-filled with generous amount of a lume. The hour hand is in a stylized arrow head and the minute hand is lance shaped, both also in-filled with generous lume material which Orient calls Luminous Light. The seconds hand is a long slender number with an arrow head end which is also in-filled with Luminous Light. Both the regular lume on the indices and the Luminous Light on the hands are not distinguishable in our eyes in any light conditions. They both have a creamy hue in good light, reminiscent of a vintage patina, and a gorgeous bright green in the dark. Makes reading the time in the dark is breeze. In general, legibility is excellent under all lighting conditions, given the huge markers and large hands.
The Mako III features a screw down closed case back, which is emblazoned with an engraving of their twin dolphin logo, and other descriptive text. The movement used is their in-house caliber F6922, which is manufactured in their facilities in Shiojiri. Orient is part of the Epson group, and the same facilities are also used to manufacture Spring Drive and Quartz watches for Seiko and Grand Seiko. The same facilities also house the Micro Artist Studios as well as the vast manufacturing space for Epson’s printer products.
We did not open the case back to examine the movement, but from the Caliber Corner photograph shown below, the finishing is clearly at an engineering level, with no efforts given to embellish it in any way, other than the rotor which is engraved with verbiage and the caliber number together with the Orient logo. Examining the original photograph, which is larger, we can conclude that this movement looks well engineered and robust. The edges are cleanly cut and free from burrs and other debris.
Orient claims accuracy of the caliber F6922 movement to be within -15 second – +25 seconds per day. These ratings are based on the watch being at room temperature with the mainspring fully wound and the dial up position. It is interesting that unlike many other manufacturers who quote accuracy specifications in 4 to 6 positions and temperature, Orient is straightforward and honest in declaring a single dial position at a single temperature. In practice, this is not really a big consequence, as the watch stays mainly on the wrist, and probably reaches equilibrium temp with the skin, and the wrist acts like a 3 dimensional tourbillon, moving the balance in all positions throughout the course of the day. We further advice the watch to be kept in the dial up position on the night stand when not worn. And this is borne out in our testing, and in the two weeks we wore the watch, it kept adequately good time, better than the -15/+25s a day specification would suggest.
The competitive landscape
The Orient Mako III Kamasu occupies one of the most hotly competed landscapes in the industry. Every newcomer and old timer watch company targeting the budget market place below SGD 1k has an offering. We will not bother to list all comers, but perhaps focus on two of Orient’s country mates – Seiko and Citizen.
Comparison to Seiko is interesting as the two companies have cross holdings in a very complex arrangement. It has been explained to us several times by executives at Seiko, Epson and Orient, but the exact relationship escapes us. The only clarity we have is Orient (and their higher end offering Orient Star) is a fully owned subsidiary of Epson.
From the stables of Seiko, perhaps we may consider the Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1 which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Mako III. The two watches look very similar in aesthetics. It too have the similar bold, highly legible layout of the dial elements, including a day and date display.
The Seiko 5’s crown is at 4 o’clock, and offers a different style of bracelet, but also sports a dégradé style gradations on the dial. The Seiko 5 offers a display case back, but frankly the Cal. 4R36 is not much a looker in terms of decorative finishing, but fully meeting all requirements of a good engineering level. Depth rating is a lower 100m, and Seiko literature does no state if it is an ISO compliant diver watch. The SRPD671K1 retails for a similarly competitive SGD 474.
And from Citizen, we have our pick of the Fugu series. The latest is the Promaster NY013 Mechanical Diver 200m Fugu 4.0. Again, very similar aesthetics, seemingly to the three Japanese makers seem to sing from the same hymnal.
Bold dial layout with huge markers and hands. High legibility in the dark as well as in light. The uni-directional bezel is fitted on the case which features a more stylized crown at the 8 o’clock pisition, with the same styled engraved closed case back. The movement is the in-house Miyota 8204, finished to similar levels of good engineering practice. The Citizen NY0130-83E is a bit more pricey at SGD 674. The Fugu 4.0 is compliant with ISO 6425 standard for diving watches, and this perhaps justifies the higher price point.
This is a good, robust, sturdy dive style watch made for the masses. The pricing is highly attractive, and Orient retailers often offer good deals on top of the low retail price. The Orient Mako III the great looks, and the fact that it wears very well makes it a great choice for a casual watch. And we think an excellent choice as a daily beater watch ready for the streets.
The Orient Mako II Kamasu was photographed in our studio. Fujifilm GFX 50S II with Hasselblad HC 4/120 Makro and HC 2.8/80+H26 extension tube with H Adapter. Profoto strobes.
Orient Mako III Kamasu Dark Green Product Specifications
Movement: Automatic (with hand winding) mechanical inhouse caliber F6922 made in Japan
Power reserve 40 hours
Accuracy ＋25 seconds ～ －15 seconds per day
Case material: Stainless steel
Case size 41.8 mm / thickness 12.8 mm
Case back Dolphin icon
Glass Front: sapphire crystal
Strap: Stainless steel (SUS316L) / trifold deployant buckle with push button and security latch / width 22 mm
Colour of dial: Blue gradation
Water resistance 20 bar (not an ISO standard diver’s watch), second hands hacking, 22 jewels, Luminous Light on hands, regular luminescence on indices, uni-directional rotating bezel, day, date