Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orient's Automatic Chronographs

Orient are well known for their automatic watches, and they
also offer a nice range of quartz and solar chronographs. However, they are not
the first manufacturer that comes to mind when one thinks of automatic chronographs.

Yet on a few rare occasions, Orient did engage in production of
automatic chronographs, under the Orient Star badge – and those weren't half
bad. In fact, they were pretty good! Not least because of the beating heart
inside of them: Seiko's caliber 6S.

Seiko's caliber 6S

Seiko had been producing chronographs since the 1960s. When they
introduced the caliber 6S chronograph movement in 1998, they had a lot of
experience which was put to good use in the design; they also had very high
aspirations as far as aiming for top quality, as 6S shared much of its
engineering with the Grand Seiko 9S family of calibers, developed at the same

To make a long story short, that was a great success. The 6S proved to
be a fantastic movement, so much so that Seiko ended up selling its design to
Tag Heuer who used it as the basis for their caliber 1887. Until Seiko retired
the caliber 6S from its own production lines it was used to drive some very fancy
watches, like the Flightmaster (SBDS001) and a number of high-end Credor

And it was this superb movement that Orient chose to build their auto
chronographs with.

Orient DS Chronographs

The DS line of chronographs was released in 2007, as the "Clubman
Chronograph" – following up on a previously released line of
"Clubman" orients (don't worry, we will post an article covering the
whole "Clubman" line, in the not-so-distant future…). It made use of
the caliber 6S37 – a variant of the 6S that featured a power reserve gauge.

Three models were introduced: the black dialed ref. WZ0011DS, white
dialed ref. WZ0021DS, and the properly funky baby-blue WZ0031DS. The WZ0031DS,
by the way, is amazing (!!!) and we will honor it with a full review, one day.

The Clubman chronographs were fairly expensive as far as Orients go
(close to 3,000 USD), and their production was probably limited – while they
are not officially a limited (numbered) series, their current scarcity alone indicates
the low volume of production.

Orient DY Chronographs

A few years passed and in 2012 – shortly before production of the 6S
ceased altogether – Orient introduced another line of chronographs. This time,
another variant was utilized, caliber 6S28, which did not feature a power
reserve indicator (however it boasted the same roughly 50 hours of running time
as the 6S37).

This time round, only two versions were introduced - the black dialed
ref. WZ0011DY, and the white dialed ref. WZ0021DY.

Interestingly, while the price of these was considerably lower in
Japanese Yen compared to the DS line, for most of the world this was not felt:
that's because the Yen was much stronger in 2012. Possibly, Orient used the
simpler variant of the 6S to keep the price down, at least in their local currency.

And then what…?

Then, there were no more. The short-lived DS and DY lines were the only
automatic chronographs produced by Orient to date. Which is a shame, as they
were truly excellent watches: made to Orient Star's very demanding standards, and
driven by one of the best chronograph movements. In fact, most experts would
agree these were superior to the current Seiko chronograph caliber 8R.

finding a pre-owned Orient auto chrono today is challenging. They pop up once
in a while, and sellers ask for considerable prices – a mint DY can cost more
than 2,000 USD, while a mint DS could get higher, and even close to their price
when new.

Still, if you like Orient and are into chronographs, these make a fairly
interesting proposition: costing about the same as similar spec and age Tag
Heuers and Credors, with the DS / DY chronographs you're getting something rarer
and, a proper conversation piece.

Photos taken from original Orient catalogs and press releases.