Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orient Star Chronograph Ref. WZ0031DS

Orient's automatic
starred in a dedicated post here on the blog, about
three months ago. The timing was not accidental, as while my interest in these
unique models was sparked years ago, there was this one special chronograph
that had arrived at my post office not long before. That was the baby-blue
reference WZ0031DS.

It all began one day when a friend who knew what sort of watches I was
hunting for sent me a link via messenger. The link was for a Yahoo Auctions
sale where one lovely sample of the aforementioned reference was being offered.
As the item description did not include a single word of English and the model
reference was actually not listed, it's no wonder it did not show up on my
periodic searches (and it's not clear how that friend came across it, but that's
a whole different story…)

The asking price, as expected, was fairly high, in fact it was about the
same as the watch when it was new. But I went for it, of course, because the
value of the time wasted repenting a lost opportunity is usually greater than
the cost of just going ahead and buying it. Bid won!

Fast forward through ordering, shipping and collecting at the post
office, the amazing piece arrived safely. Let's run through the basic facts
first: this belongs in the Clubman
Chronograph series produced in 2007, driven by a Seiko cal. 6S37 auto chrono
movement, dressed up as Orient cal. 32A00.

The stainless steel case is around 41mm wide and 49mm lug to lug. The
fixed bezel is 40mm wide, and the chubby case can be seen extending beyond it.
The case is close to 15mm thick, including nearly 2mm of spherical sapphire
over the dial. The exhibition case-back is also covered by sapphire crystal.

My WZ0031DS arrived attached to a very solid steel bracelet, taken from
either WZ0011DS or WZ0021DS (the white / black dial versions; the blue actually
came with a leather strap). This pushes the overall weight of the piece from
105g to nearly 180g. It's fairly hefty for its modest size then.

First impressions are, well, that this watch is very impressive! Its
color scheme is uncommon, and its overall looks are quite un-Orient-like. There
is something very Chopard-Mille-Miglia about it. It definitely gets everyone's attention
– or at least, everyone who is into watches.

It's not just in the design – there's very substantial quality here. It
is clear that Orient worked hard to ensure this timepiece is worthy of the
superb movement inside it. All the elements on the dial are just so crisp and
finely made.

Speaking of the movement – this specimen works well. Winding is easy, chrono
pusher operation is smooth, and accuracy is satisfactory: the watch gained on
average 5 seconds per day. Movement specs are +15/-10.

On the wrist, the watch feels hefty and very robust. I wonder what it
would be like on a strap – it definitely needs to be on thick, quality leather
if one is to complement the case properly. On this bracelet however it works
well. Like most Orient Star bracelets I've tried, this one is super solid,
chunky and comfortable. And I was glad to see that the watch definitely had an
easier life than the bracelet prior to being acquired by me: the bracelet is
well scratched but the case is very clean.

So – in summary – what can be said about this watch? This is not meant
to be a real "buyers' advice" sort of review because, let's face it,
finding one of these is going to be very challenging. But if you do find one –
you're going to get yourself one seriously good watch. Solid, reliable,
beautiful and well made, this is one of Orient's best ever pieces.

The blog would like to thank Ralph Hason, for the excellent
photography (where his name is stamped; some of the less professional photos
were taken by the author)