Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orient Star Ref. WZ0221ER

Blog readers will have noticed by now that after covering a topic in general,
I like to give a concrete example. So – having recently discussed Cushion
Cased watches
– today we'll turn the spotlight onto a very striking
example of such a watch, the Orient Star ref. WZ0221ER.

This model was released in the early-mid 2000s, most likely 2004 (though
it is hard to date more precisely). It was sold as a limited – but not numbered
– edition, available only from select Orient dealers in Japan, similar to
today's "Prestige Shop" releases.

Some sportier variations on the theme, using the same case but equipped
with a steel bracelet and featuring a 12-3-6-9 dial, were also sold at the time
– see references WZ0141ER, WZ0151ER, and WZ0161ER, having a black, white, and a
kind of pearl-champagne dial, respectively.

This piece, however, was decidedly dressy. With its classically
implemented Arabic numerals and Breguet hands, standing out against the silvery
dial, it has a unique style that is both classy and minimalist. Coupled with
the black leather strap, this watch is the ultimate dress watch for people who
do not mandate that their dress watch has a round case.

Focus more closely on the dial, and its intricate nature is revealed.
It's not a simple sunburst silver. The texture is so fine that in certain
conditions, it takes on a milky character. When the light is more direct,
though, the dial appears more like silver, and the sunburst effect is more

There is another cool effect produced by clever design choices made by
Orient. The Second hand is silver and often blends with the background,
offering an uncluttered dress-watch-like view of the time. Yet with a slight
tilting of one's wrist, it shines back into sight, for when more accurate
timing is needed.

Interestingly, the Orient Star logo used on the dial and case back is
the more elaborate variation. Orient more frequently uses the simpler,
thin-line version of its logo, and it's not simply a matter of one being newer
or older – you can see Orient switching between the versions back and forth
over time, sometimes even having the same model change logo during its

While Orient also used this elaborate logo in sporty watches, it
definitely looks good in this dressy piece – and it further sets it apart from
the aforementioned sportier references, which used the more common thin-line

Inside the watch resides Orient's automatic caliber 487 with its 21
jewels and 40 hours of power reserve. It does not hack or hand-wind, but it
does have a buttery smooth and perfectly quiet action.

Not all iterations of cal. 487 are equal. In this 48787 variant, the
rotor is nicely decorated, and the OS logo is golden. The movement bridges here
also have a pearlage application.

On the wrist, this Orient Star wears like a boss – as expected. It is
38mm wide without the crown, and 45mm long lug to lug, a great size for a
modern dress watch. It's a little over 13mm thick including the domed mineral
crystal. However, as discussed on that Cushion Cases blog post, the case design
creates an appearance of a much slimmer piece.

Okay, so you say, "I'm convinced, I wanna have it." Not so
fast! This is one tricky piece to find. Most JDM Orient Star of the early 2000s
are hard to come by. And this, being limited distribution, is even harder.
However, I know of at least one person who was able to buy a WZ0221ER recently
(after I got mine about a year ago), so it is not impossible.

What would be a good price to pay for this model, should you locate one?
Again, it's hard to say. I got mine for around 400 USD, almost NOS and tag
still on. It felt like a fair bargain, given the quality and rarity of the
watch. Still, the nature of rare Orients on sale is such that you might find
one in excellent condition selling for 250 USD, or one that is scratched
through and through with an asking price of 800…