Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orients From Mars

Among the various model and sub-branding names used by Orient throughout
the years, "Mars Orient" was among the shortest lived. It was
introduced in 1957, and its production ended in 1958. And yet, during its short
life, it shone bright.

The Mars Orient was produced in a number of versions, differing in
materials and design, but most significantly – the movement. Only two little
stones separated 19 jewel models from 21 jewel models, but this was enough to
position them almost like two different watches, the latter costing almost
twice as much as the first.

All Mars Orients utilized the Type T caliber, and were among the last
models to use this movement. Only the Women's Orient Star Dynamic and the Para
, which relied on the smaller diameter of the aging movement, kept
using it till the end of the 1950s.

The more basic 19j Mars models were generally priced around 4,500 – 6,000
JPY, which at the time was about the same as top-of-the-line Orient Star
Dynamic (which came before it) and 19 jewel Royal
(which followed in 1958).

These Mars Orients came in a number of variations: there would be either
Stainless Steel or Gold-Filled, and either with – or, more rarely, without an Anti-Shock
mechanism. Dials designs differed too, and even the branding was not identical
in all products, as some featured the Orient
logo while others did not.

Higher upscale were the 21j Mars Orients. These were less common, and
fewer versions were made, all equipped with Anti-Shock devices. The basic model
was priced around 9,000 JPY, more than the most expensive Royal Orient back
then. A more elaborate version, featuring the Orient Star logo and a uniquely
textured dial, cost 9,770 JPY – remaining the most expensive Orient for years
to come, until the 1961 launch of the Grand Prix.

So what was so special about these that made them such expensive
watches? While the movement was essentially the same old T-type with two more
rubies, these got "5 Adjust" marked on them, meaning their accuracy
was regulated for five different positions. Finishing was probably the best
that Orient could produce at the time.

Still, the actual difference between, say, a 19 jewel anti-shock-equipped
gold filled Mars Orient and a 21 jewel one, appears to be less dramatic than
pricing would suggest; and certainly, asking price for a vintage Mars nowadays
would depend more on the condition of the item than on the movement version.

that appear on this post were taken from various sale ads and the 1999 Orient
Watch Catalog book.