Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

New Orient Star Avant-Garde Skeleton With 60 Hour Movement

An unexpected announcement from Orient today, as the brand
reveals a new Avant-Garde Skeleton model that features neither their familiar
F6 fifty-hour movement nor their modern seventy hour F8, seen on their flagship
skeleton – instead, having a new 60-hour F8 caliber.

The new model comes in two versions – one in raw stainless
steel that emphasizes its sharp, industrial styling, and the other with a
somewhat sportier black IP plating.

The black model, reference RE-BZ002B (RK-BZ002B in Japan)
comes on a rather fancy Cordura nylon strap with leather lining, and a matching
black plated deployant buckle. The stainless steel model ref. RE-BZ001S
(RK-BZ001S) is attached to a steel bracelet.

A third reference which will only be sold in Orient’s
Prestige Shops in Japan is RK-BZ003S, and it is in fact the same stainless
steel watch, sold with both the steel bracelet and the cordura strap.

The case of the new Avant-Garde Skeleton is slightly smaller
than the previous Avant-Garde
model – width is 42.3mm instead of 43.2, and thickness is 12.4mm instead of
13.7. It is longer though, at 50mm lug to lug, instead of 49.2.

The crystal is sapphire front and back, with the front
having Orient’s SAR coating. You get lumed hands and markers, and a 100m water
resistance. Lug width is 21mm.

The watch seems to boast pretty elaborate finishing – case polishing
(“Zaratsu” as Orient like to point out) features alternate brushing and mirror
polishing, and the skeletonized, layered dial likewise mixes matte and glossy metal
surfaces. The bracelet looks well made too, and even the movement finishing,
seen through the case-back, is quite nice.

Perhaps the most interesting part here is the movement. The
new caliber F8F64 is clearly a close relative of the 70-hour F8B6X. It features
the same blue silicon escapement wheel, and the same +15/-5 seconds per day
maximum difference, and a similar layout with small seconds at six o’clock and
the power reserve indication at twelve.

There are two big differences though, as the new movement
offers 60 hours of power reserve – ten fewer than the first F8 movement – and,
it is an automatic, whereas the previous one was hand-winding only.

In terms of pricing, the new model sits right between the
older Avant-Garde (which while actually not so old, seems to be discontinued
now) and the top of the line skeleton: while the old 50 hour model was in the 1,000
USD range, and the 70 hour skeleton is around 3,000 USD, the new watch is currently
around 1,600 USD.

Prices are crawling up, then, along with the technological progress.
Whether finishing is better than the outgoing model or not, remains to be seen
in person.