Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle Watch

Orient's "Retro-Future" family of models was the subject of
not one but two stories I posted here not long ago: an overview
article, and a list
of references
. This owes to the great interest these watches draw
among Orient collectors, partly due to their peculiar but mostly attractive
designs, and partly as they're just so many of them, so you're always likely to
come across a nice one that you haven't seen before, up for sale.

It should therefore come as no surprise that shortly after posting those
stories I came across a good looking Orient Star Retro-Future Bicycle – the
very first reference WZ0011DK – and obviously, had to get it. And here it is!

Looking at this watch, you can notice both the distinctive,
bicycle-themed design elements of the model, and some more unique,
reference-specific aspects.

As mentioned in the overview article, the design of this model features a
number of nods to bicycle components: the unique tube-like lugs, the bracelet that
is reminiscent of bike chains, the dial cut-out resembling the wheel and the
seat and chain stays, and other bits and pieces that look like bike parts.

One such piece is the unusual cogwheel, shaped possibly like the chain
ring or sprocket (or any other toothed-wheel element in a bicycle, of which
there are many!), which functions as a second "hand". A red line is
painted on it to show the time, but it has no specific direction… well, it's too
small to see anyway. This watch is not intended for people who need to know the
exact time.

Other than that, the watch is actually pretty legible, at least
considering it has a mostly skeletonized dial. If you just want to know the
hour and minute, you're good. Even in low light, the lume is more than decent.

Another thing typical of this Retro Future model is the lefty crown position.
Presumably, it makes wearing it with cycling gloves easier. It does feel a
little strange at first, when winding the watch and setting the time. Once
worn, however, it really makes no difference.

On the wrist this watch is incredibly comfortable. It's not small – 42mm
wide, without the crown, some 56mm lug tip to lug tip, and 13mm thick. However, the
secret sauce here is the unique lug structure. The lugs slope down sharply,
making this model wear more like a 50mm lug-to-lug watch.

Another element contributing to comfort is the bracelet – and I believe
this is particularly true of the rubber and steel version attached to this
reference (as well as to WZ0081DK and WZ0091DK). The hardened rubber links feel
very light – lighter than steel, and at the same time offer more
"breathing space" than regular rubber bands. The unique design and
comfort make the bracelet a real standout feature of this watch.

The yellow color, specific to this reference, adds much sportiness to
the watch. Other versions of the Bicycle have their unique flavors, but the
color scheme here is definitely my favorite – along with the matching yellow
stripe around the case.

All in all, this is an Orient through and through, with its quirky looks
and numerous little details that create a very enjoyable wearing experience.
It's well made, and while not every bit here shouts out "Orient Star
Quality" (no Zaratsu polishing here, mates!) it is by no means a cheap
looking piece.

This takes us to the question of prices. You can find Orient Star
Bicycle watches on eBay anywhere between USD 300-800, but dig a little into
Japanese online shops, and you can get your hands on one for less than $200.

These are not super-rare watches; however, note that many used ones come
with a shortened bracelet and may miss some links. You can get any 20mm
aftermarket strap, but it would be a shame to miss on the unique original one.
So it's worth waiting a little (or spending a little more) to buy one with the
full bracelet, or at least having enough links for your own use.