Orient Mako USA Review

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When it comes to affordable automatic watches, few brands offer the same bang-for-your-buck value as Orient. Like Seiko’s more affordable automatics, Orient watches are often touted by the collecting community as a great way to get your feet wet with automatics before spending a larger chunk of change on pricier mechanical timepieces. That said, Orient watches are great in their own right, and their MSRP (or rather, their street price) often belies the true value of these great timekeepers. Having owned a few myself when I first began collecting watches, I can attest to their quality (In fact, I still regret flipping the 60th anniversary hand-cranker Orient released a few years back).

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The Mako has been Orient’s flagship dive watch for a long time now, and it’s often a watch recommended alongside the iconic Seiko SKX007 diver. The watch’s popularity is undeniable, and in the eleven years since it was first introduced Orient has released numerous color ways and even created two spinoff models, the Ray and the Mako XL. The Mako USA is the next iteration of that theme, and it’s unique in that the model was largely designed with input from the online watch community. The design is new but familiar, and the build quality is a step up from previous models with the inclusion of a sapphire crystal, solid end links, and drilled lugs. It’s certainly a higher-end addition to the brand’s entry-level catalogue, but is it worth your hard-earned cash? Let’s take a closer look.

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$225

Orient Mako USA Review

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Orient Cal. 46943
Dial
Black
Lume
Nemoto LumiNova
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Bracelet
Water Resistance
200m
Dimensions
41.5 X 47mm
Thickness
13mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
6
Warranty
1 Year
Price
$225

Case

The Mako USA shares a case with the classic Mako, which comes in at 41.5mm wide and 13mm thick, and with a lug-to-lug height of nearly 47mm. It features a brushed top surface and polished sides as well as a polished crown and pusher. The signed screw-down crown at 3 o’clock is flanked by a set of crown guards. The crown adjusts the time (position 3) and date (position 2), but the secondary pusher at 2 o’clock–also screw-down to maintain the 200m-depth rating–configures the day. Overall, it is a well-executed case with the right proportions for a modern diver that should look at home on a number of different wrists.

Now on to some of the differences. The Mako USA is upgraded with a 120-click unidirectional bezel and a new insert. The bezel is by far the biggest improvement on the new model, with the older version (60-click and unidirectional) being notoriously stiff and difficult to operate. The new bezel is much easier to use and has absolutely no back play. The bezel alone makes the Mako USA feel like a much more expensive watch. The insert itself is also a significant improvement on the original, which felt a bit bland with its diminutive markers. Here we have a much bolder and aggressive font that gives the watch a decidedly sportier feel.

Sitting atop of the case is a flat sapphire crystal. Unfortunately, there is no AR on the glass, which means that the crystal is a bit of a reflection magnet. This poses less of a problem on lighter-dialed variants, but on the black-dialed model it can be quite annoying. The crystal also does not sit flush with the bezel, leaving a noticeable gap between the two parts. It’s not aesthetically disruptive, but it’s one of those small details that nags at you once you notice it. That said, it is more scratch resistant thanks to the sapphire’s hardness.

And then there are the drilled lugs. This is a detail I often welcome with open arms, but I was disappointed with the execution here for the simple fact that the gauge of the holes appears to be too small to accommodate most spring bar tools, including our very own worn&wound tool. In fact, of the four different tools I had at my disposal, only one was small enough to be effective. Again, this isn’t really a issue in the scheme of the overall watch, but it is the first time that I’ve encountered such a problem with drilled lugs.

Dial and Hands

This is where we find the most obvious differences from the classic MAKO series. The Mako USA dial borrows elements from a number of other Orient divers, among them the Ray and the Mako XL. Gone are the Arabic numerals of the original, replaced entirely by large indices similar to those on the Mako XL. This gives the dial a much bolder and more streamlined look with greater legibility. There is also a new handset, with an arrow-styled hours hand, a large sword minutes hand, and a red-tipped seconds hand lifted directly from the Ray. The handset is ideally paired to the dial both in terms of harmony of design (the bolder look of the dial and hands matches well to the new bezel design) and overall utility. Topping off the dial are the Orient logo and crest under the 12 o’clock marker, and “water resist” and “200m” above the 6 o’clock marker.

At 3 o’clock is the day/date indicator with black text against a white background. The elongated aperture does mess with the symmetry of the dial, just as it does with the original, but it doesn’t feel as tacked on as it often does with other watches. That said, the day and date wheels are strangely crude with some obvious alignment and kerning issues. The most flagrant example of the latter is “FRI,” where the letters sit right against the borders of the window with large spaces between each letter. It’s visually awkward and seemingly unique to this model, as the classic Mako did not have this problem. Again, at this price point it’s not really a deal breaker, but it does feel like a strange omission one might find from a smaller less renowned brand and not a company as large and experienced as Orient.

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For the lume, Orient decided to go with an upgrade over the original Mako which many deemed lacking in that nighttime visibility department. The Mako USA uses Nemoto LumiNova, phosphorescent pigments that were first developed by Nemoto & Co in 1993. (The formulation was eventually adapted by the Swiss and sold under the Super-LumiNova brand.) As one might expect, the lume on the Mako USA does not disappoint, glowing green throughout the night with only a slight green tint in daylight.

There are three dial colors available under the Mako USA collection: black (Ref. FEM6500FB9) featured here, blue (Ref. FEM6500HD9), and white (Ref. FEM6500GW9). The black dial is a sort of classic matte black, and the blue dial has a metallic shimmer just like original Mako. The white dial is a unique addition under the classic Mako banner, and it is in my view the most interesting of the three. The stark white of the dial contrasts beautifully with the black bezel and hands, giving the watch a visual pop that the two more classic variants do not have.

Movement

The powerplant ticking away inside the Mako USA is the Orient Cal. 46943. It’s an older movement (used since the 1970s) manufactured in-house by Orient and based on a number of older Seiko movements, primarily the Cal. 7006. (FYI, Orient is a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation.)  Today, the 46943 is Orient’s workhorse movement and is found in a number watches in their current lineup, including the classic Mako. In general, the 469xx series is the base for a number of other Orient calibers, including ones with added complications like a GMT function and power reserve indicator. It features 21 jewels, a 40-hour power reserve, and a beat rate of 21,600 bph. There is no hacking or handwinding, but the movement has a highly efficient bi-directional winding system.

Straps and Wearability

One of the biggest changes brought in by the USA line is the new bracelet with solid end links. It’s something Mako fans have been clamoring for for quite a while now, as the bracelet on the classic Mako felt a bit cheap and insecure with the hollow end links. Other than the end links, the untapered 22mm bracelet is identical to that of classic Mako, featuring a fine-brushed finish and a branded fold-over clasp. Though the solid end links are certainly an improvement over the older hollow ones, they aren’t perfectly matched to the case. The end links sit a bit lower than the full height of case, and while everything feels secure, it does look a bit odd at certain angles.

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Being a dive a watch, the Mako USA would look right at home on a number of different nylon bands. For desk divers, a leather band wouldn’t be out of place either. Here we paired the Mako with our rustic Model 2 in Natural Chromexcel for a decidedly more casual look. A classic leather strap would go a long way in dressing up the piece, which can be worn with a suit as easily as a tee shirt and jeans.

Conclusion

The Orient Mako USA edition is an excellent new entry into the affordable diver market, boasting a number of great updates over the classic series that make it a worthy contender in a pool already brim with some tough competition. Orient Watch USA is famous (or perhaps infamous) for floating discount codes, which often knock down the prices of their watches anywhere between 30% and 50%. No such code exists for the Mako USA line, so the MSRP of $225 is the price you pay for the watch. That being the case, the Mako USA is priced higher than most of their other divers, but it makes complete sense when you consider the upgraded features which more than make up for the difference. Are there some nitpicks with the watch? Sure, there are definitely a few things that I would love to change. But as things stand, none of them are deal breakers (not for me, at least). The USA also doesn’t feel like a retread of an old design, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about doubling up if you already own a classic Mako.

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It should be noted that the Mako USA is strictly a website only special and will not be sold in any retail stores, so it’s only available to American customers.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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37 responses to “Orient Mako USA Review”

  1. silkhead says:

    add a Nato and leather strap and it’s very versatile…a great first watch

  2. GoHockey says:

    Upgrade it to a ceramic or sapphire bezel and I would have them in every color.

    • James Riley says:

      Upgrade the case to 18k gold and keep the price the same and I would be all over it as well.

      • Simon B says:

        Put a tourbillon, a 1000m water resistance and I call it a deal.

        • Никита says:

          No perpetual calendar – no dive.

        • Bill_N says:

          Why not throw in a minute-repeater, equation of time, perpetual calendar, moon phase dial, and a power reserve indicator too while you’re at it?

  3. Bruce says:

    Between the Mako and the SKX007, I had to choose the Seiko. Now between the Mako USA and the SKX007, without a doubt I’d take the Mako USA. Great review Ilya!

  4. Nice review! Good value for the money, with the upgrades they’ve made.

    BTW – no more single page view for the reviews? The new paginated review format is cumbersome and inconvenient, unfortunately.

  5. G-Man says:

    The Orient Mako and the Seiko SXK007 (also reviewed on WNW) have about the same street price, a similar movement (self-wind, no hacking or handwinding, day-date complication), and nearly the same case size. The difference is, the Seiko is an ISO-certified diver, whereas the Mako – in Orient’s own words – is “appropriate for skin diving only.” So why does the Mako cost as much as the SKX007?

    • James Riley says:

      It looks like Orient probably put their money towards SEL and a sapphire crystal, instead of spending the money to get it ISO certified. For most people the Orient will be just fine. I don’t do any actual diving myself, but still prefer the SKX for both styling and because I think it is probably a little more robust than the Orient.

  6. JC says:

    Nice job on this review. Always really appreciate how you guys don’t sugar-coat anything and you give the “good” with the “not-so-good”. Really appreciate your approach… Nobody else is going to mention the lug issue. They would just lazily cut & paste “drilled lugs” and leave it at that. So, thanks. Some photos of the blue & white models would have been helpful (although you did provide a link)… as would have been some of the other Orient watches that you referred to for comparison-sake… But you did provide a ton of pics, and by not showing photos of the blue & white versions you did drive me to Orient’s site to see why you preferred the white, so I guess mission accomplished. Aside… FWIW, I the comments about the single-page view are spot-on. Anyway, nice watch & nice review…

  7. René VooDoo Wendtland says:

    Super nice watch, there is not one Orient in my collection, yet!

  8. Surfrider says:

    Why day/date on a diver at all? Take away the day & button and it would make more sense. Good addition with the drilled lugs, although it’s a little odd they made them so small.

  9. Lawrence Hernandez says:

    Great write up! I bought the Mako USA in blue and love it. I had a Mako XL a while back but sold it due to the size. I agree, the stainless steel bracelet is of very good quality. I have a Steinhart Ocean One and I’d say the bracelet on the Mako is on par. I do have a few knocks, though. First, the edges on the bezel are not great, meaning they don’t have that crisp chiseled feel/look to them. Also, the edges are polished, which together with the dull ridges makes for a kind of cheap looking bezel. Don’t get me wrong though, the blue hue is very nice and well done. Secondly, I echo the article in that the sapphire glass should rise above the bezel and not sit slightly beneath it. This really makes no sense to me. When I got wind Orient was going to come out with the USA, I had hopes they would go the traditional route and get rid of the extra crown and day function. I think date would do just fine. But the more I wear it, the less it bothers me, and I think it does a good job of differentiating it from most divers. All in all, for the price, it’s hard to beat.

  10. Rob says:

    I wouldn’t consider myself a collector, but I have a few watches. I ordered and received the Mako USA (black dial) but unfortunately the date crown was already broken (would get stuck in and out). Customer service has been so-so and they wanted me to pay to ship it back to them in order to wait 1-2 months to fix it! I had to complain a bit to get them to agree to pay for the shipping back and replace it with a new one (which I haven’t received). I certainly question the quality if it was inoperable upon initial delivery. Nonetheless, a great looking watch which is why I am exchanging it as opposed to just returning it.

  11. Roger says:

    I bought 2 on black Friday. One for me and one for my dad. Now I ordered it to a us PO box for puckup because I am canadian and we can not get orders shipped to Canada through orient website. Was happy for about 24 hr before my black Mako USA stopped working. The gears inside got jammed. What a piece of crap. I was so mad that I through it from my balcony. So discussed with the orient company and orient quality. Instead of going through the Hassel of dealing with a crummy company like Orient I will now have no choice to bash this company and their quality on as many forums and blogs as I can. In my opinion don’t buy orient. Sorry about being so negative but just thought I should give you the most honest review possible. Never will buy another orient again.

    • 200 Fathoms says:

      Uh, why didn’t you return it?

    • schr0dinger says:

      Wow! Something similar happened to me. I bought a brand new Toyota. 24 hours later it wouldn’t start. I got so mad that I used my wife’s car to tow it off a cliff. I should probably just returned it, but hey! If I get mad, I get mad..

    • Azri Shahmi Azhari says:

      There’s a difference between giving a bad review and being a hot-headed snob. Especially the fact that you threw it out the balcony, not ever thought of returning, and bashing on the company on all websites just because of this one petty complaint. I just hope that you’re joking about bashing on every forum and blogs because if you are still doing that, you are practically just a child.

      Give unbiased reviews but don’t bash on a brand just because something small happen to you as there are other products that the brand -or any brand- may offer in their product line.

      • roger says:

        It didn’t happen to you. It happened to me. If you weed through the bullshit you will understand that they sent me a faulty product. Zero quality controlle. If you can’t understand that then there is not much more for me to say to you. I wrote true facts as to what happened. Just the truth. Crappy company. Crappy quality controlle. DO NOT BUY THIS BRAND!!! ORIENT WATCH BRAND = ZERO QUALITY CONTROLLE. Thanks for giving g me another Avenue to voice my opinion.

      • Roger says:

        Thanks for giving me another avenue to channel my dislike for this unreliable company Orient Watch Company. So what your saying Azri is that it’s ok that Orient watch company has no quality controlle, that it’s ok that Orient watch company takes my hard earned money and provides me with a watch that doesn’t work like advertised, and your saying it’s ok for Orient watch company to send you a watch that doesn’t even last 24 hours. AZRI Maybe when you finally move out of your parents bacement and learn the worth of a dollar. Until then…

        • Azri Shahmi Azhari says:

          Didn’t want to reply as you miraculously managed to misspell “quality control” where “controlle” is physically not possible to be a typo on keyboard nor mobile.

          However, you said that you bought 2. One for yourself and another for your dad. Is your dad’s Mako honestly still working or is it jammed like how yours did?

          • Roger says:

            Control controlle…. they you go again Azri. His watch is 5 min fast every 2 weeks. I have replaced his watch with a steinhart ocean vintage military. Now that is a good watch. Let me guess… your ok with a watch that is 5 min fast too.

          • Azri Shahmi Azhari says:

            Alright, I’ll stop with the insults. Anyway I did some research and I found this article which says:

            “I have tested 3 Makos and the accuracy ranges: -7 sec/day, -2 sec/day, +0.5 sec/day. All of these are from the factory accuracy, without regulation at all. They are good numbers, except I would like to see the -7 sec/day be a bit better. However, -2 and +0.5 are incredible for this class of watch.”
            Source: http://rosswatchreview.com/2010/08/11/orient-mako-black/

            So yeah their movements might not be the most accurate. On the other hand, for a watch under 200 dollars, I personally don’t mind having a small inaccuracy in my watches. Also, maybe you had one that was faulty from shipping. However, the Steinhart you got is much more expensive. To me, I don’t mind sticking with the Mako, but maybe your needs are different than mine.

            If you bought the Steinhart with your own hard-earned cash for your dad, then I do have to say that you love your dad and wants the best for him. After throwing your Mako, did you get another watch?

          • Roger says:

            Steinhart ocean 500 titanium!!!.

          • Azri Shahmi Azhari says:

            Nice! But where I live there aren’t any Steinhart retail stores, so gotta import them making Steinhart extremely expensive for me…

          • Roger says:

            The ocean 500 was a expensive and probably overkill, but I’m not going to Lie that steinhart ocean vintage military fo my dad was worth every penny. I kind of wish I had bought that one for myself. The ocean 500 is awesome but there is something about that OVM that is over the top awesome. Have both the orient and steinhart in my hands I can see and feel the difference. Double the price but ten folds better.

          • Azri Shahmi Azhari says:

            I’ll keep that in mind.

  12. Bill_N says:

    Okay write-up, BUT…..
    One questions why you would wax glowingly about the better luminescence and the beauty of the white dial, and not make available as much as one photo to illustrate the issue? All the photos are the black dial model. You force your reader to now go to a different site to see what the white-dial version looks like, now that you’ve piqued his interest.

    Thanks for nothing!

  13. 200 Fathoms says:

    Cannot STAND the script typeface on the dial. Just doesn’t make sense.

  14. moviefan says:

    Long Island Watch has the black for 159, blue and white for 169, FYI. I picked up the black one. I was going back and forth between this and the Seiko 007 and various other Seikos. I’ve owned (and still own) Seiko, but for some reason their diver faces are just too deep and recessed for me. I don’t do any diving whatsoever; I just like the look of them. This Orient looks the best of the bunch I’ve been researching.

    Their customer service sucks though. I’m still trying to get in touch with them to have a bad black leather strap replaced on my Symphony.

    • Bert Kanne says:

      Also bought my (blue) Mako USA from Island for $169. The watch is fantastic for the money. I wouldn’t mind a model above it with anti reflective crystal, hacking movement, power reserve indicator, ceramic bezel with the same outstanding lume and a 300 meter depth rating for no reason!

  15. GreenFlight96 says:

    What type of leather band is pictured?

  16. Adam says:

    Really decent review, as always. My Orient Black Ray came straight off the bracelet and on to a black Nato strap. http://www.bezelous.com/orient-mako-review/

  17. Dex says:

    Now this is collectable item. No more Mako USA available for sale. With only +/- 2000 watches sold worldwide,that will make a real challenge and wallet damage to get one …