It’s always fun when a watch takes you by surprise. You know, when you’ve seen something in pictures, but it didn’t really click with you, then you see it in person and you get it. In the metal, as they say, the watch makes sense. Perhaps the detailing is better than expected, perhaps the size and weight just work for you, perhaps it has a subtle charm that can only be found when it’s on your wrist. This was the case for me and the Orient Producer.
Immediately, since it’s an Orient I know it’s going to be a great value and decently made, especially at the price for a mechanical. But, the look isn’t really one that I find inherently appealing. I’m not huge on rectangular watches (though the Orient Masquerade I had was very cool) or open-heart dials. While the design was fine, a handsome dress watch with hints of Art Deco, it just didn’t call out to me. But upon receiving it for review, the appeal was immediately clear.
It has a commanding presence with a strong, geometric design. It’s not opulent or extravagant, but it has enough texture and decorative detailing to be visually rich. The open heart dial doesn’t come across as cheesy, rather it emphasizes the watch’s mechanical nature. It’s an entry level business man’s watch that doesn’t sacrifice on taste. With an MSRP of $250, which comes to $175 after using a 30% coupon (enter wornandwound at checkout, which also gives you free shipping…and a free watch!) the Producer is also a winner in terms of value. Don’t forget, as always, this features one of Orient’s in-house Japanese made automatic movements, a claim few other brands can make.
Orient Producer Review
Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: Orient cal. 46A40
Lens: Curved Mineral
Water Res.: 50m
Dimensions: 35.5 x 45.5 mm
Thickness: 12.2 mm
Lug Width: 24 mm
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $250 ($175 after coupon)
Rectangular cases are an interesting breed, especially when it comes to dressier designs. They can allow the watch to get bigger without looking too big, as the length can span, but the width can stay a sensible size, likely under 40mm. Coming in at 35.5 x 45.5 x 12.2mm, the Producer is larger than a classic dress watch, but appropriately proportioned for something more business casual. The added size increases the watch’s masculinity, emphasizing some of the more harsh lines and angles.
You might be saying, 12.2mm is quite thick, and it is, but what you might not be able to immediately see is that the top of the watch and the crystal (mineral) curves from lug to lug, getting taller in the center. The ever changing shape and gentle slope makes the height less noticeable, and is a stunning feature that speaks to the underlying Art Deco flavor, channeling the Gruen Curvex. As do the stepped sides, an element found on many American watches from the early twentieth century.
This is a particularly cool decorative element, as it very effectively makes the watch more interesting and is utilized to also creating better finishing. From above, you have lines that cut down the side of the crystal, creating three tiers. The first two are brushed vertically on top and polished on the side. The third tier, which has a softer step, is polished on top and brushed on the side.The play of finishes is dramatic and beautiful.
The crown at three is a push-pull and simple in execution. It’s nothing special, but it’s not a detractor either. The case back is sort of a domed square, almost like it’s inflated from within, that snaps into place. There is not much in the way of decoration, though Orient rarely has much other than some etched text.
The dial of the producer has a fairly classic dress layout, speaking to mid-century designs that has a nice play of textures and, of course, a window to the movement. The surface is a greasy black that has a wide strip of texture running down the center. At a glance it looks to be just vertical lines, but closer up you can see that there is also some graining to it, giving it more depth.
The primary index consists of applied steel markers with beveled edges and lume squares. Since the dial is rectangular too, the lengths of the markers changes getting longer towards the corners. There is a second index of white lines for the individual minutes, each flaring out with the angle, that sit on top of a black rectangle that is very subtly different in texture than the main dial, making it a drop more pronounced.
From about 7:30 to just past 9 are two arcing windows edged is polished steel showing cal. 46A40 movement inside. It’s a 21-jewel automatic with a frequency of 21,600bph and a power reserve around 40hrs. This is their go to open-heart movement as the plates are skeletonized and polished for your viewing pleasure. Looking in, you can clearly make out part of the balance, the jewel and shock-absorption on top of the balance staff as well as having a great view of the escapement clicking away.
Often, I find open hearts unappealing as they are almost garish. Even at times looking like faux-tourbillons. Here, the partial view and shaped window really works. It plays with the Art Deco aesthetic, which always brings to mind architecture, streamline trains and automobiles. Seeing the machine inside feels like it’s part of that same story. And I can’t lie, watching the escapement is simply a lot of fun.
The hour and minute hands are wide dauphine style with lume filling and polished edges. The shape looks right on the dial as it’s bold and masculine, but fittingly vintage, but I could have done without the lume filling. I get that they are trying to add functionality, but it looks a bit out of place. The seconds hand is a thin stick.
Straps and Wearability
The Producer comes mounted to a 24mm black faux-croc that tapers slightly. It’s a thick, stiff strap that has a quality feel to it. The croc texture combined with the slightly glossy sheen is a bit plasticky, but it does work with the watch in concept. At first, I thought the strap would be too wide, but it flows with the lines of the case, so it looks correct. It also adds to the overall masculinity of the watch in a nice way. It would be great to have a milanese bracelet option for this as well.
On the wrist, the Producer wears well. It’s actually just about a perfect size for a rectangular watch to have some modern presence. It doesn’t look or feel too big, but it has a strong appearance. Despite having dress leanings, there is something rugged about it, the stepped case having an almost armor-like feel. That said, it’s kind of a perfect office watch in that it rides that line. Put this on with a white oxford and a grey blazer and your good to go. After work, roll up your sleeves and enjoy some drinks.
So, like I said, I was surprised by the Orient Producer. It’s appeal isn’t obvious in photos, at least for me, but in person, it’s kind of great. The case is well finished and intriguing, having some unexpectedly manly elements. The dial is well executed with some nice texture and a window that adds some machine-age appeal. And it’s simply nice to wear, fitting well and looking good.
For $175 bucks with coupon code “wornandwound”… yeah, $175… with a Japanese made automatic movement, the Producer offers a lot of style for the buck. Since the case is rectangular and the aesthetic is a bit different from most of what’s out there, I think this is an easy watch to find a place for in a collection. If you’re looking for a good watch to wear to work or are just intrigued by the shape, this is one to consider.