The Orient Bambino is generally regarded as one of the best affordable automatic dress watches currently on the market..
Its elegant charm and modern execution are rare to find at this price point. The movement inside is made by Orient themselves, again rare in entry level watches.
Orient is a brand owned by Seiko, both of which are known for making high quality and reliable watches, so you know you’re getting something of quality.
All that said, the Orient Bambino isn’t without flaw, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
I present to you, 5 reasons why you SHOULDN’T buy the Orient Bambino.
1. Doesn’t Fit Your Wardrobe or Lifestyle
I think many watch enthusiasts fall into the trap of thinking you need to own a watch of every style to ‘fill out’ their collection.
But if that watch isn’t going to get any wrist time, what’s the point? Let me explain.
The Orient Bambino is a very beautiful piece, but is also extremely dressy. It’s a watch that pairs amazingly well with business casual attire, or especially a suit.
But it doesn’t lend itself very well to more casual attire, such as jeans and a t-shirt.
So if you’re someone who doesn’t ever wear business casual or more formal clothes, it’s likely you’re not going to get a chance to wear the Bambino as much as you’d think.
On the other hand, however, if you are someone who rarely ever ‘dresses up’ and only needs a dress watch once in a while, you can also look at it as such the Bambino is the perfect dress watch for you, because of its affordability.
It’s a great ‘once in a while’ piece.
But before pulling the trigger, you should consider if you’re buying this as a watch to fill a gap in the rotation of watches you’d wear, or if you’re just looking to fill up another slot in your watch box.
2. Too Large
There are 4 variations of the Orient Bambino, V1, V2, V3 and V4.
Orient Bambino V1, 2 and 3 all maintain the same dimensions – 40.5mm in diameter, while the V4 has a diameter of 42mm.
Combined with the domed acrylic crystal that gives the watch a total thickness of 12mm, that’s rather large for a ‘dress watch’.
Sure, some variations, like the Bambino V2 have a smaller face on the dial that helps the watch to appear smaller than it actually is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still relatively large, for a dress watch.
Now, don’t get me wrong, larger watches are ‘in’ right now. So if that’s your thing, go for it. And if you have larger than average wrists, you can ignore this altogether as it’ll probably fit just right for you, anyway.
But for me at least, I prefer my dress watches a little smaller and sleeker. 38mm is my sweet spot for my 7 inch wrists, but of course, everyone’s taste is different.
The lug widths are also larger than average for a dress watch.
3. Odd Lug Widths
Not sure why, but Orient loves putting oddly sized lug widths on their watches.
The Orient Bambino V1, V2 and V3 all have lug widths of 21mm, while the Bambino V4 has a lug width of 22mm.
The lug width determines what size strap you need for your watch and are typically seen at even intervals such as 18, 20, 22 and 24mm.
Because the 21mm lug width on Bambino V1, V2 and V3 is so unusual, it can be hard to find quality replacement straps for them.
PRO TIP: You can take a 22mm leather or perlon strap and squeeze it gently into the 21mm lugs as 21mm straps are much easier to find. While it won’t be a perfect fit, it’ll be just a tad snug, and not at all noticeable to anybody except yourself.
Like the watch itself, the lug width and larger straps are larger than average for a dress watch.
Again, this just comes down to personal preference, but I find the sweet spot for the strap of a dress watch to be 20mm or 18mm on some smaller, vintage pieces.
4. Scratch Magnet Mineral Crystal
The mineral crystal on the Bambino is admittedly very attractive. It adds depth and a bit of distortion to the watch which makes it more interesting of a piece, at least for me.
But it has a few flaws.
It’s tall. It’s intended to be as such, and aesthetically, It’s a great design choice. But functionally, not so much.
See, the crystal is mineral. A material that shows crystals very easily. Combine that with the thickness of the crystal and how it protrudes out of the case, you’re going to accidentally bump the crystal on many doorknobs, car doors and etc. if I had to guess.
This is going to scratch up the crystal and is not the prettiest sight, for a dress watch.
They can be easily buffed out with the help of some Polywatch or even certain kinds of toothpaste, and a lot of patience, but it’s kind of a pain.
5. The Orient Bambino Ladies is Better
What if I told you that the watch better than an Orient Bambino is… An Orient Bambino?
The Orient Bambino Ladies is a women’s watch with mostly all of the same specs and design cues as the original Bambino for men. It has an Orient F6222 in-house movement, a classy and elegant design, and the same scratch magnet mineral crystal.
But it has much better proportions, even for men.
It has a 36mm diameter and is the PERFECT size for a classy dress watch, in my opinion.
It also has a 19mm lug width, which is still an odd and unusual size, but also smaller than the 21 and 22mm lug width on the men’s version of the Bambino.
The Best Alternative to the Orient Bambino
The best alternative to the Orient Bambino is yet another Orient Bambino.
But actually, the Orient Bambino Ladies.
Where to Buy?
You can find the Orient Bambino Ladies on eBay, for now.
The Final Verdict
The Orient Bambino is as popular as it is for good reason. It’s a very affordable automatic dress watch, there’s a variety of different colors and dial styles to choose from, and well, it’s gorgeous.
Though the lack of versatility, inflated dimensions and lack of a sapphire crystal may be a turn off for some.
The newer Orient Bambino Ladies version has much more wearable (in my opinion) dimensions and is a good alternative, though still doesn’t fix all of the gripes I’ve mentioned about the original.