With the recent rise in popularity of often rapped about skeleton dial watches such as Hublot and Richard Mille, it’s surprising that more affordable watch brands haven’t hopped on this trend… Yet.
Orient Watch Japan is one of the first affordable watch brands to give it a shot with their most recently announced skeleton dial release, featured in their ‘Orient Star’ lineup.
Introducing: The Orient Star Avant-Garde Skeleton.
An Affordable Automatic Skeleton Dial Watch
Clearly inspired by the inner-workings and mechanical elements of motorcycles and cars, the Orient Avant-Garde takes inspiration from the garage and delivers it in a very sporty 43.2 mm package.
While my personal favorite watch size for my 7″ wrists is about 40mm, I think a slightly larger diameter for a watch with this much visual interest on the dial, it is absolutely perfect.
The watch features a power reserve indicator reminiscent of a car’s speedometer. The watch is said to have an impressive 50+ hour power reserve on its in-house F6F44 caliber movement.
Opposing the power reserve indicator, we have a running seconds sub-dial. Kind of a bummer for those of you who, like me, love watching the full-sized sweep of a mechanical seconds hand.
However, I believe they wanted to add the subdial to add a bit of extra visual interest to the watch, without having to add any extra complications, which could potentially drive up the cost.
While the watch lacks any sort of day or date indicator, there is no shortage of interesting elements to look at here.
“Bolted” Case and Bezel
The bolted case design is yet another visually intriguing element of the watch. Car tires, anyone?
Showing more bezel than lugs, the watch looks like it might be a bit top-heavy.
But from my great experiences with Orient thus far, such as with their Orient Neo70s Chronograph I previously owned, one can assume that the case and lugs will curve nicely to fit comfortably on any wrist.
On this particular model, RK-AV0A03B, we see a blacked-out brushed case. I do wonder how much contrast they’ll be able to add with just geometric bevels and chamfers alone, as it doesn’t appear any polished surfaces will be featured.
The lineup of 5 newly announced models features references of dial and case colorways, and multiple strap or bracelet options.
The RK-AV0A01B is one of their most standard looking options – a layout most closely resembling that of a typical dive watch or chronograph.
Featuring a black outer bezel, and a matching black crown, this watch sits on a stainless steel bracelet and looks a combination of sporty and dare I say… somewhat untraditionally dressy. Like something the rapper Post Malone would wear to a wedding.
The RK-AV0A02S, probably even more traditional looking than the previous, model we looked at, has a lot of silver. Silver dial, silver bezel, silver crown. Yeah, this is definitely the “safe” option.
It’s surprisingly also the cheapest, retailing at 105,000 yen + tax.
This is surprising given that it is on a bracelet, which typically tends to bump up the MSRP of the watch.
If I wanted “more of the same” with a bit of a unique touch – this is what I would get. However, if you’re like me, and like to add a “wildcard” to your collection every now and again, the next one might be for you.
The RK-AV0A03B is my personal favorite of the bunch. Featuring an all-black case, with touches of red accents on the “interior” – oops, I mean in the skeletonized movement.
This one pops in all the right ways.
Like the remaining two models, the RK-AV0A03B comes on a perforated leather rally strap, with red stitching and lining to match the dial’s accents.
It is said to come with a deployment buckle, to which I would not be surprised. Even my Orient Sun and Moon V3 came with one – and it was a much more affordable watch.
This model is yet another wildcard. This time featuring what seems to be a brown-toned case, with a black outer bezel.
The dial is primarily a textured slate grey – with accents of gold, including the hands.
This one looks like something Indiana Jones would wear. Brown leather strap to match his brown cowboy hat and whip, and all.
Did you ever want a black and gold skeleton dial watch? No? Well, the RK-AV0A05B is one.
A very unique and interesting design, I must say.
It’s a mostly black watch – from the case to the accents on the dial, however, striking accents of gold immediately enter your vision, and don’t let you forget them.
Gold on the hands, the crown, and accents on the dial really pop out. If you’re looking for something to grab a little more attention – this will likely be the model for you.
As mentioned before, the Avant-Garde skeleton features an in-house F6F44 mechanical movement with an impressive power reserve of over 50 hours.
Its accuracy is said to be within +25/-15. While it’s not the most precise piece, the impressive power reserve definitely makes it an appealing option for everyday wear – ignoring the versatility of the piece, or lack thereof.
A sapphire crystal, AR coating, screw-down crown, and 100m water resistance all come together to emphasize the “everyday wear” nature of this watch.
Swim in it without concern, and the sapphire crystal will prevent it from getting too dinged up.
Overall, I can see this piece as the everyday driver for someone who wants to wear something a little less traditional.
The Final Verdict
Whether you’re looking for a creative wildcard to add to your collection with a bit of an X-Factor, the Orient Star Avant-Garde Skeleton might be the watch for you.
Its suggested retail price is ¥110,000 – 120,000 + tax, depending on the model.
You can expect this lineup to release in September 2020.
Read more about it on the Orient-Watch Japan website.